Name: Jason Queen
Program: Full-Time MBA alum
Occupation: Real estate developer and founder of Monarch Realty Co. & Monarch Property Co.
Previous Education: B.S. in Business Entrepreneurship, NC State; M.A. in City and Regional Planning, concentrations in Real Estate Development and Historic Preservation, UNC Chapel Hill
Q: What are some reasons you chose the Jenkins MBA program?
A: For one thing, the openness that was evident in all of the MBA concentrations, especially with regard to entrepreneurship. There were clear correlations between what I learned in my classes and what I wanted to do for a living, with my career path. And secondly, the strong network that the Poole College of Management has to offer. The networking opportunities opened doors and introduced me to people I otherwise wouldn’t have had the chance to meet.
Q: What courses and experiences stand out as ones that helped set you on your career path?
A: Honestly, all the courses were valuable. I really enjoyed my classes with Dr. (Jonathan) Bohlmann. I went to Germany with him for a study-abroad trip, and what was particularly cool about that was that Dr. Bohlmann set up meetings, interviews and sessions with companies in Munich. We had a chance to see their product innovation departments. What really stood out for me was getting to see how companies like BMW have created their entire real estate to increase their potential for transfer of knowledge, to support innovation – right down to which offices are placed next to each other. For me, that experience translated into thinking about real estate in a different way. How can we develop real estate in a way where its main focus, its value, is in increasing opportunities for innovation to occur?
Q: How does that ‘innovation mindset’ inform your post-MBA career?
A: Real estate has really become a type of innovation that I’m glad to be a part of. My role in the innovation process is to help develop the next generation of buildings and places. I get behind real estate projects that I’m passionate about. When we create those unique spaces, we’re creating something that’s going to be valuable for the end user, and a space where innovation is more likely to take place. Sometimes that means thinking outside the box. It means we focus on historic preservation, on finding the best use of the streetscape. We’re creating spaces that matter.
Q: What skills from the Jenkins MBA program have been most important to your career as a real estate developer?
A: I would say the ability to make financial models of the business we do. The Jenkins MBA helped solidify my ability to do that and helped build my confidence. What financial modeling allows me to do on a daily basis is make decisions regarding acquisitions and the feasibility and viability of potential development projects. You gain the ability to use those tools pretty quickly, with the classes in statistics, financial modeling – the whole nine yards. That gives us an advantage over others.
Q: What advice would you give to students who’re trying to decide if the MBA is the right choice for them?
A: Decide whether you have the confidence level you need to succeed. A lot of people are going to look at the value proposition, the value-add of the MBA versus what they already know and what they’re already doing. To me, it’s a no-brainer – the MBA definitely helps you become more competitive, and is going to give you that confidence and those skills. Besides that, networking is vital. If you go out of your way to take time and meet people every week, you’ll have job offers before you finish your MBA. And NC State and the Poole College of Management – they’re going to open doors and give you the opportunity to build those relationships that will be so important throughout your career.