Interview with Shai Greenberg

Interested in the world of real estate investments? Instructor Shai Greenberg shares tips and tricks of this fast-paced market in his courses. Gain practical skills and knowledge that can be effectively used in the field of real estate investment today both in Japan and in the international arena. For those working towards a certificate in Accounting and Finance, adding a course on real estate investment as an elective can enhance your competitiveness. Let's find out more from the instructor!

Could you tell us about your background?

From the tender age of 15 I have been running around my father's construction company's sites inhaling concrete fumes and ducking rusty nails and beams. By the time I was 21 I was leading my own crew building low to mid-rise condominiums. However, for some reason I had always been deeply attracted to Japan and when it came time to choose a university major, without hesitation I chose East Asian Studies (and Management, to make it a bit more practical).

After graduating with honors (Magna Cum Laude), I had the opportunity to develop my career as a luxury goods marketing executive in one of the biggest importers of diamonds to Korea (where I lived for about a year). Subsequently, I found my way to Japan taking a management role at a DTC (De Beers) site holder company, one of the world's largest diamond manufacturers. In 2009 I left Japan to pursue a master's degree in Real Estate Finance & Investment at New York University and upon graduation worked at a leading Wall Street real estate investment banking firm where I was involved in well over US$12 billion of debt and equity transactions.

I came back to Japan in 2012 and started working at a global big four commercial real estate advisory firm. I put in long hours at work, but I can't wait for Saturdays where I get to merge my two passions and teach both Marketing and Real Estate Investment!

What courses do you teach? — How can these courses help students and in what field?

I teach a full course and a one-day seminar on real estate investment and the course Cross-cultural Branding & Marketing.

The one-day Real Estate Investments Principles Seminar is geared towards people who are interested in real estate investment but are not quite sure if, and what, type is best suited for them. My aim is to arm the students with a game plan and make sure they feel comfortable to jump in.

The full Real Estate Investment course allows us to go into more details outlining the preparation required for investment, valuation techniques, due diligence, REITs, financing and more. In both the one-day seminar and the full course we usually have a good balance of Japanese and non-Japanese, laymen and professionals from leading domestic and international real estate companies which make the discussion in class illuminating. Both are a great fit for people with no prior knowledge of real estate. In addition, both courses count towards the Accounting & Finance Certificate.

In the Cross Cultural Branding & Marketing course we look at how and to what extent companies must adopt their marketing strategies when addressing people from other cultures and countries. Since many of the students work for multinational companies, examples of cultural differences are of abundance. How do you resolve issues and create an efficient marketing mix? We use the latest methodologies to examine these questions. The course counts for the certificate in Branding and Communication as well as the certificate in International Business Communication.

Do you know of any success stories of students who took your course?

I had a student in the Cross Cultural Branding & Marketing class who was very interested in applying what she learned in class to her professional career in a more meaningful way than her current role allowed. Last month she left her firm to open her own enterprise and has been racking up contracts from foreign counterparts that are looking for representatives in Japan. She is busier than before but also happier.

Another student, working for a large Japanese company, used the course as leverage to land a desirable relocation to Europe.

In the real estate courses I had a student who was a new graduate and after taking the class decided she wanted a career in real estate. She now works for a well-known domestic real estate firm. Another success story belongs to a foreign student who is applying the principles learned in class and recently bought his first multi-family property in Tokyo en route to amalgamating a real estate portfolio that will provide him with a substantial passive income stream.

What backgrounds do your students have?

I have a good balance of Japanese and non-Japanese students. Many of the Japanese students work for leading multi-national firms and global Japanese firms.

Many of the students in the Cross Cultural Branding & Marketing class work in sales, marketing, PR and communications roles while the students in the Real Estate seminar and class are from very diversified backgrounds with laymen interested in real estate investment studying alongside real estate professionals from trust banks, funds, appraisals and development companies.

Did you know?

Shai has been organizing social events where the course alumni can get together, meet like-minded people, form a tight knit community and just have fun!