You probably have his name in the background of your LinkedIn profile photo; you may have walked through the alumni center honoured after him as a shortcut between the Nest and the bookstore, or even lived in one of his company’s residences here on campus. The former chancellor, governor, and founder of UBC Properties Trust and down-to-earth philanthropist is soon coming to campus to share his story with students of UBC.

Staff Writer: Sandra Lin

A Vancouverite from the heart of Chinatown, Lee grew up as an aspiring entrepreneur and real estate aficionado whilst juggling many responsibilities in his family business. Later, he enrolled at the Sauder School of Business to pursue a Bachelor of Commerce. He followed his dreams upon graduation and founded his own business in real estate, leading him to create strong networks with Tong Louie, founder of retail store London Drugs, and David Lam, philanthropist and previous Lieutenant Governor of BC. One of his secrets to success, that he previously shared with the media, denotes that one should strive to “build a good reputation” and demonstrate hard work, integrity, gratitude, and generosity in both family life and career.

The UBC Real Estate Club invites you to join them at the event The Man Behind the Name, to take place at the MBA House on the evening of February 24th to hear Lee speak about his life experiences, the integral role he played in the development of our school, and the lasting impact he has made in the real estate industry in the lower mainland. As alumni and other business professionals will be invited, this event will consist of both presentation and networking. Reception will be hosted at Biercraft in Wesbrook Village to top off the night. Inspired by Lee’s generosity to various organizations in our community, all proceeds of this event will be donated to charity.

Students might ask: how does real estate and the knowledge that comes with learning about the industry support our degree, career, and decisions?

Andrew Hutson and Jerry Chen, both senior students close to graduation, have a few things to share about how studying and working in real estate have supported or streamlined their ambitions alongside other goals in finance and accounting.

Jerry Chen, Fifth-year, Finance and Real Estate

Jerry Chen, VP External of the UBC Real Estate Club, was originally studying finance when he stumbled upon real estate in his BCom program. Ever since then, he has been hungry for experience dealing with real-world real estate scenarios and aspires to one day work in lending or project financing, or for a developer that creates value through shopping malls and offices. By working in the industry and participating in numerous real estate focused case competitions, he can assure that all things finance – return on investment, capitalizing returns, and more – can relate back to real estate. He is proud to have just returned from the Cornell International Real Estate Case Competition, where his team analyzed an actual commercial real estate transaction.

Andrew Hutson, Fifth-year, Accounting and Real Estate

Featured in The Cavalier’s December online issue where he shared his experience and insight into the BCom option, Andrew is back to explain how studying both accounting and real estate has surfaced a platform from which he can pursue his true career endeavours. Specializing in accounting has provided him with a solid quantitative background and allowed him to see the big picture behind the numbers on the left side of the pro formas in his current work. Andrew came to Sauder specifically for the real estate option after travelling the world, and strategically used accounting as a means of differentiating himself from others in the competitive market. Students are constantly being reminded to uncover their differentiating point, and Andrew’s immensely applicable background in accounting pulls him above the rest. He is intending to work in a real estate brokerage later in his career.

Both students encourage anyone interested in real estate to take the plunge and get hands-on learning in the field, be it through case competitions like NAIOP or through actual work experience. Most importantly, they attest that building a great network of professionals and reaching out to those in your dream career is the first step to putting you on the right track.