Finance student 
pivots from Wall
Street to CRE

Isaiah Wilson discovers a bright 

future in real estate

Isaiah Wilson, Retail and Land Analyst at JLL in Houston, did not have real estate on his radar when he was thinking about his career options. As a finance student at the University of North Texas, he envisioned a career in investment banking and interned at multi-billion dollar companies. Isaiah pursued his degree, thinking perhaps he'd end up on Wall Street. That all changed when COVID-19 hit and he reevaluated his priorities. 

"I observed the lack of work-life balance my friend who works on Wall Street has. One day I realized this direction isn’t for me anymore. After all of those years of putting in the hours focused on one goal of working on Wall Street, I changed my mind,” Isaiah said.


Isaiah Wilson at his graduation 

Around the same time, a JLL recruiter reached out through LinkedIn to see if Isaiah would be interested in a conversation. A chat scheduled for 10 minutes turned into 45.

"I took a chance on myself with this opportunity. I started digging deeper into JLL and the commercial real estate industry and it's been one of the best decisions I've ever made in my life." 

When he arrived, Isaiah found his commercial real estate role was more exciting and engaging than he anticipated.

"When you first start, it's like drinking from a fire hose. It’s very fast, but it’s very fun," Isaiah said. "As a broker, I have learned that if you can show interest in your clients’ goals and you show you are invested in helping them achieve them you can find so many ways to add value. My finance background allows me to keep pace in the conversation with clients and quantify their objectives. It allows it to be fun and I enjoy every step of it."

It was also JLL’s commitment to creating a diverse and inclusive culture where everyone belongs that stuck with Isaiah. 


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"JLL’s culture is pervasive. The environment is filled with coworkers welcoming me and saying, 'be who you are' and truly meaning it. And that mentality is allowing me to be the best version of myself and do great work."

"As an African-American man, I am proud to be here at this point in time with JLL," Isaiah said. "We have a business resource group, the Black Professionals Network that provides the opportunity to connect with other Black JLL employees on many different sides of the business. It has been invaluable as I'm getting started as a young professional. I learn from their experiences and gain their insights about how they would tackle various challenges for their clients.”

The numerous opportunities for development and training have been another JLL attribute he Isaiah has appreciated. One particular development opportunity Isaiah looks forward to is the JLL Young Leaders Summit. The program pairs him with a mentor to assist him in planning the steps needed to achieve his goals.

"The [JLL Young Leader Summit] I think is the best approach at in-depth training," Isaiah said. "I'm excited to meet the mentor or mentees and get the extra level of 'this is what it takes for you to get to where you would like to be.' There's not a person here that's not ambitious. That's why we do quality work. I'm excited to get more insight on how you have a long-lasting career at JLL."

For Isaiah, the decision to explore commercial real estate instead of investment banking has paid off in many ways . "I tell people all the time how cool my job is," Isaiah said. "A lot of people don't know about CRE. You go out there and try to make the impossible possible and fill that need. To me, that's just a great experience."

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