Advice For A High School Senior Interested in RE Development

Hi everyone!

I'm graduating high school this month and I want to one day become a real estate developer. I am currently looking for a summer internship that's related to the real estate industry to build a better resume, but a lot of internships are only available for current colleges students or appear to be too technical for my skill level. Can somebody give some advice on what types of internships I should be looking for that's appropriate for my skill level and will help me get started on becoming a real estate developer? Any advice is greatly appreciated.

Some basic info about me
- I am 18
- I will be attending Indiana University Bloomington (Kelley School of Business) this fall
- I live in Taiwan so I speak English, Mandarin, and Taiwanese fluently
- I have some basic business knowledge from taking high school classes
- Honors Accounting (Similar to a college accounting 101 class)
- Honors Marketing (Basic marketing concepts such as 4Ps, marketing channels, product life cycle, etc)
- Principles of Business (Basic business management, functions of business units, organization structures, etc.)
- AP Economics (College first year Micro and Macro Econ)
- My only previous work experience is working part time on weekends in a steel factory

Thank you for your advice!

 

I would start reaching out to people who work at firms you are interested in. They likely won't have any internships for someone your age, but many people would love to help a highschooler out. They most likely can hook you up with some sort of externship or shadowing experience you can put on your resume and use to help figure out if it's something you'd like to do. Going forward just make sure to stay in tough with people and in a few years, if you stay in touch i'm sure they'd love to help with something more formal.

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I agree with the construction experience idea. Spend a summer on the job site, even if it’s cleaning the site with a broom for minimal wage. Get some exercise. Learn about other folks lives, work on connecting with people from different backgrounds.

I wish I did that. I worked fast food and babysat kids with Parks and Rec, which were good too but prob not a line on my developer resume.

Have compassion as well as ambition and you’ll go far in life. Check out my blog at MemoryVideo.com
 

I second this. You can probably work for some not too complicated subcontractor (cleaning, painting, drywall). That will get you at least on a job site and help you understand how stuff gets built if you keep asking questions.

Manual labor does wonders for work ethic too. And when you are a developer you will have a lot of respect for those people doing really tough work.

“The three most harmful addictions are heroin, carbohydrates, and a monthly salary.” - Nassim Taleb
 

I can attest to the benefits of starting in construction if you are interested in development or just about any aspects of CRE. I first became interested in the industry while working with a commercial contractor during the summer going into college and sophomore year and it's still a proud point on my resume and something I bring up during interviews.

Don't get me wrong, the work was brutal as I was involved in demolition and drywall. I was coughing up the dust for weeks after but I would not trade the experience for anything else.

As far as breaking into development goes, your best bet is to segue into it via I-sales, leasing or analyst roles at a large firm. Im not saying it's impossible to get a job out of college at a development company (Related, Trammel etc.) but it is improbable it will be what you have in mind. Development is an end game for many people including myself and something that tends to happen down the road once you develop the connections and experience that's required.

Good for you for being on top of it before college. I certainly was not, but like someone else said, enjoy your last summer before school.

 

A little late to the thread, but want to help a fellow hoosier out, I am a senior at IU majoring in real estate and will be working in development after graduation. I assume you just started at IU last week so congrats, IU will give you a fun college experience!

In terms of internships, you're a little young and inexperienced for an internship with a development firm right now. For the first two years of college, I would focus on learning as much as you can about real estate/business. K201/K303 will be your most important classes this year. These will teach you how to use excel proficiently, which is a prerequisite before starting financial modeling. Financial modeling is a valuable skillset, knowing this is how I was able to break into development.

In terms of learning about real estate, join the IU Real Estate Club and attend every meeting. There are guest speakers once a month, which will expose you to the industry. There are also case competitions you can sign up for, where you and your team analyze a real life real estate deal/create a development project and present to a panel of judges. Do every single one of these (NAIOP, Eisenberg). These were very beneficial for me.

Also, read The Real Estate Game and study successful real estate developers in your free time.

By the end of your sophomore year, you'll be comfortable with some of the lingo, have proficient excel skills, and have a better idea if real estate development is really what you want to do. You MIGHT get lucky and land an internship with a developer if you play your cards right.

Luckily, because IU is a massive school, we have a huge alumni base. Contact Alumni on LinkedIn and build up your network. I've never had an alum say no to having a 15 minute conversation with me. The real estate industry is all about relationships. Cultivating relationships and building a network is so important, cannot stress that enough. You may hit it off with a contact, and they offer you an internship. Take it (even if its unpaid).

Hope this helps, feel free to reach out to me, I'd be happy to help you out.

 

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