Alumni Profile: Richard Haynes & Max Fitzgerald
To kick off our regular updates in the Marshall community, we spoke with two alumni who have become business partners after meeting through Marshall Partners.
Richard Haynes (class of 2007) founded Elwood Capital Group, a real estate investment company, a year after graduating from Marshall. He brought on Max Fitzgerald (class of 2012) to the Los Angeles-based company after making a connection through their interest in entrepreneurship. Now they're a two-man team looking to grow the business day by day.
Q: Why did you go into real estate investment?
RH: I noticed that a lot of wealthy people own real estate or got wealthy after owning real estate. You don't have to start your own business model from the scratch-- like Pete Carroll did with USC, you can take a successful business model and apply it, and you're going to be just as successful. I found that it's a low-risk job that compensates well.
MF: I've always admired the real estate business. I was doing sales at another company; it was paid pretty well, but it was just something I didn't see a future in. I was referred to Richard because he was the shareholder representative of the South Bay/ Long Beach division. I liked his entrepreneurial spirit. I didn't have any real estate experience, but making connection with Richard, I thought there was a ton of synergy. I left my job and joined with Richard, and I've been really happy.
Q: What are the challenges when you're first building up a company?
RH: The biggest thing is reputation and resume. When I started at 23, someone who had a million dollars to invest would look at a 23-year-old with very little experience and a 40 year old with years of experience. Building your resume, convincing people you can do it just as well or better; building a good reputation with that first client is important.
I learned from my entrepreneur professors at USC that the first people that are gonna believe in your are family, friends, and fools. You need to find one of those three.
Q: What's the biggest difference between working a in large, corporate company and a smaller, expanding company?
MF: In a large company, you have one role and you're defined to that role. In a company like ours, it's you two, and you're going to have to do everything and work never really stops. Each day is not the same as the next day. It's a really dynamic environment, but it's fun. You need to have an entrepreneurial spirit.
Q: You had several internships during your time at USC. How did you go about getting those jobs?
RH: The Trojan Family. The owner of Casa Capital was a Trojan.
Q: Advice for students trying to get their foot in the door?
RH: Just get internships no matter if they pay well or not. I worked as a camp counselor one year at a private school, and I worked for a public relations and advertising company and I worked for a multitude of other companies. I found out I hated PR and advertising and I really enjoyed working at a camp. I really like real estate and mortgage landing. I think I came out ok, and everyone just needs experience as much as I can.
MF: I think the biggest asset to 'SC is the network. The people who you make friends with, whoever is in your fraternity. Offer to work for free, do an internship, set up dinner every month, and figure out what you want to do.
Before the interview was over, Haynes said, "I gotta give Marshall Partners some love."
He described his experience: Let me just tell you, I think Marshall Partners is an amazing resource for young USC students, whether you're Marshall or not Marshall. I have done real estate deals with people through Marshall Partners. Max, who has now come on board, I met him through Marshall Partners. Look, it's hard to network and Marshall Partners is a network that makes it easier and delivers. Click here to learn more about USC Marshall Partners.
Memorable Marshall Moments
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