Justin Oates

Justin Oates

M.S. in Commerce 2010 (Finance Track), University of Virginia

B.A. in Economics 2009, Boston College

After: Eastdil Secured/Wells Fargo Securities, Real Estate Investment Banking (New York, NY)

Now: Imperial Companies, Acquisitions (New York, NY)

Most compelling class: “Corporate Finance”

I also really enjoyed the valuation course with Felicia Marston. She brought a lot of energy to the course and helped us understand different methods used to value companies.

Preparation for a job in finance

I think the group-based dynamic of the M.S. in Commerce was hugely important in preparing me for working as part of a team. I currently work in acquisitions and asset management for a real estate investment fund. Whether I’m underwriting or performing due diligence on a new acquisition or managing a current investment, the group-based dynamic taught me how to share and delegate responsibilities while remaining accountable for the overall success of the project.

Taking advantage of Commerce Career Services

Commerce Career Services was a key resource. The staff was able to provide alumni contacts who helped me better understand different career paths.

What makes the job great

I like the variety. No day is the same. I like that I don't necessarily spend too much time at my desk. When we acquire a property that I helped to underwrite, I typically stay on the project to oversee asset management. This way, I am involved in the actual business plan that I helped to underwrite. Each project typically involves working with architects, engineers, leasing teams, lenders, and numerous other third parties to redevelop and reposition the property.

Advice for future students

Nothing in real estate development or investment provides instant gratification. It takes patience, hard work, and attention to minor details. Projects take months or years to come to fruition. That said, I have always been interested in the history of big cities, old buildings, and architecture. It is a great field if you enjoy watching the progress and constant evolution of neighborhoods.

Importance of the Global Immersion Experience (GIE)

A number of our investors are based in Western/Central Europe or Asia. My experiences on the GIE have certainly provided good talking points or common ground. The world is constantly getting smaller, and it is important to find commonality with people who might initially seem different.

Most memorable GIE company visit

I went to Europe for GIE. Meeting with one of BMW's chief executives in Munich was enlightening. Though it's not related to my current position, it was fascinating to learn how such a massive global company and brand are managed.

Biggest take-away

It is paramount to follow a career that makes you happy and is intellectually stimulating. Follow what you like, and if you work hard enough, new and more exciting/challenging opportunities will continue to present themselves.

Life after graduate business school

I'm an active participant in MYAC and attend most of the meetings and other local UVA events. I also like to see and do everything that New York has to offer. On weekends, I like exploring areas of the city I haven’t visited before. I love to golf, but doing so in New York usually takes a whole day.

Favorite Charlottesville activity

There are too many to name. The Virginian remains an institution, and Marco & Luca serves up addictive dumplings. I like going to Bodo's in the morning to grab a coffee and walk the Lawn. The history and architecture on Grounds are humbling and very zen.