If you walk into George Donohue’s classroom, you might be shocked to hear him chatting about high-pressure hostage situations. No, the man is not holding any students hostage, but discussing the art of negotiation.
For three Saturdays per semester at prestigious Fordham University, IPG President George Donohue teaches a class titled Negotiation in Real Estate to eager mid-career professionals seeking master’s degrees in real estate.
In 2017, Fordham was seeking someone with extensive real estate experience to teach the class. With more than thirty years of real estate experience, including a twelve-year stint as General Manager of Leasing at the World Trade Center, there’s nothing Donohue hasn’t seen. When Fordham came calling, it was a perfect match.
“My book Real Estate Dealmaking has been out in the world for quite some time now and I had been looking for another way to give back to the community, to teach. Fordham reached out to me with a great opportunity to teach this course and I couldn’t pass it up,” Donohue said. “It’s been great fun to get into a room with these adult students and teach them the art of negotiating.”
The Fordham class takes place over three full days and focuses on three distinct areas: defining the idea of “negotiation,” how to prepare for and use techniques in negotiations, and individual and team negotiations. Students leave the course with an understanding of negotiation theory, how to create and claim value in deals, the importance of preparation and research, and how to execute the deal.
“The lessons learned in this class don’t only apply to real estate,” Donohue said, “and we’re making deals all the time in our everyday lives. My students often tell me that they find ways to apply what they learn in my class to more than just real estate deal making.”
A mix of lectures and intense role-playing helps students understand the art and science of negotiation. The course concludes with a final project requiring students to analyze a famous deal, such as Disney’s acquisition of LucasArts, or the recent Iran nuclear deal, to determine the strengths and weaknesses of the deal, as well as what could have been improved upon by either party in the deal.
Donohue’s professorial career came as a direct result of his broad experience and stellar reputation in the world of real estate, making deals in the private sector, with government, and even international deals. For Donohue, with his desire to give back and share his knowledge, Fordham’s program proved to be a great deal of its own.