Graduate Community Director (Apartment Manager)
Degree required: Bachelors
Favorite part of the job:
Resident interaction- getting to know my residents and encourage, empower, and advocate for them on their journey in life. While housing can be a little boring as well, it's a necessity that everyone has! Because of this you meet all kinds of people who have different plans and circumstances. Being someone who is able to help connect them to information and resources that can help (either in education, careers, or living needs) is really rewarding.
How their Management degree is used on the job:
A lot of my management experience was a "trial by fire" when I started my previous job. You never know what sort of manager you will be until you are in the spot that you are running a team by yourself. Something really valuable about an education in management is that you learn to recognize trends and nuances to leadership approaches, and it enables you to make your own style very quickly without nearly as many blunders. Critical thinking about the situation you find yourself in as a manager is very important since, in my experience, things rarely go as planned.
Teams often requires maneuvering and accommodations to original plans, and being able to do that with everyone's interests in mind is a real strength. I find myself sometimes playing into what I imagine my "role" of the leader is on my team based on what is on TV, movies, and in other workplaces. This can be a real problem because not only is it disingenuous and stiff, but it typically means smothering other's ideas in favor of my own. My management degree definitely showed me how identify leadership styles that made sense to me (such as servant leadership), and how things are changing as time goes on. Lot's of places are flattening their organization and moving away from authoritarian approaches that might seem like an intuitive leadership style to new managers who don't know better. Something I learned about business now is that employees want to know the "why" behind every policy. If you can't give this to your staff, chances are you need to revisit that decision!
Typical tasks and responsibilities:
Administrative work! Days start with a number of emails, spreadsheets, financial transactions, leasing, answering calls and questions, processing maintenance requests, etc. But this is just the "paperwork" (in reality it's all online) that keeps things moving- the big picture is what matters more. These actions all reflect the reality and lives of people who live at the apartments, and their stories, situations, and needs. Running an apartment means getting to know who lives on site, and what will make their lives better. Often that might just mean helping people pay their rent or get signed up to live on site- pretty straightforward. What makes things rather more valuable is building a community on site where people feel at home. Programming and celebrations are two easy examples of what we do, though it often boils down to the customer service and letting them know that they've got someone to support them in the office.