Alum Amanda Strong (’02) celebrated among 24 black executives in commercial real estate

Article Retrieved from Bisnow, 24 BLACK EXECUTIVES


Not all great commercial real estate careers start in the hallways of a brokerage firm or on a construction site — just ask MIT Investment Management Co. Director Amanda Strong.

Strong was on track to be an assistant buyer for Marshalls in the 1980s before a recession sidetracked her career path into a more finance-minded one. Her early years at Marshalls weren’t in real estate, but Strong said she was able to learn demographic differences in U.S. markets and what was necessary to launch a new store or property.

With those skills, she was ready to take the leap into CRE. She later worked for retailers Staples and the Woolworth Corp., but eventually wanted to get away from suburban big-box retail. She went back to school and got her master’s in real estate development from MIT.

“I could have stayed at Staples and had a great career, but I wanted to have more of an impact… It’s scary. You have to quit your job and are starting from scratch, but if you have a passion for something, just do it. There are times to take chances.”

Since her MIT master’s, Strong moved into construction lending for Key Bank, where she underwrote several significant Boston projects, including the Park Lane Seaport Apartments, and then in private equity with the New Boston Fund. Strong began her asset management career at Colony Realty Partners, where she was a managing director, and now serves as director of asset management at the MIT Investment Management Co.

Along with overseeing MIT’s commercial real estate assets, Strong is focused on increasing diversity and inclusion in the industry. Not only does she want to make sure her own work environment is respectful, safe and inclusive, she wants to make sure people who may not even consider a career in commercial real estate know the industry offers a viable future.

“My hope is to be able to move the needle on wealth creation for underrepresented groups… I think it’s also important for people not from underrepresented groups to recognize that, to solve the problem, it is important that they figure out how to help.” 

— Cameron Sperance | Bisnow