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Professional Profiles and Career Advice to Students in Sequence

Corporate Real Estate: Lydia Jacobs Horton, Director of Real Estate for Proctor
and Gamble

Commercial Real Estate Finance: Kim McNeil, Director of Commercial Real Estate
Finance for PNC Bank in Pittsburgh

Consulting and Appraisal Services: Gerald Atkins, President of Property Advisors

Development: Dan Neyer, President of Neyer Properties

Commercial Brokerage: John J. Frank, Jr., Chairman of the Board, Colliers
Corporate Real Estate: Lydia Jacobs Horton, Director of
Real Estate for Proctor and Gamble

Ms. Lydia Jacobs-Horton is responsible for Proctor &
Gamble's Real Estate Department, overseeing
commercial/industrial real estate acquisitions, dispositions
and leasing across the globe. She has had numerous
engineering, construction and management assignments at
Procter & Gamble.
Lydia was always interested in buildings and started her college education at University
of Cincinnati first in architecture and then moved over to civil-structural engineering.
Later while working at P&G she got her MBA in real estate in the evening program at
University of Cincinnati. Lydia keeps herself informed and educated by attending the
monthly UC Roundtable breakfast meetings organized by the real estate program of
University of Cincinnati. She also regularly updates her negotiating skills by taking the
internal courses provided by P&G.
Career development:
As an engineering student, Lydia took advantage of the co-op program and worked
summers for P&G in its civil engineering department. As a co-op she got practical
exposure and experience by getting involved on several different projects. After
completing her engineering Lydia joined P&G initially as a draftsperson. She was
responsible for designing and drafting flow-processes for the research and development
lines. Lydia also got responsibilities of small-scale construction projects primarily for
Research & Development mock-ups. P&G owned a lot of small brick buildings near their
corporate headquarters in downtown Cincinnati and one of Lydia‟s initial project was to
have these buildings demolished and converted into parking lots. About a year after
completing her MBA, Lydia transferred to the real estate department of P&G. At that
time the company was undergoing a significant manufacturing consolidation in the US
and the real estate department had a lot of industrial properties to dispose off. In her first
few years in the real estate department Lydia was primarily responsible for selling of
these industrial facilities. She received hands on training on the first disposition project
by participating and observing the whole process, from then on she was pretty much on
her own. When Lydia joined the real estate department, it was managing P&G properties
within the US, but in the last three years, with Lydia in charge, the scope of P&G‟s real
estate department has expanded functionally and now manages all global real estate
operations with offices in Cincinnati, Brussels (Belgium), Singapore and Mexico City.
Changes over the years:
In the last few years Lydia has observed corporation‟s change in focus on real estate,
specifically towards reducing the amount of office space the company utilizes. She has
seen a trend towards reducing closed spaces and having more open spaces with small
conference rooms for private meetings. One way she dealt with this is by researching
office design standards and finding optimum ways of utilizing space while providing the
employees a great place to work. At P&G, Lydia has recently initiated the concept of
“flexi-space” also known as telecommuting or office-hotelling. With the growth of multi
national corporations and strong real estate groups, Lydia has seen a consistent
standardization of real estate procedures across the globe. When she joined the industry,
real estate functioned on individual project basis but that has changed over the years.
Now corporate real estate has become more of a portfolio of properties seen in an
integrated sense. A very recent trend that Lydia has observed is the outsourcing of the
real estate functions to real estate companies. P&G utilizes services of companies like
Colliers and C.B. Richard Ellis to provide the analysis and ground information on various
regions that enables the P&G real estate department to span the globe with only 14
Impact of Internet:
Lydia manages more than 90 million square feet of built space and has about 150 current
projects at any given time. P&G real estate department uses a customized Internet based
tool designed by Colliers Turley Martin Tucker to handle their transactions globally and
manage their huge real estate portfolio. The Internet has obviously proved to be a great
efficiency enabling tool for Lydia and her team. However the actual processing of
transactions has not been completely implemented on the Internet, but they are working
to eventually be able to process the disposition projects. The „flexi-space‟ concept is
being implemented over the Internet, where employees can book their desks or
conference rooms online.
Personal Glimpses:
Lydia grew up in New Castle Pennsylvania and moved to Cincinnati for her
undergraduate college education at University of Cincinnati. She is married and has two
daughters. Although managing global operations keeps her very busy, she has been
juggling time nicely between home and work. To relieve stress Lydia attends yoga
classes and exercises regularly. She considers P&G‟s support structure and her family as
the buffers that see her through any particularly stressful projects. Lydia is also a very
committed member of the Knox Presbyterian Church and teaches on Sunday school
classes. She tries to find time to do volunteer work with city schools. She serves on the
REEAC (Real Estate Executive Advisory Council) providing support to the College of
Business Administration at University of Cincinnati.
Career in Corporate Real Estate:
Apart from the analytical skills gained through formal education, Lydia considers skills
like: „initiative and follow-through‟, „persistence‟, „negotiations‟ and „concept-selling‟ as
very important to succeed as a corporate real estate manager. Since the corporate real
estate department is not the „bread and butter‟ of the company, it has to keep on proving
itself as a valuable resource. The real estate manager should keep on taking initiatives
and provide strategic inputs on the way assets are managed in a more efficient and cost
effective manner. Sometimes other departments are reluctant to accept changes and then
it becomes critical to use persuasion and marketing skills to convey the logic and sell the
idea. Lydia provides a recent example where her department initiated, marketed
internally, got the approval and implemented successfully a warehouse consolidation
program. Several small and inefficient warehouses were disposed off and a huge central
warehouse was acquired, however since this affected a lot of other departments, Lydia
and her team had to convince them about the value it brings to the company and how
their work load will not be affected. Hence „persuasion‟ skills are very important for a
corporate real estate professional as they have to sell the idea to others within their
Advice to students:
“To the extent that someone is interested in it [corporate real estate] or thinks they
would enjoy it, I would encourage them to go in that direction. Although you are not part
of the core business, you are a specialist and can be highly regarded in that area. You
meet a whole lot of people within and outside the company and touch upon a lot of
Lydia also suggests the students to try out the profession before committing themselves
to it:
“If a student can co-op or work in the field, even for a short period of time, it will be
extremely valuable”.
Commercial Real Estate Finance: Kim McNeil, Director of
Commercial Real Estate Finance for PNC Bank in Pittsburgh

Kim McNeil completed his undergraduate business degree
with an Accounting major in 1977 and was recruited on
campus by Comerica Bank. He joined the evening MBA
program at Wayne State University with a Finance Major and
completed the program in 1979. He also completed the
program at University of Wisconsin‟s Graduate School of
Banking in three summers (1991 to 93)
Career Path:
Kim McNeil started his career in banking in 1977 when he joined the corporate planning
area of Comerica Bank in Detroit. He found corporate planning very interesting however
realized that to build a career in banking it a background in lending in necessary. So he
made the difficult choice of moving to commercial lending (credit department). Financial
statement analysis, loan structuring, loan pricing and market research were parts of the
corporate training program. Kim went through various lending departments in a rotational
program for three years. He found the components of real estate industry very interesting
compared to the commodity type of lending done with other industry. He found each real
estate transaction as unique by nature and hence much more challenging. When Comerica
began setting up a commercial real estate group, which was previously part of the lending
department, Kim volunteered to be on the group. The ten years with Comerica he went to
Michigan National Bank as Vice-President of the commercial real estate department. In
1991 the real estate industry of Detroit, which is strongly correlated with the automotive
industry, took a down swing. At this time Kim moved to Cincinnati and took up a
position with PNC Bank as Vice President of Commercial Real Estate lending for the
Cincinnati market. At that time the banks had come through a recession and were facing
difficulties in getting back on track. PNC took the initiative early to address the problems
and get into the market to do business. Kim‟s job was to take the Cincinnati office and
build its portfolio and try to originate new business after a severe downturn. After the
initial success in Cincinnati, Kim developed the plan to start marketing in Columbus,
Indianapolis, Dayton and Detroit. That success led to expanding into those markets by
establishing offices in these cities. Kim was instrumental in originating the real estate
lending business of PNC in Cincinnati and to use it as a base to spread operations in other
cities. Currently Kim McNeil manages the Cincinnati office that also controls six offices
in different cities. He views PNC as one of the leaders in the real estate financing
industry in terms of their capabilities from a product standpoint and personnel standpoint.
Kim has helped PNC to innovate in several aspects of Real Estate Financing through the
use of various conduits and vehicles. Like all good leaders Kim also believes that these
creative financial products have been possible due to the expertise of PNC‟s personnel in
deal structuring and risk management.
Changes in Industry:
Kim McNeil has seen the industry change for 25 years and considers „information‟ and
„technology‟ as the drivers of change, especially in the financing aspects of real estate.
Availability of information, both from the supply and demand standpoint has prevented
the real estate professionals from making the kind of mistakes they used to make.
After every recession Kim has observed that sharp, young professionals have come into
the industry and challenged the way things got done. Kim believes that elements like this
make real estate an exciting and constantly evolving industry. In the last ten years the
formation of the REITs and the institutionalization of ownership of real estate is a major
development seen in the real estate industry. Kim considers this a very positive
improvement from a lenders standpoint as it has created additional discipline in the
industry, as the REITS have to report to the public markets, which brings stability.
Impact of Internet:
The amount of information available through the Internet and the efficient
communication has made a huge impact on the way Kim manages the several offices
under him. Keeping pace with the market conditions in various regions has become
easier. The Internet has enabled the centralization of the research staff, which keeps track
of all the markets and provides feedback to the different offices on almost a daily basis.
Personal Glimpses:
Kim McNeil still puts the same time and effort in his job as he used to, when he started.
He reasons this due to the ever-changing conditions and uniqueness of each project or
transaction. He travels often; visiting each of the six offices in his charge once every six
weeks hence needs to travel very often. Kim balances time between home and work by
keeping good schedule and defining his priorities. He always tries to be available for
family events, however there are times when he wishes that he could be at two places at
the same time. To relieve stress Kim engages in out of work interests. He is very regular
about working out at a gym, running and playing racquetball. Kim takes a vacation every
spring and summer break to a beachside or to help encourage his children‟s participation
in their swimming team. Due to travel and busy schedule Kim cannot get involved
extensively in organized community activities. He is a member of several real estate
organizations like NAIOP and REEAC. Kim volunteers along with his wife for school
activities and helps in raising money for “Habitat for Humanity”.
Career Advice:
For anyone wishing to build a career in real estate finance Kim McNeil suggests that the
candidate should be willing to take the challenges that come in a constantly changing
industry with a „variety of transactions‟ and a „scope for creativity‟. For an entry-level
position in real estate finance, accounting skills are essential and with the changing trends
marketing skills are also required. When asked about what a student considering a career
in real estate finance should look at, Kim replied: “It used to be that you could get in and
kind-of handle everything. There wasn‟t diversity of all the different products. You got
educated in all of it and were a one-man-show. I think looking forward there would be
more and more specialization. Therefore what you want to do as a new comer to the
industry is get as much exposure to see what those specializations are and then make
your selection based on that”
Kim‟s advice to students: “Be prepared to work hard and think out of the box. The more
successful individuals are going to be those that come at it with some creativity. Thinking
not about how it has been done in the past, but how it can be done better, looking
forward. All bankers bring the same product - money to the table, but how they structure
it and how they deliver it, makes the difference in real estate finance.”
Consulting and Appraisal Services: Gerald Atkins,
President of Property Advisors

Brief: Gerald (Jerry) Atkins has been involved with the real
estate industry for over 20 years. Jerry formed Property
Advisors Corporation in 1992 to pursue his vision of
providing high quality consulting to the real estate industry.
Jerry graduated from the University of Cincinnati in
psychology in 1981 and joined Cincinnati Business
Committee as a writer. During this phase Jerry used to meet
all the project partners and write support research papers. He
was involved with several important research projects including an area transit system
and the convention center expansion. While studying these projects Jerry gained insights
into Cincinnati‟s real estate market and made important contacts. From 1982 to 1984 he
worked as a broker and then moved into development. From 1984 to 1992 Jerry was
involved with a variety of development, financing, valuations and research projects.
Owning his own company and providing leadership was Jerry‟s long sought after career
aspiration, which he fulfilled by forming the Property Advisory Consulting.
Mentoring and Training:
Jerry‟s first boss at CBC helped him in gaining different perspectives to real estate by
making all data available to him and also involving him in meetings. While working on
different assignments, Jerry came in contact with people from various backgrounds and
learned skills from them through interaction and observations. Jerry never had a formal
mentor in real estate and learned by doing things. His learning was of an experimental
type, wherein he took small risks in doing something on small scale and if successful
replicated the methods on a larger scale. Jerry tries to use the techniques and practices
learnt by observing successful corporations. He also takes ideas from the academia at
University of Cincinnati and considers Professor Norm Miller as a source of great ideas
that have helped him immensely. Jerry also considers Bob Buck of Cintas Corporation as
a third party mentor from life-experience, life-balance and corporate strategy standpoint.
Jerry takes a lot of ideas and advice from other industry leaders, however uses his own
discretion when deciding on issues. Jerry keeps himself aware and updated of the
changing trends in real estate and other happenings by reading newspapers, magazine
articles and the Internet.
Property Advisors Corporation:
Under the leadership of Jerry Atkins, Property Advisors has provided a wide range of real
estate services including development and site specific market and feasibility analysis;
location and site selection services including identification, analysis and negotiation of
private and public partnerships. Property Advisors provides consulting in three areas: (1)
real estate services; (2) investment services; and (3) valuation. The market research
service group supports each of these consulting areas. Today PAC is recognized as a
respected national real estate professional service firm. Property Advisors‟ client base
consists of local and national corporations, state and local governments, government
agencies at all levels, developers, hospital and medical groups, colleges and universities,
school and education agencies, and private and public investors.

Changes in the Industry:
Jerry has observed an increased competence in the real estate industry in the last 20 years.
He recalls that in the 80‟s real estate was a non-sophisticated industry. It was an old boy‟s
network where deals were done on basis of relationships and contacts. The bankers would
lend money to almost any developer who wanted to build, however that changed when
projects started to fail and banks lost money. The need for substantial analysis and due
diligence required by lenders triggered the professionalism in the real estate industry,
with companies generating quality databases and developing analysis techniques. Jerry
observes that the people entering the industry in recent times are far more technically
trained and sophisticated. He has seen the companies and individuals who have not kept
up with the technical advancements being left out in the business. Now it‟s the people
and companies with astute technical abilities as well as established relationships that are
Impact of Internet
Jerry has observed a huge impact of the Internet on real estate consulting practices and
considers the ease of access to quality information as being the biggest advantage to his
company. The Internet has provided PAC the ability to provide its technical expertise
nationwide. Jerry recalls that it used to take about a month to study a new urban center
and then start looking at suitable sites for detailed analysis. The Internet has reduced the
time of this preliminary research to about a week and can be done without leaving the
office. Jerry considers the Internet to have lowered the barriers to entry to different
geographical markets. However it has not lowered the barriers for entering the consulting
business as the core competence lies with the experience and technical skills of its
Personal Glimpses:
Jerry is very organized in everything he does. He has always worked 50 to 60 hours a
week and balances his time between work, family and community activities. To manage
time he has his office, home, church and children‟s school all within a four miles radius.
Family is very important to Jerry. He attends all his son‟s basketball and baseball games,
even if that means flying back from another city while on a project. Jerry takes vacations
with his family for about 3 weeks every year but takes his laptop with him to work for an
hour or two to take care of urgent matters. To relieve stress and let off steam, Jerry works
out every other day at his basement gym. Jerry and his wife Carol have a 15-year son
Ryan and a 10-year old daughter Laura.
Community Activities:
Jerry was the first college graduate in his family and has experienced the difference it
made to his life. This made him a big believer in education and in the huge difference it
can make to society by eliminating barriers between people and communities. His
community activities are centered on education at various levels. Jerry has served on
school boards, Big Brothers/Big Sisters and on REEAC (Real Estate Education Advisory
Council at University of Cincinnati).
Jerry advises students to be very organized and to understand the importance of time
management. He considers personality attributes like initiative, innovation and
perseverance as very important in real estate consulting profession. He also stresses upon
the importance of keeping up with changing times and technology.
Jerry‟s advice to those who would be selecting a career:
 “Pick your passion, do what you love, even if it is economically less rewarding because
it has such an impact across all your life.”
“It‟s really best to pick your niche and not try to be a generalist trying to do everything”
Development: Mr. Dan Neyer, President of Neyer

Dan has been involved with the commercial real estate and
construction industry for over 20 years continuing the family
heritage that began over 100 years ago in Greater Cincinnati.
In 1995 Dan formed Neyer Properties ( to
pursue his vision of providing office, industrial and retail

Dan has a degree from Miami University in finance and accounting, which he says are
essential areas of knowledge in running a business.

Career in Family Business:
Dan was raised in the family business and never felt the need to get a formal education in
construction or real estate. His first full time job was in the family business, which he
joined in 1981 with no specific job-training or title. At that time the business was mainly
construction related and Dan got involved in different projects with a keen desire to learn.
Dan spent the first five years understanding the business by participating. Dan was
mentored throughout his career in the family business by his father. Dan “learned by
doing”: estimating, negotiating and understanding how things got built. At the same time
Dan was exploring the potential in the land and sales part of the business. From 1985 to
early 90‟s, Dan became responsible for estimating, coordinating project executions and
selling activities. He set up the benchmarks for construction costs through detailed
estimation which were in the middle range of the range of quotes received from the sub-

Starting on his own:
While in the family business Dan had started a few projects „on-the-side‟ (working
weekends and nights); purchasing existing run down buildings and converting them to
performing assets. This experience laid the foundation for the decision of start his
business. Dan formed Neyer Properties in June-95, without a clear idea of what he
wanted to do. He spent about six months exploring market opportunities, talking to a lot
of people and finding the direction which he wanted to take. He finally shaped his
company into what he describes as: “We are a company that is really a three pegged
stove; we do land development, design-build-construction and re-development”
Dan considers the re-development of under performing properties as his niche. He
purchases buildings in the wrong spot for current use or in a state of disrepair and
converts them by retrofitting and reinventing it for the highest and best use. Dan has been
very successful in positioning Neyer Properties as one of the fastest growing and highly
respected real estate companies in the region. Currently the company has 25 employees,
owns and controls 500 acres of land (worth approx. $15 million) with over a million
square feet of built space (worth approx. $50 million).
Changes in the real estate industry:
Over his two decade long experience in the real estate industry Dan has seen many
changes happening. On the timing of starting his company he comments: “I pushed at it
when the interest rate was 21% and there was not much real estate activity going on. So
that was an interesting time, but it was good in a way as I saw the hardest of times”.
Dan sees major changes happening in the real estate industry every five years, like the
decrease in interest rate in mid-80s, fiscal policy changes on depreciation and its reversal,
opening of bank coffers in late-80s, pessimism in early 90s and the recovery in mid-90s.
Dan believes that ease of access to borrowed money causes greedy developments
irrespective of whether or not a market exists for it. He refers to other people‟s money
(OPM) as „opium‟, which can be highly addictive and takes market away from reality.
Dan believes in the “intrinsic value” of real estate and has kept away from the lure of
greedy investments. The pessimism in real estate during early-90s waned and since then
it has been a good run with low interest rates and cautious lenders. Dan prefers lenders
who are considered restrictive in lending as it provides another check to the projects.
In late 90‟s the real estate industry saw a new promise in the hi-tech areas. Dan never
understood the hype and never made any telecom hotels or IT specific real estate as it
went against his principle of looking for the “intrinsic value” of real estate properties.
Dan sees real estate as becoming a more specialized industry than before. He considers
securitization of real estate and growing influence of REITs as the biggest change in
recent years, which makes it less of an entrepreneurial activity and more of a corporate
management exercise. However Dan thinks value added entrepreneurs will always exist
in real estate because the huge size of REITs makes them slow moving organizations and
very risk averse.

Impact of technology:
Dan sees the internet as a communication tool which has reduced the reaction time of
companies. The access to information has made real estate a more level playing field with
increased competition.

Personal glimpses:
Dan has been married to Chris for eighteen years; they have a 14-year daughter Amanda
and 10 year old son Zachary. When in his family business he used to put in about 50
hours per week but since starting his company has been putting in more than 60 hours.
Like all successful entrepreneurs He has always had a struggle in balancing his time
between family and work and usually it is his sleep time that suffers. Dan builds up so
many internal energies that he has to figure out ways to reduce stress; he does this by
exercising in the gym three times a week and also does a lot of reading. He takes
vacations for about four weeks in a year and never tells his people where he has gone,
following the principle “work hard and play hard”.
Dan tries to spend about 20% of his time (8-10 hours a week) on community activities
and leadership. He views his business as a platform of giving back to society. He believes
that the best thing to do for any business is to figure out how to use it to reach a higher
Advice to students:
Dan considers „perseverance‟, „ability to listen and learn‟ and an „out-going personality‟
as the key to his success and as essential personality traits in those considering real estate
development as a career path. According to Dan, education in real estate and finance is
helpful and allows you to talk the language but hands-on experience is a must. Dan‟s
advice to new entrants is to “Start with the basics; don‟t try to be „know it all-be it all‟
right away. It takes time to learn as there is no book that explains the finest part of the

Dan summarizes his view of the real estate business as, “Fun is in the hunt; the game
does not matter as much”.
Commercial Brokerage: Mr. John J. Frank, Jr.,
Chairman of the Board, Colliers International

John Frank has distinguished himself as a thorough
professional over a three decade long career in real estate that
culminated as the Chairman of Cincinnati/Dayton office of
Colliers Turley Martin Tucker.

A native Cincinnatian John Frank went to Walnut Hills High
School and then went to Harvard University in Boston to get
his degree in Economics. He served the US Army for two
years as a special agent in the Counter Intelligence Corps. John came back to Cincinnati
and started working in marketing and production for his family business of Specialty
Foods. When the business was sold in 1970 John at 42 had to start a new career. John got
involved in FHA rehab-programs looking for new products, however the federal
government terminated the program. John enjoyed working in the real estate industry
and got his license in 1972 and started working for a local brokerage firm, Chelsea
Moore. After seven years as a broker at Chelsea Moore he was asked to head their
brokerage operations that had 18 to 20 commercial real estate agents. Two years after
this, John and some of the best people of his team started their own company in 1984 and
called it „Realteam‟. John was the managing partner and structured Realteam like a law
firm where everyone was a stakeholder. In 1989 when John saw the economy turning
down he sold controlling interest of Realteam to Ostendorf-Morris, which was the largest
real estate company in North-eastern Ohio at that time. John then became the President
of Ostendorf-Morris Cincinnati office from 1990 to 1995. Later Ostendorf-Morris
became part of a huge merger between companies in St. Lois, Indianapolis and Colliers
International, which is known as Colliers Turley Martin Tucker. John became President
and then Chairman of their Cincinnati/Dayton offices. John comments on the long and
exciting career path: “A little company that I helped co-found in 1984 which started off
with 9 employees, to where we are today, as part of a company with over 700 employees.
It‟s been a very interesting ride”.

John has always been involved in various real estate professional organizations. He is
very active in NAOIP and was once the President of their Greater Cincinnati Chapter.
John received the CCIM designation in 1980 and became President of its Ohio Chapter in
1983. He became the 28 th National President of the CCIM Institute in 1994. John chaired
the CCIM Institute restructure task force in 1995 that dramatically changed its
organizational structure. He was also the Chairman of the task force that created CCIM
regions. He has been a member of the Governing Council for 15 years and past-chairman
of the Executive Committee and served on various task forces/committees.

John Frank is very passionate about Cincinnati and the need to serve your own
community. As he puts it “We have a responsibility to try and improve our own
backyard.” John‟s views on the role of cities: “The downtown or central city is the heart
of the region and it is important to have a strong central city in order for the whole area
to grow economically”
When asked how he has managed to balance between work, community service and
family and what keeps him motivated, John replied: “I enjoy life and have a passion for
everything I do. You have to be organized and work smartly in order to get all things
done in life. Everybody to have a complete life, along with their profession and family
need a third part, of giving back to the community. A lot of it comes back to you in terms
of fulfillment and pleasure.”

Advice to Students:

“It is very important to get experience while you are still in school. Co-operative
education or internship positions, full or part time, even if this delays graduation, are
well worth it. Try to land a position in the right kind of firm where you are exposed to a
variety of professionals even if you need to volunteer to get in the door. Attend every
industry event you can with organizations like NAIOP, ULI, CCIM, and CREW. Be
bold, introduce yourself, and ask questions whenever you can. Follow up meetings with
Thank You notes. Students are not competitive threats and most professionals will
provide a great deal of mentoring to the student with sincere interests. Get involved in
student organizations. Take a leadership role whenever possible and do a good job.
Consider some community volunteer work and last, do well in school and get to know
your real estate professors. They will be called as references even if you don‟t list them
as such and they won‟t know who you are if you don‟t do well in school.”

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