News from the Chicago Chapter
Perspectives on Earning Dual IREM Designations: Bonnie Wu, ARM®, CPM®, Senior Property Manager, Draper and Kramer
What were the key factors that prompted you to pursue and earn a second IREM professional designation?
I consider my first IREM designation, the ARM, equivalent to earning a bachelor’s degree. The ARM designation confirmed my passion for the real estate industry. In the ARM classes, I was introduced to different aspects from management to sales. I was fascinated and attracted to the real estate industry. The next step was to earn a CPM, which I considered equivalent to a master’s degree.
What were some of the challenges you faced in balancing work and earning the second designation?
Effective time management was crucial. As we know the work doesn’t stop. I still had a full work schedule and needed to find time for education as well. The biggest challenge was allocating sufficient time for financial courses. Each financial course had a prerequisite class. One or two days courses were manageable.
Did your employer provide inspiration and support? If so, please explain.
Oh yes! My employer provided great support. My supervisor at the time said, “You have a bachelor’s degree from a university and the ARM. Go out and get the CPM, if you want to further your career.” IREM is a global organization and the CPM is known worldwide. If I decide to relocate, I know my designation will be recognized and accepted wherever I may go.
Commercial properties across most asset classes are being redeveloped today to meet new tenant uses and demands. Will earning the second IREM designation make you better prepared to manage these “hybrid” properties?
I would say that earning the dual designations has given me the foundation and knowledge to better understand how to manage many assets. My current specialty is managing residential apartment properties, which can contain commercial and retail components. By earning my second designation, I have a better understanding on how to effectively manage all the many different facets of my community.
Earning a second designation demonstrates a great commitment to yourself, the profession, tenants and your company. Please share other benefits or insight.
There are definitely many benefits. Earning the IREM designations demonstrated the dedication to my employer and colleagues to the real estate industry. As property managers, we are not only providing customer service by being actively involved in our community, but we’re also showing that we care. Property management is not just about selling the four walls and tangible features/amenities. I am selling the lifestyle, commitment, trust to our residents, and making an impact/difference in one’s life for a duration of time.