You probably are now receiving emails about interest in summer internships. Interns can be great, a wonderful addition to an office and a lot of fun to work with, IF you know how to properly delegate. I’ve written about that in a past article. We’ve also written a white paper about internships in commercial real estate and how they should be structured. It’s remained our No. 1 download for years and has been downloaded more than 1,000 times. (There’s a link to it below.)

A good way to find great interns is to find a local school where you can develop a relationship and better understand the school’s intern process, the professors and where to find the best candidates. We struck up a relationship with UNC Charlotte, where I serve on the advisory board for the Childress Klein Center for Real Estate. I have had nearly a dozen interns coming primarily from the Childress Klein Center for Real Estate. We got involved early by offering a $1000 scholarship for women in the program. Eventually, the school asked that I serve on the advisory board, which has proven to be a great way to stay on the pulse of what is happening in Charlotte.

We recently circled back with some former Cardinal interns to see how they’re doing. I’ve been fortunate in that we’ve worked with a wonderful group of interns over the years. They’ve brought vitality and fresh eyes and insights to my firm.

Emily Buehrer interned for me in 2010. Her bachelor’s degree is in Landscape Architecture and she was a landscape designer until deciding to go back to school to earn her MBA in marketing. She interned for me by project managing special projects with our branding effort and by helping me with the internship white paper.

She returned to her passion of architecture and now is a Landscape Architect with Bloc Design, a civil engineering and landscape architecture firm here in Charlotte. While interning for me she was a very conscientious worker whose love for real estate was apparent. She was an excellent team player who could work well independently, was well rounded and required little direction. She’s done very well in her career, including being honored twice by CREW. I asked what she learned from her experience and she said that from watching me she saw the value in being well-connected.

“John stays organized and scheduled to make sure he stays in touch with everyone in his network and that his communication is deliberate and meaningful,” she shared.

I’ve been able to maintain long-term relationships with some of my former interns. Matt MacCaughelty came as an intern when he was in the UNCC MSRE program. He immediately took to the underwriting of brokerage deals. He is now a Stabilized Program Underwriter with BB&T Real Estate Funding.

I asked him about the value of an internship and this was his reply: “It creates an energetic environment with new blood mixing with seasoned professionals that can result in 10x value to all involved. Call it modern day apprenticeship. At Cardinal, I learned the art of communicating to a client on the front end while at the same time making sense out of chaos on the back end. I also learned how to marry the two together in a process that looks seamless with goal of exceeding client expectations as a team.”

Matt also shared that going forward he’s taken his internship experience to heart and applied it to exceed expectations and add value, whether it be to a bottom line, in problem solving, or to create new initiatives.

Emily and Matt were great because of how they knew the balance of working as a team and working independently. We followed the strategy that was laid out and they got the work done on time and on budget – always in a professional manner!

Connections do matter. And this summer, take the opportunity to enhance yours and take an intern under your wing.

And the white paper I mentioned? Find the “Extraordinary Internship Experience” Whitepaper at the bottom of our Resources page on our new website!

Resources: Miscellaneous White Papers