Northwestern Mutual
  |  Northwestern Mutual Real Estate

Brian Konyn

Brian Konyn

Analyst - Equity Production
Marquette University

What's your background?
I graduated from Marquette University in 2012 with majors in Accounting, Finance and Real Estate. I passed my CPA exams and worked in public accounting for a little less than two years, then decided I was ready for a change.

How is it that you came to Northwestern Mutual?
I met our director of underwriting through a mentor program when I was a junior at Marquette. She was my mentor for a year and I kept in touch with her after graduation. So when I was thinking about making a change, I talked to her about it and she encouraged me to apply here. It wasn't a difficult decision; during the years since she became my mentor, I'd learned quite a bit from her about the company and knew Northwestern Mutual was a huge player in the real estate industry.

As an analyst, what do you do?
From our home office in Milwaukee, I work with our equity production regional directors who are reviewing opportunities to buy or develop commercial real estate. When someone in one of our field offices identifies an opportunity, they'll submit it to the home office for consideration. Here, as part of the analysis, my job is to research everything from market growth trends to rental rates, vacancy rates and lease terms, and then build or modify financial models for the property based on that data.

How has your experience so far at Northwestern Mutual compared to what you expected?  
I came from a very open, collaborative environment where the majority of the office was under 30 and we worked side-by-side sitting around a conference room table. So I wasn't quite sure what to expect at a company where I'd be surrounded by people at every stage of maturity in their career. What I found was that this is also a very collaborative, supportive and comfortable environment. I know that if I have a question about something, I can walk into any one of our directors' offices for an answer. Everyone here really wants to help young people learn and grow and succeed.

What do you like most about working for Northwestern Mutual?
I'm exposed to every aspect of the real estate business, so every day I learn something new. At the moment, I'm focused on equity production, but it's also good to see the mortgage lending side of things and to learn both investment types. Plus, we do much of our due diligence in house, so I've had opportunities to learn about everything from how to review title and survey to assessing the environmental impact of deals under consideration.  In many other companies, those activities would be outsourced.

If you were talking to a potential recruit, what would you tell him or her about the key to being successful here?
Two things: You'll want to have intellectual curiosity and a willingness to grow. There are lots of opportunities to advance in different capacities here, and people take advantage of them. For me, the next step in my career path with Northwestern Mutual is to get my master's degree and then move into underwriting.