LoftSmart Director of Business Development, Cristian Medina
IN CONVERSATION: CRISTIAN MEDINA OF LOFTSMART
To kick off 2017 and dive into the rocketing growth of the student rental platform, I recently sat down with the LoftSmart Director of Business Development, Cristian Medina. We touched on a bit of his past experience, his inspiration for joining the team and a look into the future of LoftSmart.
Where did you go to college and what did you study?
Cristian: I went to the business school at Rutgers University, and I studied Supply Chain Management (SCM).
What about SCM got you interested in the corporate world? Why did you pick that major, and how has it been useful to you so far?
Cristian: It’s actually pretty funny: SCM was a new concept to me going into college. I really didn’t know much about it, and I only really learned about it after my first undergraduate SCM class. What I learned was that SCM is the concept of managing different activities, information and resources in a way that ultimately has a positive impact on the bottom line. That was just something that was really fascinating to me – that there was this role within an organization that was so integral to the day-to-day, that had a really big impact on a company’s net value.
What interested you about working at Dell?
Cristian: I have always been fascinated by computers and technology. I remember running around the house at the age of eleven with Dell catalogs, consumed by all the possible combination of offerings. It wasn’t until college that I learned that Dell created the industry standard for BTO (build-to-order), which is a huge thing in the SCM space. So working for Dell seemed like the perfect marriage of the 2 worlds of tech and supply chain – it was a no-brainer for me.
What is your current role at LoftSmart? And what skills have you transferred over from Dell that have helped you transition into your new role?
Cristian: I’m 1 of 4 Directors of Business Development at LoftSmart. When I think about which of my skills have translated over well, 3 things come to mind: how to be programmatic, how to meet deadlines, and how to present Completed Staff Work.
Being programmatic ultimately boils down to executing in a calculated and methodical way. This skill has been helpful in developing structure in a seemingly vague and impromptu world.
And then, #2 – how to meet deadlines. Working at Dell, deadlines always motivated me to drive things to completion within a specific timeline. But that’s just one half of what it means to meet deadlines. The other side of meeting deadlines is understanding the importance of constant communication and updates. It ensures that everyone is aware of anything that impedes meeting the deadline. It prevents surprises. I feel like people sometimes forget that.
# 3 is how to present Completed Staff Work. The doctrine of Completed Staff Work is a principle that states that subordinates are responsible for submitting work to superiors in a manner that allows them to make an immediate decision without the need for further research. This is one of the most interesting skills that I developed at Dell. It requires you to put yourself in someone else’s shoes and ask “What is important to me?”
What skills did you have to pick up and learn for this job? What were some of the more difficult skills that don’t necessarily mesh with the kind of person that you are?
Cristian: That’s a very interesting question. If you think about it, I was just an individual contributor at Dell. I just did what was asked of me in that role. If you consider that and what it was like to move into a role with a much larger and less defined scope, with a greater emphasis on initiative: it’s easy to see that I had a lot to learn.
But there are 2 skills that I really have developed since I started at LoftSmart. # 1 is resiliency. In a startup, you deal with constant ups and downs – this world just simply ebbs and flows. I remember one of my first rejections from a customer and how defeated I felt. But thankfully, after a conversation with our COO, Sundeep, I realized how imperative it was to learn from these experiences and bounce back. It’s the only way you’ll succeed in this environment.
# 2 is confidence. I’ve always considered myself to be a confident person, but I was quickly humbled by my first customer meeting. I realized that in order to be perceived as credible and have a successful customer interaction, you need to be tenacious and confident.
So, why LoftSmart?
Cristian: As someone who is not that far removed from the experience of finding a college apartment, our mission at LoftSmart is something that really resonates with me. We’re developing something that’s truly elevating the housing market for both students and property managers. And that’s something that I’m proud of.
Why LoftSmart over our competitors (Zillow, Craigslist, etc.). Why do you want to be here?
Cristian: It’s the transactional nature of our marketplace. Consumers find incredible value in platforms that help them make educated and well-informed decisions. That’s why we love going to sites like Expedia and Hotels.com. We like the idea of transparency and comparison shopping. At the end of the day, we want to feel like we’ve made the right decision, especially when it comes to spending our own money. LoftSmart is the only platform in the housing market which provides that opportunity to consumers.
What are 3 words that you’d use to describe LoftSmart? And what are 3 words that you’d use to describe your experiences at LoftSmart?
Cristian: LoftSmart - dedicated, intuitive, and trustworthy.
My experience here - challenging, rewarding, and eye-opening.
What are your goals for the next few years that you spend working at LoftSmart?
Cristian: First and foremost, I aspire to be the best Director of Business Development. I am surrounded by a competitive team that motivates me to want to achieve that. But when I look to the future, the one thing I want to be a part of over the next few years is selecting and developing talent within the organization. I’ve always had an affinity for people and understanding what drives them. I think that’s the type of person you need to ensure that you’re bringing the right people into your organization, and setting the company up for long term success. I’ve always believed that a company’s success is 75% contingent on its people and 25% contingent on the actual product/service that it provides.