Back to School Part 2

Our Internship At MCA

By Ryan Pollack & Peter Dunn

Working at Metropolitan Capital Advisors (“MCA”) this summer has been a fulfilling learning experience. We were able to expand our knowledge of the commercial real estate industry and gain hands-on experience. We took this opportunity to learn from Metropolitan Capital’s veteran principals: Scott Lynn, Todd McNeill, and Sunny Sajnani. Each of these accomplished brokers attribute their achievements to different facets of their trade. We wanted to get a sense of what Scott, Todd, and Sunny viewed as successful practices in financial CRE and to extract advice for two soon to be grads looking to find our footing in the competitive field.

Q: What makes you a successful CRE financier? What specific trait do you possess that sets you apart from others?

Scott Lynn: “Integrity is first and foremost. If you don’t convey integrity, it can be a real problem. Moreover, control of the transaction differentiates us. We control our deals with our exclusive agreement, which allows us to get the best deal where everyone wins.”

Todd McNeill: “The number one reason someone is going to do business with you is whether or not they like you. The only way to get someone to like you is to meet them in person and have them learn about you. Step two is competence, and if you can get competency and a likeability factor, you will be successful in anything you do.”

Sunny Sajnani: “There are two parts to being successful in our industry: being analytical with the ability to construct deals, as well as the sales and sociability aspect. If you can do both of these very well, you are sure to be successful.”

Q: What is something that your co-principals excel at that isn’t necessarily a strength of yours?

Scott: “What I offer is expertise and context. What our younger leaders bring to the table is technology and new ways of doing business. When doing deals, we leverage off the mending of an age-diversified leadership team.”

Todd: “Sunny is a masterful tactician. He can break down a financial capital need way quicker than I can. He provides a really good barometer for me when we’re trying to solve problems in a capital stack.”

Sunny: “Todd has the demeanor and personality that makes him extremely sociable and sales oriented. He has the ability to get along with everyone and create friendships along the way.”

Q: What’s the most impactful change in the industry you have noticed throughout your years, and how has MCA adapted to it?

Scott: “When I started 35 years ago, there was a lot less diversification in capital markets. Now there are many more specialized lenders in different capital and property types. There has also been gravitation towards representing clients vs the traditional mortgage banking model that represents capital. We created a selling platform that combined an emphasis on client representation with the growing diversity of capital that ended up being very successful in the early 90s – timing is key.”

Sunny: “The biggest change that I have witnessed is technology. The flow of information is astronomically quicker, and deals happen much more efficiently. Since college, I have seen it change to be much more excel driven and computer focused.”

Q: What would you be doing if you weren’t in financial CRE?

Scott: “Teacher or interior designer.”

Todd: “Corporate IT computer business.”

Sunny: “Oil and gas finance.”

Q: What advice can you offer to someone interested in entering the CRE industry after college?

Scott: “Everything is a process. If you stick with the process of getting deals placed and closed, your probability of success will increase exponentially. Cutting corners never works. This is what has made our company so successful. Also, start getting socialized now; real estate is a very social business. Start learning how to empathize with people; it can work to your advantage when trying to sell.”

Todd: “Find a place where you can get a mentorship, where they can take you under their wing and show you everything they know. Alternatively, get in with a big company and get a good credit training program for 24 months then join a boutique to get a mentorship. You’ll have all the nuts and bolts to be set for life. Always keep in mind, nobody is going to pay you what you’re worth but you.”

Sunny: “Go to an institution that has a great training program and one that will get you the exposure that can help you moving forward. After that, it is extremely important to find a mentor and someone that will allow you to be entrepreneurial and achieve success in the area that you enjoy the most. This is just what I did, this isn’t the ‘right’ path. Some people can climb the ranks at a big firm while others need more control of their business to succeed.”

Our time at Metropolitan Capital Advisors has left us with lifelong mentors that will help guide us in the right direction as we pursue our own careers in CRE. We had the opportunity of helping with many aspects of MCA’s practice including underwriting, packaging, sourcing, closing, and much more. We feel extremely grateful to have worked with this great team, all of whom were willing to offer their support and guidance. We couldn’t have asked for a better experience and want to thank everyone for giving us the opportunity to work at Metropolitan Capital Advisors this summer.

Metropolitan Capital Advisors summer intern, Ryan Pollack is a Junior at Tulane Universities A.B. Freeman School of Business. Summer intern, Peter Dunn is a Junior at Texas Christian University – M.J. NeeleySchool of Business.