Approaching graduation, four second-year students discussed their summer internships and how these opportunities prepared them for real estate careers. John Collura ’04 (GE Real Estate’s Partners Group), Laurent Luccioni ’04 (Cherokee Investment Partners), Brad Reisinger ’04 (Jones Lang LaSalle), and David Schreiber ’04 (KeyBank Real Estate Capital) spent their summers in areas ranging from development and commercial banking to private debt and equity.
What attracted you to the opportunity?
Brad: The tremendous growth opportunity in the public-sector privatization team at Jones Lang LaSalle. I received the breadth of industry experience that only a large multi-service firm can provide, while also working in a very entrepreneurial environment.
David: Since my professional experience prior to Kellogg was non-real estate, I wanted to gain general industry exposure and work on a variety of transaction types and sizes at a highly reputable company.
John: GE Real Estate presented an opportunity to learn from bright professionals and gain exposure to capital structure issues, which supported my long-term interest in private equity.
Laurent: I wanted to gain valuable deal experience at a real estate private equity firm.
What skills did you acquire or develop during the summer?
David: I worked on several dozen deals over the summer and served as the point person on a few transactions, which honed both my financial analysis and project management skills.
John: The ability to model complex cash flows with residual splits, waterfalls, and promotes. I also learned how to evaluate potential joint venture partners and identify associated risks and potential mitigants.
What was the most interesting project or transaction that you worked on, and what made it interesting?
Brad: I managed the due diligence and pro formas for a $600 million residential development. The project was an amazing capstone of everything I had learned the previous year at Kellogg, requiring finance, operations, marketing, and accounting skills.
David: We syndicated a $150 million secured line of credit for a large retail REIT. I managed the Information Memorandum and one of the more interesting responsibilitieswas evaluating the 14-property collateral pool that secured the debt. This included analyzing the property financials and rent rolls, as well as conducting site visits.
Where are you going after graduation and how did the internship prepare you for this full-time opportunity?
Brad: I am staying with Jones Lang LaSalle.
David: I accepted an offer from Jones Lang LaSalle to join its Leadership Rotational Program. Most of my summer was focused on corporate finance and capital markets, so I believe that my background and the summer have prepared me well for this new role.
John: I will work for Morgan Stanley’s real estate private equity group doing acquisitions. My internship prepared me by providing constant exposure to the complex transactions that I will encounter on a daily basis.
Laurent: I am returning to Cherokee.
What advice do you have for first-year students when evaluating internship opportunities?
Brad: Talk to as many people as possible. This process helped me to build a network of Chicago real estate contacts, which, in turn, provided valuable resources for discussing and evaluating opportunities.
David: Ask what you’ll be doing, to whom you’ll be reporting, how much responsibility and exposure you’ll have on transactions and with clients, how you’ll be evaluated, and whether there will be an opportunity for a full-time offer. If your manager cannot answer these questions, you should explore other options.