Describe your role and what it is that you do overall and on a day-to-day basis.
I am the Asset Manager for The Luzzatto Company, Inc., a real estate private equity investment and development firm based in Los Angeles, CA. I started at TLC three and a half years ago as an Investment Analyst and have since moved up to Asset Manager.
On a day-to-day basis, I could be either meeting with our development teams (architects, project managers, engineers, etc) to discuss the development of certain properties, or I could be negotiating purchase agreements, conducting acquisition due diligence with our legal team for a new deal, or spending time on the phone with our Limited Partners discussing their individualized investment returns and modeling out the private equity return waterfalls pursuant to our internal underwriting of individual or fund-level investments.
Honestly, each day is different. There is a major emphasis on the qualitative side when it comes to acquisitions, lender and capital markets relationships, and cultivating relationships with our investors. There is also a huge quantitative side of the job that involves all underwriting associated with acquisitions, all waterfall return modeling, the evaluation of financing metrics, and understanding the capital markets as they exist for real estate within the United States in certain asset sub-classes. Probably the only guaranteed thing every day is that our Firm’s Chairman will bring in dog treats for my two dogs who come to work with me each and every day.
What interested you about the field/company/role you are currently in? What sparked your passion for what you do?
What interested me about the field/company/role is my lifelong interest in design and architecture. Both my mother and father were architects and their love of design was passed down to me at a very young age. With that in mind, I am fortunate to be at a company where the focus is not simply on asset acquisition for anticipated coupon clipping. We operate in an environment, particularly in places like Austin and Los Angeles, where there is a growing demand for extremely creative office spaces (often 100% leased by a single tenant that is a major “startup” company).
With that context, we are working to really redefine the concept of creative office in major metropolitan markets, especially where there is an emphasis on environmental-friendly features. Our projects have often been major renovations on a deal-by-deal or fund-level basis, although we have also delved into ground-up construction in Los Angeles.
What keeps me interested in the role/industry, is the opportunity to both have an outsized impact on major markets in the United States, and to help change the face of an industry that is all-to-often inaccessible and stagnant (real estate investment in general). We are making it accessible, environmentally conscious, exciting, dynamic, and improving the community all at once.
How did your time/education at SSE help guide you to where you are now or the career journey you have embarked on?
My time at SSE helped in the following ways. It allowed me to realize two very key things:
First, that there is a profound emphasis on technical skills that I had not necessarily experienced during my Bachelor’s at a US university, but that is crucial in your actual career.
Second, that I am very much a person who needs sunlight (hence my move directly back to Los Angeles from Stockholm)
I think the biggest thing about SSE for me, was that I learned not to take myself too seriously, but that I also needed to get down into the weeds in my course materials in order to keep up. After failing my first two courses in the first quarter of the MSc Finance and Investment Management Specialization, I stayed in Stockholm over the Christmas holiday and had a bit of an internal reckoning. After passing my exam re-takes, I felt very empowered about being able to gain the technical skills and contextual understanding of the materials in my courses. (I would like to state, for the record, that I then passed all of my courses and never again failed an exam).
On a more personal note, though, I think it was studying abroad for my graduate degree that had the largest effect on me. Just the opportunity to meet so many of my peers from all over the world and cultivate friendships with them (many of which I still have to this day five years later!) was something truly special. Often, as Americans, I think we forget how large and diverse and dynamic the world can be, and this was an experience both to move and exit my comfort zone of California beaches and endless green juice smoothies, and create my life in a new city.
I am so proud to say that I can truly call Stockholm my second home. Lastly, I want to note how inspirational it is to see other students grinding so hard in the Atrium day after day. It really is a true feeling of empowerment and inspiration to see all these students with dreams and career aspirations out there each day working to make them a reality.