The new learning curve in business

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Most students in second year have enough to keep themselves occupied with simply trying to maintain a reasonable GPA, while others engage themselves with minor extracurriculars in order to fill the time.

Jesse Fragale, in the midst of balancing academics, playing on the school football team and part-time employment, decided to start a company.

“I think it was just before my twentieth birthday … I contacted a local real estate agent and then we started looking for housing,” Fragale recalled. Fragale closed the deal on the purchase of his first home in February 2009. Genesis Management Corp., of which he is the owner, has since expanded to control four properties.

Fragale attributes some of his success to timing. “I’m lucky that I started after the ‘08 recession, so home prices were at a pretty good bargain,” he explained. In combination with the Region’s expansion and need for student housing, this created favourable conditions.

However, by the time three school years had passed, and Fragale had acquired a third house, his combination of commitments had become overwhelming. “It just wasn’t manageable to do part-time work, football, school and run this company,” he reflected.

An overload of responsibilities combined with an attractive job offer in Toronto lead to Fragale leaving Laurier after his third year, although he will still graduate this April.

Despite experiencing great success with his properties, even gaining national attention through two articles in Canadian Real Estate Magazine, Fragale did encounter many challenges entering the business world as a student.

In spite of being enrolled in business courses at Laurier as an honours philosophy and business administration student, Fragale found “there wasn’t really a large amount of information you could get from the school.”

“It would have been great if you had those type of courses at the undergraduate level,” he acknowledged.

“You prepare your best, but it’s not until you have twenty some odd tenants that you really start learning, because you’re dealing with everything as it happens.”

Editor’s note: This story has been updated since its original publishing date.


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