Adnan Tapia MS ‘96

Real Estate Development

Tell us about how your experiences at Cornell influenced your path. How did you come to live in Los Angeles and what you are doing now?

For the first 18 years of my life, I grew up on a farm 2.5 hours east of Mumbai in western India. So the college town setting was ideal for someone with my background. I attended the Masters in Engineering program at Cornell and was impressed by the flexibility that the program offered me in tailoring it to my needs. It allowed me to take courses in the business, hotel, and architecture schools, thus introducing me to other fields of expertise. I moved to Los Angeles almost 14 years ago in pursuit of a job opportunity, and have since worked in real estate financial advisory and private equity. Currently, I am a Principal at Ploutus Advisors, a real estate development, investment, and corporate real estate advisory firm. I assist property owners, acquirers, value-enhancers, and users of real estate such as local developers, foreign and high-net worth investors, physicians, and small-to-medium sized companies with their specific real estate goals. I also teach Real Estate Development, Construction and Management at UCLA Extension.

How did Cornell help prepare you for your post-grad life?

Cornell is unique in that it not only challenges you from an academic standpoint, but also offers an environment that makes you emotionally and mentally strong. Cornell opened my eyes to several opportunities and creative paths for success. Attending a university in my opinion is more than just academics and grades. It is about building life-long relationships. No matter what field one works in at the end of the day we are all in the people business.

Tell us a favorite memory of your time at Cornell.

I had an amazing time at Cornell so it is tough to list just one memory. As mundane as it sounds, one of my favorite things to do was to walk on and around campus. I enjoyed soaking in the serenity of its pristine environment; Cascadilla Trail, The Slopes, The Art Quad, McGraw Tower, Bebee Lake, Cornell Plantations, and more. The uniqueness of Slope Day also puts it on my list of most memorable events. Another memorable time was my first experience in the aftermath of a snowfall. My roommate and I were walking downhill back from school to our apartment, and it had snowed all morning. Neither of us had previously experienced snow. We had our backpacks and as we marched home, we continued to slip and fall in our sneakers. It was hilarious, but at the end of that 20-minute walk on black ice and frozen slush, we both made our first purchase of snow boots.

Tell us a favorite memory shared with another Cornell alum in L.A.

Bill Weinberger, a fellow Cornell Alum, and I met at a Cornell event a few years ago. We exchanges notes and given our common interest in the field of real estate, we went on to organize a real estate networking event for Cornell Alums in the LA area to engage, build relationships, and do business with other Cornell Alums. It has now been over two years, and we have created a network of Cornell Alums in Real Estate in the LA Area who meet periodically.

What advice would you give, personally and professionally related to your line of work, to Cornell grads looking to come to L.A.?

People do business with people they like. Work, and for that matter life, is similar to a bank account. One has to make a deposit, before one can make a withdrawal. If you plan to move to LA, do invest some time in identifying alums in your industry, and focus on building relationships. I find informal “informational” interviews a helpful no-pressure avenue to initiate a conversation. If you plan to be in LA reach out to an alum, and grab coffee. Good luck!