Meet the MBA Class of 2023: Jason Cincotta, Columbia Business School

“Knowledge addict with a passion for cities.”

Hometown: Boston, Mass.

Fun fact about yourself: I got into real estate development because a multi-family investment we had under contract burned down before we could close the purchase. I somehow convinced the bank to bet on us to build an even bigger building than the one they had mortgaged on, and we closed the acquisition with a construction loan in place.

Undergraduate School and Major: Pomona College, Economics

Most recent employer and job title: Director, The Cincotta Co.

Which word best describes the Columbia Business School MBA students and alumni you’ve met so far and why? They are the most enthusiastic and friendly group. New York City in general and Colombia in particular seem to attract outgoing people who are deeply passionate about something. At the same time, everyone really cares about what drives you and your life experience – it’s a special place.

Aside from your classmates and your location, What was the key element of the Columbia Business School MBA program that led you to choose this business school and why was it so important to you? Associate professors. I had read several teachers’ books before I even realized they were teaching at the school. Now if I can only enroll in their classes at some point…Obviously it’s a lot easier to get the hot electives in the second year.

What class, club, or activity are you most excited about at Columbia Business School? CBS Real Estate Association, of course.

What makes New York such a great place to get an MBA? I mean, it’s the center of the business world, right? I’m biased because I think it’s generally the center of the world.

Describe your biggest achievement in your career so far: Leading the team that built a AAA Four Diamond hotel in Florida, the Sarasota Modern. It took years of my life, but hospitality real estate projects are so rewarding because they are both a building and a business at the same time. They challenge you on the investment and project management side as well as the operational and business planning side.

How has COVID-19 changed your outlook on your career and life in general? It made me want to go further. Career-wise, cities and real estate are clearly facing major disruption, and I want to make sure I get the chance to work on whatever comes next. I look forward to using this as an opportunity to solve – or at least improve – some of the biggest challenges facing our cities: housing access, affordability and gentrification. With ongoing changes in land use and demand drivers, private developers, non-profit organizations and the public sector have an unprecedented opportunity to address these issues.

What led you to pursue an MBA at this point and what do you hope to do after graduation? The pandemic: Hospitality and residential real estate will never be the same again. Consider business travel. What does it look like in the new normal? How are hoteliers reacting? Where should we invest? How do we make lemonade from lemons? Having the chance to spend a few years in New York with some of the smartest people asking these questions was too good to pass up. As for after graduation, I’m not sure what role I’ll play, and I’m trying to figure it out.

What other MBA programs have you applied to? HBS, Stanford, Yale

What advice would you give to help potential candidates gain admission to the Columbia Business School MBA program? Tell your story. I’ve met so many interesting people from a variety of backgrounds here, so it’s clear there isn’t just one guy. Non-traditional applicants make the best classmates in my opinion, and the admissions office clearly values ​​them.


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