Name: Sarah Hunter
Company: MB Financial Bank
Position: Vice President, Commercial Real Estate
Education: Illinois Wesleyan University
Years in Real Estate: 9
- What led you to work in the Real Estate industry? Describe your current responsibilities:
After graduating from IWU, I entered the Banking industry at Wells Fargo, on the consumer side. This was 2008-2010, so although it was a very educational experience, it didn’t take me long to realize I wanted to be on the commercial side. I entered into the Leadership Development Program at MB Financial as a Credit Analyst, where I spent nearly 2 years underwriting and supporting Loan Officers. In 2012 I officially joined the CRE team as a Loan Officer. Today I am a Vice President, responsible for both generating new business and managing my own book of business consisting of real estate developers and owners. Asset types I specialize in includes multi-family, retail, medical office, and industrial for bridge, construction, value-add, and permanent financing.
- Who has been the biggest influence in your career?
My manager, Matt Robertson. We have worked together since my first analyst assignment in the Bank’s CRE Group in 2010. He has been a constant for the entirety of my career in commercial real estate and has literally taught me everything I know about the business.
- Where do you see yourself in 5-10 years?
Definitely still in Chicago Real Estate – it is such an awesome community of professionals. No matter the specific position, I will ideally be managing and mentoring others (particularly women in CRE) on Banking, networking and commercial real estate.
- What is the most important lesson you have learned during your career?
To know when to let a deal go/stand your ground. Being a former college athlete conditioned to win at all costs, this was a VERY difficult one for me to learn and I still struggle with it. We work in such a competitive market that it is easy to get caught up in bidding wars. At some point I force myself to step back, revisit the basics of the deal and confirm that it still makes sense. Don’t compromise yourself or your institution just to win.
- What is the best piece of professional advice you have been given?
Don’t be the one people are waiting on; be on time, be responsive and be proactive. And to always wear a watch!
- What networking advice can you offer young professionals to help advance their careers?Networking in large crowds is intimidating for me, as for most people. Networking has been most effective for me in smaller groups and then following-up for 1-on-1 time. Many organizations now have sub-groups or special interest groups which are a wonderful and an easy way to get to know people on a more personal level. Before I enter into a large event, I remind myself that everyone is here for the same reason…to meet each other, so don’t be shy.
- Outside of work, how do you enjoy spending your time?
With my husband and two precious daughters, Ava (3) and Serena (8 months). It usually involves the zoo, park or pool time in the summer!
- What might someone be surprised to know about you?
I am a farmer’s daughter! I grew up a true country girl in Central Illinois where my high school graduating class was just 47. Although I have lived in Chicagoland for 11 years, I still feel like a tourist in the city.