Scholarship Spotlight: Ao Lin Shen

Saturday, Oct 8, 2022

Scholarship Spotlight | Ao Lin Shen

Ao Lin Shen

Ao Lin is in her fourth year of studies at UBC’s Sauder School of Business studying finance and real estate. She started working in the real estate industry as a Business Development and FP&A intern with Intelligent City.

Can you please provide a brief introduction?

I am entering my fourth year at UBC’s Sauder School of Business, and I am completing a dual specialization in Finance and Real Estate and a minor in Psychology. I am actively involved within the student community, serving as the Vice President of Education for UBC’s Real Estate Club and the Vice President of Logistics for the Commerce Undergraduate Society, and I'm also participating in various case competitions.

What are you career aspirations upon graduating from UBC?

Upon graduating from UBC, I would like to work within the commercial real estate industry, particularly in Investments or Development, focusing on value-add opportunities and integrating green technologies and regenerative design to create a more sustainable built environment for the future.

How did you initially become involved in commercial real estate?

From an early age, I had exposure to the industry through my parents, and I would often accompany them on various open houses and site visits. My formal exposure began through an internship at Intelligent City, a firm specializing in sustainable housing technology. Through Intelligent City, I was exposed to the principles of sustainable and regenerative architecture; I worked there as a Business Development Intern, then as a Financial Planning & Analysis intern for a total of 18 months. My experience solidified my interest in the CRE industry.

What excites you about the industry?

Applying technological and design innovations to attain carbon neutrality. I am currently witnessing this transformation firsthand through my involvement in the Third Quadrant Design Team. TQD is competing in the Solar Decathlon Build Challenge hosted by the U.S. Department of Energy. My team and I are tasked with building a net-zero single-family home that will be converted into an academic space post-competition.

What are your plans for growing and leading the industry?

I plan to lead and accelerate the shift towards a sustainable built environment. In addition, I plan to be a role model by inspiring and supporting females to break into the industry through involvement in CREW Vancouver and CREW Vancouver’s Mentorship program.

What are your key takeaways from your experience with CREW Vancouver so far? Do you plan on joining CREW? If so, can you please share a few things you are looking to gain by being apart of this network?

CREW Vancouver’s members are genuinely passionate about sharing their experiences and providing their mentorship to up and coming professionals. To date, I have attended several UCREW events and have found the members to be incredibly generous in sharing their time and wisdom. I look forward to being involved in the mentorship program.

If you were asked to give one piece of advice to university students looking to build a successful career in commercial real estate, what would it be?

Know your purpose and what intrinsically motivates you and keeps you moving forward when things get tough. Once you know your purpose, it will become easier to build strong connections and learn more about the topics that interest you. Personally, I am motivated by travel and supporting sustainability.

Outside of school, what are your hobbies/passions and what advice do you have for maintaining a good school/life balance to be able to enjoy them?

Outside of school, I enjoy spending time outdoors, particularly, volleyball, camping, hiking, and water sports, and playing the piano.

I recommend scheduling time for both work and leisure activities into your calendar.

As international travel re-opens, what are your top destinations to visit?

Travelling the world is one of my main life goals. In the immediate future, I plan to complete two semesters abroad, likely either in Europe and/or California. Upon graduation, I would like to work for a global firm that has offices and properties across the world.