Kemi Areke

Kemi Areke
Class Year
Clarksville, Maryland
Areas of Interest
Real Estate
Venture Capital / Private Equity
Previous Education
BA in Philosophy, Northwestern University

Prior to starting, what were you expecting the program to be like? How was it different than your expectations?

I didn’t realize there would be so much to do (in a good way)! I like that there is always something going on and the Real Estate Association is constantly sending out emails about various professional events.

Why did you choose Columbia Business School?

I chose CBS because of its location and strength in Real Estate. I knew I wanted to stay in NYC post-graduation so I figured that going to a business school located in the city itself with a strong presence in Real Estate would be best.

What do you think is your most valuable or differentiating contribution to the Class of 2023?

I have a unique background in that I model full time along with being at Columbia full time. I have almost half a decade experience in finance across asset classes (futures & options electronic trading and real estate private equity). We actually discussed a fashion business case in my strategy class during which my professor, Professor Burbano brough up fashion week. I shared that I was actually walking New York Fashion Week and the various influencer partnerships I had with fast fashion brands, which was relevant to the case.

In additional to being a full-time agency model I also sit on the Junior Board of the Goodman Institute for Public Policy Research; a tax and healthcare public policy think tank. I am also in two ULI (Urban Land Institute) committees and am the Columbia liaison for all Columbia graduate real estate programs for the Women’s committee.

Which faculty members(s) influenced you the most, and how?

I would say Professor Burbano. I loved Professor Burbano’s energy during our strategy class and she has the ability to brighten people’s day even in a late afternoon class. I loved her consistent enthusiasm for every case in each class and it really helped many people in the class feel comfortable participating and sharing their angles.

What has been your most memorable experience at Columbia Business School so far?

I would say the Welcome Week was really great because this is the first time you meet many of your classmates on campus. Though this occurred during covid we still had many in-person events that we were able to meet other classmates throughout the city. Though the Columbia campus is uptown, I liked that the events were spread out across the city, which I think really adds value to the CBS experience.

What was the most challenging part of the program, and how did you handle it?

The most challenging part of the program is balancing working full time and various other CBS components whether it be professional, academic, or social. I’ve had great time management across the years so it’s challenging but manageable!

What advice would you give to a new student coming into the MBA program at Columbia Business School?

That everything will be fine! I’ve heard the core semester is the most time consuming and once that semester is over there is more time freed when taking electives.

How will you apply your learnings to a post-COVID world?

Covid was a tumultuous time for many businesses so it will be interesting to see how things shape out in different fields when the pandemic ends. I’ve used this time to go back to school and further my knowledge in real estate. During Covid, I co-hosted a 3-minute commercial real estate newsroom on Clubhouse, which allowed many individuals in the real estate space to share their observations during a unique time.

What does the new Manhattanville campus mean to you?

As someone in Real Estate, I am always excited about new buildings. From what I have seen, the new campus looks very visually appealing, so I am looking forward to taking classes in a new building. Several of us from the CBS Real Estate Association went to the CRE tech conference that showcased new technology; I am curious to see what new technology the Manhattanville campus will have when we begin there soon.

Post-MBA career interests?

Acquisitions (investments) in Real Estate Private Equity. I was in the middle market space prior to CBS and intend to stay in that realm post CBS. My goal is to go from a junior acquisitions role to a senior real estate investor.