Students at Montreal’s Concordia University have access to clubs and programs designed to sharpen both their real estate and sustainable business skills, enhancing their readiness to enter the job market.
Founded in 2014 by Stéphane Doueihi, the Concordia Real Estate Club (CREC) was the first real estate-oriented club offered at the university. The non-profit student association acts as a bridge between students and real estate professionals by hosting a series of academic, professional and social events.
The events connect more than 500 students each year with the real estate community and provide an opportunity to apply the information learned in class to real-life situations. Students are able to network with industry professionals, who, in turn, are able to discover talent.
This year, the fifth annual 2021 Real Estate Games took place in February. Participants had one month to brainstorm, solve and present a real estate case challenge to leading industry professionals.
In response to the pandemic, the club made the 2020 instalment of the Real Estate Games virtual and hosted seven universities from across Quebec and Ontario, including Concordia, McGill, Waterloo and Western. More than 75 students competed and presented to a panel of judges comprised of industry professionals.
“There’s not really an outlet for students to learn about real estate, so we want to be that middleman,” said Anysha Patel, co-president of the CREC for the 2020-2021 academic year, in a release.
CREC’S Women In Real Estate panel
In April, the club held CRECtalk 7 — a virtual panel for women in real estate. Panelists included Martine Theriault from Canderel, Carole Lambert from the National Bank of Canada, Andréanne Lavallée from CBRE and Carole Guérin from PSP Investments.
“Women are becoming more and more recognized, whether it’s in business or any industry they’re in, and there are these workshops like ours about women giving back to women and empowering them,” said Patel.
The panel focused on the challenges women face in the real estate industry. The CREC supports diversity and inclusivity and welcomes participants from all backgrounds and programs.
“We welcome anybody and everybody, whether you want to hear and learn more, or if you’re a die-hard real estate fanatic,” said Patel. “One of the best parts about real estate is that you don’t need to have a certain background.
“There’s so many different aspects, whether it’s architecture, interior design, or marketing; there are so many different categories you can immerse yourself in, and the opportunities are endless.”
Concordia’s sustainable business initiatives
There are currently 45,000 undergraduate and graduate students at Concordia University, including 10,000 in the John Molson School of Business (JMSB).
JMSB’s John Molson Sustainable Enterprise Committee (JSEC) partnered with CEED Concordia in May to create a program offering Concordia students the opportunity to make a positive impact through sustainable business.
“Youth have been particularly affected by the pandemic, with less opportunities to develop meaningful academic and professional experience,” said JSEC president Nick Bonneau, in a release. “This is why we decided to launch this opportunity for students to not only learn how to transfer their ideas into a tangible project, but also to network with a larger ecosystem.”
The program helps students realize their socially and environmentally conscious business ideas. It provides training, mentorship and networking opportunities to participants who have ideas with the potential to create a positive environmental impact.
Program applicants are not expected to have fully developed business plans, but rather are required to be in the ideation stage.
In the past, JSEC and CEED have partnered with Front Row Ventures and The Socialist Economy Incubation Zone (SEIZE) to provide training. Front Row Ventures is the first venture capital fund run by students, which invests solely in student-run startups.
SEIZE supports sustainability and solidarity. Along with industry experts, the organizations offer students expertise about entrepreneurship and sustainable business.
The Jonathan Wener Centre for Real Estate (JWCRE), a research centre at JMSB, also partners with CREC in hosting the following annual events:
– Montreal Real Estate Conference;
– Real Estate Speaker Program (CREC Talks);
– Real Estate Case Competition.
About JSEC and CEED
JSEC is a non-profit student committee dedicated to educating Concordia students about sustainable business. The committee’s initiatives include competitions, such as the Concordia Sustainability Case Competition, programs, fundraising and more.
CEED is a community organization operating in Montreal and Gulu, Uganda. It offers internships and programs to students around the world.