Degree: Master of Science in Real Estate, and MBA
College: Robinson College of Business Georgia State University; Stanford Graduate School of Business 1996
Long-term career goal: Senior position as an asset manager of commercial real estate properties
Most admired professional: Herman J. Russell, Chairman, H.J. Russell & Co.
Nine years ago, Andrea Ivory formed her own real estate investment company. The Atlanta firm purchased and rented out single-family homes, and Ivory soon discovered her passion — financial analysis of potential real estate acquisitions.
“I liked going out and looking at properties and running the numbers,” Ivory says. “You always hear about people who say they would do things for free. I would do this for free. ”
Ivory returned to the classroom in January 2007 to embark on a new career. She is pursuing a Master of Science in Real Estate at the Robinson College of Business at Georgia State University.
The program, designed for working professionals, has helped Ivory attain a financing background for a career in asset management. She graduates in December. While she doesn't have a job lined up yet, Ivory envisions working for an insurance company, real estate investment trust or pension fund, helping to decide which properties to invest in or sell.
“I like to go look at properties and decide if something is a good buy,” Ivory says. “It is very tangible. You can see the finished product. It is someone's office or a place to shop. You can see, feel and touch it and improve upon it,” she explains.
Ivory grew up in Flint, Mich., an auto manufacturing town. Her mother was a high school science teacher and her dad worked on the assembly line at General Motors. She became intrigued by real estate after absorbing the experience of her stepfather, who owned several apartment properties in the Chicago area.
In 1991, Ivory graduated from Spelman College in Atlanta with a bachelor's degree in economics. She landed a job on Wall Street as a financial analyst for Goldman Sachs where she assisted in drafting prospectuses for companies going public, and executing new public equity and debt offerings for large corporate clients.
But after two years she wanted a different career path and enrolled in the Stanford Graduate School of Business, where she received a master's degree in business administration in 1996.
“I did not want to go back to banking,” says Ivory, who was employed as an assistant marketing manager for General Mills in Minneapolis, where she worked on cereal promotions.
She returned to Georgia in 1999 and worked as a brand manager for Georgia-Pacific Corp., a director of field marketing with Sara Lee and senior product marketing manager at EarthLink.
“All of my job changes were for better opportunities,” Ivory says. “Each one was a promotion.” Last year, she left EarthLink to enter the Georgia State program.
Her experience in marketing will strengthen her real estate career, Ivory believes. She has worked in financial, consumer, budgeting and operations departments. Now, she's ready to analyze potential investments to help improve a company's bottom line.
“I am excited to take everything I have gathered in the last 10 years of my career and put it in a new industry,” Ivory says. “Real estate gives people who are the entrepreneur types a lot of flexibility in what they can do.”