Erin Corcoran '18 VSB and Scott Gelley '07 VSB

Erin and Scott

1. What inspired you to join the VSB mentor program?    

“The VSB Mentor Program is an excellent resource for career advice. It is a great way to gain feedback from someone who actively works in my field of interest. After my sophomore year, I decided to change my co-major from Finance and MIS to Finance and Real Estate. My internship going into my junior year had nothing to do with real estate and I really needed guidance to decide what path I wanted to pursue. Obtaining a mentor who worked in commercial real estate was the best way for me to get an idea of where I wanted to take my career after changing majors.” – Erin

“Villanova was an amazing undergraduate experience for me both educationally and socially. While I was in school, the job placement and interview process was well run and ultimately I began my career with Deloitte. Post-graduation, I felt I lacked guidance for really understanding the types of jobs that existed, what roles could be a fit, and how to leverage contacts and solicit feedback and opinions. In my career, the best mentors I knew were senior people at investment banks who served as mentors to junior members throughout their careers. In one of my jobs, I was able to hire interns for six months and always made it a point to keep in touch with them to provide career guidance. I even hired one of my former interns after his graduation. He’s been working with me at Rialto for the last five years and is a top performer in the company.” - Scott

2. How has your experience compared to your expectation?

“My experience has certainly exceeded any expectations I had for this program. Scott has been a great resource in terms of giving me advice and helping me develop an outline of where I want to go with my career in commercial real estate. He has been a huge help in giving me his personal insight on the industry. In addition, he has done a wonderful job in helping me prepare for all of the interviews I’ve had since our mentoring relationship began.” – Erin

“It’s been great and Erin has made it very easy. She had a good problem... deciding which offer to accept of many!  Nonetheless, this is a stressful and challenging process, and we were able to discuss the pros/cons of each professional opportunity. Erin also decided to pursue an internship during the academic year to enhance her real estate knowledge. We discussed the different roles and I think she made an excellent choice. It’s a great learning experience for her, especially building off of her summer 2017 internship experience.” - Scott

3. What makes your relationship a successful one?

“When Scott and I were first matched he was working in Miami. Unsure of how a long-distance mentor would work I was certainly hesitant at first. Scott was great in terms of making things work. We typically talk on the phone bi-weekly and email in between those calls. During the NYC kickoff event, Scott happened to be working in his company’s NYC office and I was able to meet up with him in person. As our relationship evolved, we also started to communicate by text message. Scott has done a great job of making himself available and the distance has never been an issue. Before any interview, Scott helped me prepare and answered any questions I have.” – Erin

“Open communication is key. We both have very busy schedules, but that doesn’t stop us from emailing, texting and having open discussions. When we need to jump on a call, both of us find time and make it happen. Now that I’ve moved to NYC and am closer to Villanova, we were even able to meet up while I was on campus for the Bartley Brief Case challenge.” - Scott

4. What has been the best part about having a mentor/mentee?     

“The best part about having a mentor is gaining access to an alumnus who wants to give back to a fellow Villanovan. Obtaining a mentor who has real estate industry experience was a perfect way for me to determine where I wanted to take my career in real estate. In addition to faculty, it is nice to have another resource to reach out to when a question arises. Scott was a key person in helping me figure out that lending would be a good starting point in real estate for me if I wanted to go into private equity someday” - Erin

“It has really opened up my eyes to how hard the students are working to prepare for post-college life. The coursework, job experience, overall business acumen is impressive, and one that continues to differentiate VSB students. Mentoring has been great to share real work situations with Erin to give her a view into situations she may face. Fortunately, Erin has been able to do the same for me, and explain situations from her work. Being able to discuss different challenges and try to teach some of the big picture concepts has been fun.” - Scott

5. Do you have a best practice to share with other pairs in the program?

“My advice would always be to keep an open line of communication. At times when both you and your mentor are extremely busy, you may have to move a phone call or meeting. In a situation like this, it is important to stay on top of communication and work to find a solution. Another thing that is crucial to having a good relationship with your mentor is being open about what you are looking for out of the relationship whether it be career advice, a stronger network or help applying to jobs.” – Erin

“Provide context behind all your opinions. Help each other understand the thought process that goes into decision-making, and preparation for career events - whether it’s an interview, performance in an internship, deciding on job opportunities, and so on. Open dialogue is key. What I would want in a situation may be different from what someone else wants. Listen carefully, try to understand goals and determine the potential impact of decisions in both the short- and long-term.” - Scott