Whitman Undergrad Takes Advantage of Experiential Learning Opportunities in NYC
Zachary Morrison '24
Finance and Real Estate Major
I came to Syracuse University with an ambitious mindset,” he says. “I knew I wanted to do big things, but I didn’t know exactly what. Whitman has allowed me to explore different options, discover my interests and then given me the opportunity to apply my ambition to those interests.
Zachary Morrison ’24 came to Syracuse University from Ohio to put himself outside his comfort zone. “I wanted to go to a school where I knew nobody and had no choice but to put myself out there and experience some sort of growth,” he says.
Now a senior, Morrison has more than met that goal. He spent the summer in New York City, interning as an alternative investment analyst at Acuity Partners while participating in the Fetner Real Estate Program, a collaboration between Syracuse University’s Whitman School and School of Architecture for students exploring the commercial real estate industry in New York City.
Morrison, a finance and real estate double major, began interning with Acuity Partners in January as part of the Whitman in New York City semester. The firm focuses on alternative (other than stocks, bonds or cash) investments for high-wealth clients in two niche areas: investing in well-established private companies just before IPO and investing in multi-family real estate, primarily in the Sun Belt.
“Real estate is a stable asset class,” he explains. “There are a lot of tax benefits, and these are also investments that provide cash flow.”
As an analyst, Morrison spent much of his time conducting market research and speaking to brokers, looking for new properties to acquire and develop. “Typically, the firm buys properties that they can add value to with new flooring and upgraded appliances, then raise rents and eventually sell at a profit,” he says.
Morrison secured the internship after reaching out to company CEO and co-founder Bob Spiegel ’86 on LinkedIn.
“I asked for 10 minutes of his time, and he agreed to take my call,” says Morrison. “I gave him my pitch, told him my interests, and he agreed to take me on.” At the end of the semester, Morrison was invited to stay on through the summer.
While venture capital is known for high stress and long hours, Morrison says he maintains balance by taking care of himself mentally and physically.
“Starting each morning with a workout, making sure to keep my apartment clean and tidy, keeping organized, eating good foods and drinking water, all those little things accumulate and greatly impact the work I output,” he says.
Morrison relishes having hands-on experience in venture capital, private equity and real estate, fields he hopes to continue working in after graduation. He says his Whitman education has prepared him well.
“I came to Syracuse University with an ambitious mindset,” he says. “I knew I wanted to do big things, but I didn’t know exactly what. Whitman has allowed me to explore different options, discover my interests and then given me the opportunity to apply my ambition to those interests.”