Earlier this year, the Mortgage Bankers Association launched mPact – a network for young professionals in the real estate industry. We spoke to two of the professionals behind the innovative program.
MPA: Tell us a little more about MBA’s mPact – the young professionals network at MBA
Ashley Gunn, associate director of commercial real estate finance, at the Mortgage Bankers Association: We formed mPact, at least on the commercial side, a few years ago. It came out of our internal and external MBA leadership as a way to get more young folks engaged in the industry and engaged in the MBA.
It was rebranded last spring under mPact and … the rebranding included both the residential and commercial side of MBA.
MPA: Why is it important to get millennials more engaged and interested in the industry?
AG: I think right now in this day and age there’s just a lot of different industries people can get into. Real estate is a very technical industry but it’s also a very rewarding industry. I think it’s important to get people engaged and retained at a young age with the real estate industry because I do think it has a long-term impact on their individual career and individual development.
You’re giving people new homes and you’re working in the commercial space. It’s just a very rewarding industry and millennials tend to jump around from industry to industry – that’s sort of their stereotype. So we want to make sure we retain them and keep them engaged from the beginning.
Jordan Bucher, research associate, residential policy and member engagement, at the Mortgage Bankers Association: Being someone who is a year out of college, I’m working at mPact but I see the value in it personally for myself as well. It’s a platform that connects people to their industry peers; I’m able to grow and develop professionally through the opportunities that we host.
Another goal that Ashley touched on us well is to help strengthen our members’ relationship with the MBA.
MPA: What does the real estate industry need to do to keep millennials engaged and within it, growing up the ranks?
JB: To keep them engaged, that’s one of the reasons or the main reason why MBA launched mPact to begin with. We officially launched in April of this year and we hosted, for the first time at a major conference, mPact events at our annual (conference) in October.
We hosted four events; three of them were networking opportunities and one was an educational component. That’s just one example of keeping the younger professionals in this industry engaged. That’s the main reason MBA launched this initiative because it is important for our industry.
MPA: How do you think Millennials will change the real estate industry?
AG: I’m seeing a shift right now with older millennials that they are moving back to the suburbs, they are buying houses, they are contributing to the economic development.
That’s a difficult question to answer right now but I do think millennials will have a very impactful outcome on the current housing market as well as the greater real estate market, for sure.
JB: The Millennial generation is the largest and most diverse in American history, its literally changing every industry, but it will especially change real estate and real estate finance.
It's important to encourage and retain those who are 35 and under in our industry because not only do they have the ability to understand this generation's homebuyer mindset but will change the way we do business, in light of shifting lifestyle habits and evolving industry technology.
MPA: Is there anything else you’d like to add?
AG: We’re really excited … we think we’re doing something really exciting with mPact right now. We think we have a chance to really attract and retain a young, great set of new talent. We’re really developing ways to try to enhance their own personal growth within real estate but also strengthen their MBA membership.
We just want to highlight the fact that this is something that’s new and innovative and we’re really excited to see where it goes.
Our industry, both residential and commercial, is driven by the choices that people make: where they want to live, for what they want to shop, how they want to commute to work, how do you use new technologies to improve your life, and so on. Having a workforce that understands and reflects the demographics and culture of the broader society is vital for this industry, in particular.
For more info on mPact, click here.