When I was in grad school at Penn I was active in two clubs: the real estate club and some tech/entrepreneurship club (I can’t remember the exact name). These were two areas that I was interested in and so I wanted to hang out with people who were also interested in these things and I wanted to hear from experienced people who were active in these fields.
At that time, which was before the Great Recession, the real estate club was bigger and more active than the tech club. I think it was something like 3 to 1. But I remember one of my professors telling me that participation across the various clubs generally ebbs and flows. Before the dot-com bubble, the tech club was where you wanted to be. But that asset bubble had burst, and so people had moved onto real estate, which, at that time, was in the midst of creating its own asset bubble.
What we students were effectively doing — by way of deciding where to spend our time — was chasing the next hot thing. They were chasing where they thought they’d be able to make the most money coming out of school. There is, of course, nothing wrong with this. The pursuit of profit is fundamental to capitalism. But at the same time, I think it’s crucially important to have some conviction.
Right now we are going through another cycle. Real estate was hot last year and i…