Ethan Conrad ’89 (Business Administration)

Occupation: CEO, Ethan Conrad Properties, a commercial real estate investment firm
First Job: As a 7-year-old, his parents paid him 75¢ an hour to cut thistles

Ethan Conrad attributes his good work ethic—one that has him putting in 80-hour weeks—to his parents. But it was his time as a car salesman during his college days that built his love of business.

“It was a phenomenal sales experience,” he says. “I learned how to read people. I learned that the best salespeople are just really helpful people. You want the salesperson to figure out what you want and show it to you.”

He says that eventually led him to the world of commercial real estate.

“When I became a broker it was the same thought process—helping people find what they want,” Conrad says. “If the salespeople are helpful, they are the most successful.”

And that zest for selling put him at the helm of his own company.

“I love business,” he says. “It’s fun, especially commercial real estate because it’s like playing Monopoly but it’s 3-D and it’s live.”

“And it’s always changing so there are different opportunities at different times. Windows close but that’s what I like, being in tune with the market so when there’s buzz, you can seize that opportunity and make the most of it.”

Conrad didn’t always have real estate on the brain. In fact, he originally planned to become an attorney but after six years of trying different paths during his Sac State days, it was an internship with a brokerage firm that got him pointed in the right direction.

His advice to future Sac State students: “Figure out what you want to do early on so you only do it once and so that the degree is of value.”

And then take advantage of internship offerings.

“With internships, you’re working in the real world. It’s a great way to figure out if that’s what you want to do,” he says. “Talk to people in the industry and immerse yourself.”