Krystal Williams arrived at Rutgers Business School-Newark as a B-STAR student the summer before freshman year, ready to make the most of her college experience. Since then, the Honors College senior has amassed 141 credits, completed a major in finance and a second major in leadership and management, parlayed an internship into a job offer, and led initiatives for several campus organizations.
As she completed her senior thesis on urban redevelopment, Williams also worked 30-plus hours a week with Leverage Companies, a real estate investment firm in Newark that offered to hire her full time once she graduates.
“I chose Rutgers Business School because of its reputation — it’s quite prestigious, and I believe it has helped me prepare well for a career in real estate,” Williams said.
She is part of the first Rutgers Business School (RBS) class to complete the real estate track offered as part of the undergraduate finance major. In addition to the knowledge she acquired, “classes gave me deep insight into how to conduct myself and survive in the corporate world,” she said.
Joining the Business Student Transition at Rutgers program (B-STAR) in 2018 gave Williams a jump start, she said. “I didn’t know what to expect from college courses,” she said. Williams earned six credits that summer, got familiar with the campus, and most importantly, became part of a close-knit community of students, faculty, and RBS administrators.
The award-winning B-STAR program, created and managed by the Office of Inclusion, Diversity, Equity and Access (IDEA), has been helping students transition from high school to college since 2014.
“B-STAR was the most life-changing experience of my life,” Williams said. She enjoyed the support from faculty and B-STAR alumni. “They were really behind us,” she said. Williams became involved with the B-STAR alumni panel to share her enthusiasm with incoming students. As a student leader, she also promoted the program through several campus workshops.
Williams gained valuable insights as a member of Women BUILD (Business Undergraduates in Leadership Development), which provides female students with a professional network of role models and mentors. Williams culminated her two years in the program by completing a project on how companies handled sustainability during the pandemic.
As part of Women Build, Williams also volunteered for Junior Achievement Financial Literacy, working with elementary school children prior to the pandemic. “It was fulfilling to see young children excited about learning about financials, especially since that was something I did not receive at their age,” she said.
Williams joined another organization, Rutgers Undergraduate Women in Business, because it provided camaraderie and support for women pursuing careers in male-dominated fields.
As a leader of the Rutgers Real Estate Society, Williams worked with the Rutgers Center for Real Estate, developing opportunities for more undergraduates to get involved. The society arranges networking events for students to interview with alumni for internships and jobs. She was chosen for the leadership role by Professor Morris Davis, academic director at the Center for Real Estate.
Her interest in real estate started in high school. The summer before her senior year, she interned with Garibaldi Group, LLC as it negotiated leases on Bell Works, a retail and office complex on the grounds of the former Bell Labs. Working with a broker, Williams did under-writing to ensure that tenants could afford the rent. Last semester, a Bell Works developer she met during that internship was a guest speaker in one of her classes.
She did an internship in the human resources department of RBC Capital Markets in the summer of 2019, and then completed a certificate in online retail over the summer of 2020. During a seven-month internship with NJ Transit, Williams handled property management and lease renewals. She gave up the position earlier this year to work for Leverage Companies as a due diligence specialist, getting commercial properties appraised and inspected, and reviewing contracts.
Williams said she aspires to have a career in the real estate industry, handling large commercial transactions. And for fun? She has some “bucket list” goals, such as visiting the equator line in Ecuador.