Meet Alex, Edward and Teddy — the real estate experts for Coupang FCs
My path to Coupang – Part 3
“The persistence and tenacity to negotiate once more can bring higher business profits”
Nice to meet you, Alex, Edward and Teddy. Please tell us about your current role.
Alex: Hi, we are the Coupang Real Estate Finance (CREF) Capacity Management team. We manage the lease of Fulfilment Centers (FCs) as well as discussing additional requirements with landlords on site when FC operation starts. It is important to rent a building that meets the requirements of Coupang’s FC operation. Launch plans change from time to time so it is crucial to confirm and work out an exact occupancy date.
For most FCs, we lease buildings that are already built. But sometimes we pre-lease it before the construction. In this case, we engage from the development stage and ensure smooth operation by delivering the specification of the development that meets operational requirements.
Teddy: Coupang has more than 50 FCs and we rent spaces that are bigger than 10,000 pyeong (about 33057.85m2) with direct contracts. We first make a list of sites that are spacious and have the right operation facilities for Coupang FCs. We also go on-site inspections of the listed sites with other stakeholders such as PM, FM, Design, and HR teams.
We try our best to accommodate as many requests as possible with ruthless priority from our stakeholders, who are also our customers. From HR perspective, it is important to find a site where they can easily recruit people. It might cost more to lease a building in a populated area. However, it can be more beneficial to the company considering other factors in the long run.
What previous real estate experience have you had, and what made you pursue a career with Coupang?
Alex: I started out with corporate real estate leasing and became a PM of a real estate consulting company to further develop my expertise. Then, I got interested in the logistics real estate market and decided to join Coupang.
Edward: I majored in real estate and got a related job after college. My first job was at an FM company which manages the office buildings of a company’s subsidiaries. I also worked in consulting for the purchase and disposal of office buildings. I came to Coupang because Coupang was the hub of the rapidly growing logistics real estate industry. Then I came across this wonderful opportunity as I was considering changing jobs.
Teddy: I got my first job through an open recruitment program and one of my tasks was real estate development. I had many worries about my career at first. However, this industry is unique and requires human effort because of its nature, immobility, and individuality. It made me think that I could be competent if I could establish my expertise in real estate. I don’t think online services can replace human resources in 20 or 30 years.
The last job I had before Coupang was mainly about commercial buildings. I decided to join Coupang as my interest in big logistics real estate grew.
What set Coupang apart from other companies in terms of the interview/hiring process?
Alex: It was great that I got questions only related to the position I’m applying for — no personal questions that are irrelevant to the job.
Edward: The interview experience at Coupang was one of its kind. It was totally different from numerous interviews I’ve had in the past. Interviews at Coupang is a conversation and time to learn about each other rather, so no need to be nervous, just be yourself.
Teddy: Coupang is interested in my skills and potential. Just like Alex mentioned, interviewers did not ask about my private or personal stuff. Their questions were focused on my experiences and capabilities. Also, it was impressive how the interviewers explained about their team’s job in detail during the interviews. I got a good picture of what my future would be at Coupang thanks to this.
Any advice for those who wish to apply for the Real Estate job at Coupang?
Alex: To be successful in the real estate industry, you should not be afraid of meeting others. You encounter various types of people in this industry and a good communication skill is essential.
Edward: Being meticulous is important since we manage a lot of FCs. If you have experience with documenting and dealing with a lot of records, that would be very helpful.
Teddy: I believe it’s ‘perseverance.’. You sometimes have to be harsh in order to get a better deal for a good property lease. Also, someone who is persistent would be the perfect fit for this industry because tenacious negotiation is required to achieve greater benefits for the company.
Any memorable stories after joining Coupang’s CREF team?
Alex: Our team had a lot of property contracts in 2021. It takes at least 2 months from finding a potential FC site to negotiating and signing a contract for Coupang. To keep up with the speed of Coupang’s rocket growth, working voluntarily day and night back in the days is most memorable. I’m very glad I did so because I also grew a lot from it.
Edward: My first visit to Coupang’s Daegu FC was impressive. From my visit, I got to witness Coupang, the leader of distribution system, in person and see innovations such as AGVs (Automated Guided Vehicles). .
Teddy: I personally felt great when I successfully finalized my first lease contract at Coupang, which was Yongin FC.
Any work culture you found to be different at Coupang compared to your previous workplaces?
Alex: Coupang lets you be proactive and be a leader. You own your own task which makes you become more responsible. Expressing your opinions and exploring your own ways to do the job is unlike other companies I’ve been at because I was used to the typical hierarchy of the real estate industry.
Edward: Coupang is a company that is fast-moving and requires quick decision-making. At my previous job, any decision required a significant amount of time because there was a culture of reporting to every line just for the sake of it. Also, you get feedback right away at Coupang thanks to quick meetings and communication with stakeholders through various communication tools.
Teddy: The culture was relatively strict at my previous work. We had a hierarchy based on the year you joined the company, and this created a barrier between people depending on the years they spent at the company. At Coupang, it is easier to facilitate communication, which expedites the decision-making process.
Do you have any goals you wish to achieve as a logistics real estate expert at Coupang?
Alex: I want to become a logistics real estate expert with comprehensive knowledge by experiencing different areas such as LM (Leasing Management), PM (Property Management), and PF (Project Financing).
Edward: It’d be AM (Asset Management) for me. Like Alex, I want to expand into finance and real estate including purchase, development, and even funding.
Teddy: I am also interested in AM. Since Coupang offers diverse opportunities, I would like to leverage them and work with different commercial or office buildings as well.
Edward, Alex, Teddy in an interview with the recruiting team