Career Real Estate Investor Discovers New Inspiration from a Backpack and a Campus Bench
Enrolled in both familiar and novel classes, Lowenstein finds creativity and energy are equally alive outside the classroom
Glenn Lowenstein, TOWER Fellow 2018
The Journey Glenn has been an institutional real estate investor for 35 years and is the co-founder of Lionstone Investments, which sold to Ameriprise in 2017. Before that, he helped build the investment management business at Hines, where he ultimately became Chief Investment Officer. The foundation of his career focused on merging an understanding of how cities evolve with basic principles of value investing. Currently, Glenn is active in several charities and previously served as chairman of the Texas Real Estate Center.
Following the sale of his company in 2017, Glenn found himself in a transitional phase. He was connected to the University through the Real Estate Center and looking to keep it that way. To him, the TOWER Fellows Program sounded like an ideal way to stay engaged, meet cool people, and take some classes. More than that, it offered an opportunity during a pivotal time in his life. A lifelong learner, Glenn saw TOWER Fellows as a way to take a step back and discover what interested and stimulated him in the world. He entered with hopes of keeping his mind sharp and exploring topics he'd been exposed to during his career more deeply and seeking some inspiration to guide him forward.
The Experience Glenn focused his coursework on the type of classes he'd missed the first time around. He chose a Statistics and Public Policy course that aligned with his business pursuits as a data-oriented real estate investor, yet offered new information and value. Glenn gained access to new, state-of-the-art software he couldn't have used otherwise, learned a new program, and got up to speed on the latest technology for statistics. The class additionally deepened his understanding of statistical analysis and allowed him to spend time with incredibly passionate people aiming to make the world a better place.
Glenn enrolled in an Entrepreneurial Venture Capital Program that he found equally interesting, and also allowed him to build on his expertise. In the course, he studied and met with VCs. Though investing was his expertise, he enjoyed looking at the applications outside of real estate. When he saw a crossover between the issues being discussed by students in the LBJ School of Public Affairs and McCombs School of Business, he worked with TOWER Fellows faculty directors to organize a dinner to bring the two together for collaboration from their opposite sides of campus.
Glenn's high-level Philosophy class on consciousness provided a very different experience and put him in a room where he did not fully understand everything. He was ultra-aware of his contributions and appreciated how generous students were with one another in their dialogues.
"[It was] one of the coolest things I've ever done in my life...I was in a room where I almost knew nothing, and trying to keep up with these graduate level students was just so taxing, so inspiring."
This class, as well as an independent study in Design Thinking, provided self-reflection and personal insights. The program allowed him to immerse in the university community, and he spent every moment of his spare time on campus.
He stayed at the AT&T Center each week, an arrangement the TOWER program staff helped facilitate, and spent his downtime hanging out in libraries, walking around with his backpack and sitting on benches. He described these moments as energizing and "pure happiness."
"It's like my brain started working better; the gears started working with more grease. In business, you're not always making new ideas or using your mind, you're often doing stuff you already know." – GLENN LOWENSTEIN
The TOWER Fellows Program allowed Glenn to meet some of the finest professors at the University of Texas and exposed him to many incredible people, including other Fellows. Being part of a community of so many intelligent, interesting people enriched his life, and served as a reminder of his potential. These interactions left him feeling inspired and ready to do something great in his next chapter. The program also opened him to a wide range of possibilities aside from the business where he already excelled.
The rich experience of being a TOWER Fellow reminded Glenn how much fun it is to be creative, to be a leader, and to innovate. While he hasn't fully defined his next venture yet, he left the program with some exciting ideas, and is well on his way.