WCNY Author Speaker Series
Erez Cohen, WG’11
— By Jennifer Gregoriou, W’78
The Wharton Club of New York often holds educational events highlighting recent business authors. It’s always a delight when the author is a Wharton alum. On April 2, Erez Cohen, WG’11, discussed his book, Real Estate Titans, published in March 2019. Erez interviewed several billionaire real estate investors and developers to arrive at his seven key lessons. These lessons offer insights into the minds and habits of real estate titans and can be applied to any business.
The evening started with a wine reception and ample networking for 75 alumni at the Penn Club. Erez invited Carlos Betancourt to lead the discussion, who is the Founder and President of Bresco, a leading Brazilian industrial real estate firm. Betancourt made the trip from Sao Paulo, Brazil and was one of the billionaire real estate investors profiled in Erez’s book.
Erez, who himself is a Co-Founder and Co-CEO of Urbium Property Group in Mexico City, began with his experiences after college when he met, and heard stories from distinguished real estate titans. He wanted to understand how they became so successful, so he refined his quest to three critical questions:
What inspires these titans to work so hard and reach such extraordinary levels of success?
What are the main traits that propel them to create great accomplishments?
How have those individuals who had less resources, succeeded on a much bigger scale than many of their competitors?
Two lessons that Erez learned from Carlos Betancourt are: 1) When Carlos looks at real estate opportunities he checks three cycles — the economic, political and real estate cycles — to determine if he should invest, and if so, in which companies, properties and/or neighborhoods. 2) He goes to the Silicon Valley to meet executives at companies such as Uber, Airbnb, Google, to develop his thinking on the role of technology in real estate. For example: How will autonomous vehicles effect different real estate segments? How will they change the way we design property, the way we work, live, shop, and so much more?