Most people get an MBA with one goal: becoming an executive. After graduating from the University of Southern California in 1983, Israeli-American immigrant Adam Milstein decided to become a commercial real estate agent. He worked for several years until his manager gave him a suggestion that changed his life: He told Adam to approach Israeli investor and multi-millionaire David Hager.

At first, Hager wasn’t interested in making Adam his sales agent. After a year of pitching and persuading, Adam convinced Hager to launch a 50-50 partnership business. Today, Hager Pacific Properties manages over $1 billion in real estate holdings. Adam is a multi-millionaire, an active commercial real estate developer, and a busy philanthropist.

Millions of entrepreneurs are angling to achieve the American Dream the way Adam Milstein did. He’s willing to share his secrets, but fair warning — some of them will surprise you.