Just wanted to post here because I've been thinking a lot about this and would like to crowd source some knowledge. Thank you all in advance for any advice you may have, I really appreciate it.
Currently I'm senior in college who has one semester left (I transferred schools Sophomore year and I'm graduating late as a result) and I'm an econ major with a real estate finance minor at a large private school in Southern California with a strong real estate program.
I'm interning with a family owned property owner/developer in New York City which is where I also interned last summer. The office isn't large in terms of staff and is not widely known however they own about 25 properties throughout NYC including some very large multifamily/condo buildings and class A office buildings. I've worked on various projects for them that have introduced me to various aspects of the business from property management, to property valuation, refinancing properties, and dealing with legal issues.
My plan this past fall was to use my experience at this firm last summer to get to a larger, more well known company for this summer but after a few interviews at WF, PNC, JP Morgan, and a super day at HFF in LA, I received no offers and I was extremely disheartened. I networked my ass off in the spring semester to try to find another internship role at a larger company and I had a few leads, but ultimately nothing stuck.
This summer my plan was to work here again, make some money and learn as much as I can while I network my ass off in NYC. My GPA went up two points this year which was good because it was a little low before and I'm taking an ARGUS course throughout the month of July and completing the BIWS Real Estate Modelling course as well.
My goal is basically to have a few certifications to my name (ARGUS and BIWS hopefully, for what they're worth) and to have met some people working in CRE in NYC. I know this is getting long winded but I wanted to describe my background and plan first.
I just have a few questions:
- Will companies look down upon the fact that I've worked at this office for 2 summers? It's the only real estate experience I have and the name isn't well known. If so, how should I address this?
- I would love to work for one of the big nationwide real estate companies such as CBRE, Cushman, JLL, HFF, Eastdil etc doing investment sales/debt placement or something similar but every time I apply online, I feel like my application goes into a black hole and I often don't hear back. Is networking the main way to get into these firms?
- Will firms care about ARGUS/BIWS certifications? During my HFF interview I was grilled by two guys on what technical skills I brought to the table and I got a bit flustered describing my projects this past summer and what technical skills I used/learned, which is a big reason why I didn't get the job (I think). I wanted to address this weakness with these courses but I'm curious if you guys think it will make a difference.
- I had a really bad semester two years ago which hurt my GPA but I've since raised it to a 3.4 and have made deans list every semester since. I just wanted to know if you guys think will be an issue for me going forward. I have one more semester and I hope to raise it to a 3.5 but I'm curious if that was holding me back
- My goal (like everyone else I guess) is to work in REPE or at a REIT, I was just wondering which roles would set me up to get to that point in the future.
Any advice or comments you guys have would be a big help, thank again.