As a successful retail leasing broker, Ryan Gurman has unique insight into the power of “location, location, location.” He learned the value of the famous real estate mantra well before the start of his professional career. “Certain kinds of high schools can have a profound effect on the course your life takes,” Ryan says. “When it comes to ‘location,’ I’m lucky I landed at Milken.”
From Ryan’s perspective, Milken offered the whole package: strong academics, close-knit community and great relationships. It was also where his interest in real estate coalesced. “I got an internship working for [global developer] Westfield in high school, and it clicked. I ended up sticking with it throughout high school and some of college, ultimately doing social media, branding and marketing projects for the company,” Ryan recalls.
Today, his Milken and real estate worlds combine seamlessly. “All my best friends are from Milken, and so are at least half of my clients!” he enthuses. “Every aspect of my life includes Milken graduates, which is amazing.”
For Ryan, it is the people who make Milken particularly special. “There are so many advocates there – friends and faculty who want to encourage your success. It’s a place where you know everybody has your back,” he says. That level of support extends well beyond graduation. “Someone from Milken can call me to ask for something, and I’ll drop whatever I’m doing to take care of what they need,” he notes. “It’s just one of those things you do.”
As a student, Ryan modeled this spirit of mutual support, establishing Milken Mentors with fellow classmate Dorian Aftalion, which set up middle school students with tutors from the high school. The group grew to more than 50 members and is still active on campus. He also played basketball on the middle school team.
“I enjoyed all the community-building aspects of being at Milken – the school is really a family,” he says. “That’s something you don’t find many places.”
Ryan grew up in Beverly Hills and attended Milken with his older brother, Mark, who today is an influential technology reporter with Bloomberg. “I think the school gave us great tools to go out and excel,” he says. Ryan passed the California real estate licensing exam at 18 and went on to receive his bachelor’s degree in political economy from UC Berkeley. After graduating a semester early, he returned to Los Angeles and a coveted position representing both landlords and tenants at powerhouse commercial real estate firm CBRE, where he represents over 150,000 square feet of retail space and tenants like Philz Coffee, SushiStop and Rip N Dip, to name a few.
“I’m the youngest person in my office, by a decade, at least,” he says. “I’m my own boss, which is awesome, but it’s strictly commission-based, so you have to be extremely disciplined or you won’t get anywhere. I felt prepared to do it, and a lot of that comes from my years at Milken.”
In his spare time, Ryan gives back to the school by serving as a grade liaison to the alumni board and by coming to speak at career fairs and other campus events. “I love getting to interact with current students,” he says. “I know even before I talk to them, just by virtue of the fact that they’re at Milken, that they’re good kids from good families. Having the Milken affiliation means a lot.”