Name: Brandon Zarco ‘13

Title: Commercial Real Estate Portfolio Manager

Employer: EagleBank

Major: Economics B.A.





What is a typical day like in your current position? 

A typical day is never 'typical', as no two days are the same in this role. The assets that we deal with are always being bought, sold, renovated, or require some other form of financial assistance. My days are filled with studying Borrower's financial statements, performing market analyses, learning and understanding how certain properties operate within their specific submarkets, then compiling all of that information into detailed written analyses. In between projects I like to spend a few moments to catch up with the team. EagleBank has done a great job building a team of strong Portfolio Managers with great senses of humor and personalities, making the camaraderie a definite plus to the day.

What do you enjoy most about your position?

My responsibilities include assisting the Bank in managing the Commercial Real Estate side of its $8B+ Loan Portfolio and underwriting new commercial real estate loans, along with modifications and extensions to existing loans. I enjoy the breadth and depth of the work I do. Every week I get to dive in and become an 'expert' on a new property, in a new location, composed of a completely different financial structure. I have underwritten over $500M in loans for Hotels, Multi-Family apartment buildings, Class A, B and C office space, Retail, Industrial and Mixed-Use properties. The beauty of my current position is the exposure to a wide range of real estate allowing you to learn and understand how to structure different financial instruments to accommodate an individual Borrower's and property's needs.

What organizations were you a part of on campus and how did it contribute to your professional development? 

Student Government Association, University Senate, and working with the Alumni Association were instrumental to my personal and professional development. The roles I held in each organization allowed me to practice my public speaking, manage relationships, build professional networks, and so much more. The classroom and coursework are necessary tools to develop one's technical skillset, however, combining that with strong interpersonal communication abilities will prove to be very valuable. I would strongly recommend getting involved in externally-facing organizations to help develop these skills.

How has your coursework prepared you for the working world? 

My economics courses helped me understand the framework for how and why markets and businesses move as they do. I can better understand and foresee trends in trade, movement in commodity pricing, and the shifts that occur in consumer and corporate spending. Most businesses and countries do not exist in a vacuum; rather, they operate in a co-dependent space where the movement of one business or country affects the other. My business and economics courses helped me understand the underlying framework behind these movements. The finance and accounting courses I took helped me interpret the financials of the businesses and individuals I need to analyze on a daily basis. Courses in public speaking and debate, along with Team Management and Business Strategy, facilitated prior positions I had where I was managing teams of 30+ people.

Any advice for students seeking a position in your field?

Be Bold. Be Honest. Be Unique. Be You. No two people are the same, so don't try and be someone else. Find your talents and pursue your passions. Identify your areas of weakness and work to overcome them. Reach out to the heads of the company you are seeking to work at and establish genuine relationships among everyone you are networking with. You never know when in the next few years that person may call you for a great job opportunity, to give/seek advice, or even just to say hello. Develop friendships as part of your networking, a honest and genuine relationship goes a long way.

What should students do to prepare themselves for life after graduation?

Be honest with yourself with what type of life you want to live and what type of career you feel will make you happy. Pursue the passions you have rather than just a paycheck. Working in a field/position that you thoroughly enjoy will be significantly more rewarding in the long run. The next few years after college will bring various obstacles, difficult bosses/teammates, challenging projects, and so much more, but staying happy, healthy, patient, resilient, and honest should prove to be helpful.

Given the current environment that we find ourselves in as a result of COVID-19, what advice would you give students to advance themselves professionally?

Spend less time on time-fillers such as social media and surfing mindless accounts on the internet and more time on advancing yourself in other areas. Connect with friends and family who you have not spoken to in years. Expand your network but do so in a genuine way. You never know who is going to possess the key to that door that will open up your next greatest opportunity. Stay patient, and don’t be disheartened. Your chance will come, and when it does, don’t be afraid to seize your moment.