Back to School – My Internship At MCA
By Connor Alexa
I started my internship at Metropolitan Capital Advisors (“MCA”) at the beginning of June not knowing much about real estate brokerage. I was relieved to find out internships are not what they are on TV, I didn’t have to make coffee runs, file, or do anything that seemed like it was a waste of time AND I was treated like a co-worker rather than just some random college student.
From the first day, I carried a notebook and was told to write down all the questions I had. Everyone took time out of their day to answer these questions and check in on me to make sure I was understanding all the information that was being thrown at me. Most of my time the first couple of weeks were spent reading and learning what the firm does in the commercial real estate finance industry, and it turns out, they do everything! I learned how to underwrite deals that involved a variety of product types, such as multi-family, industrial, office, self-storage, hospitals, and even cemeteries. MCA truly will help you finance anything from birth to death! MCA set up a training program for their interns to teach them how to underwrite the economics of a deal and find the loan amount required to complete a project. I also became well versed in how to create presentations for transactions by working on current deals, the Senior Directors then take time to tell me what changes are needed to make it more professional.
The one experience that I enjoyed the most during my internship was a lesson I learned that cannot be taught in a normal classroom. School teaches you how to give speeches and answer general questions, but they do not teach you how to establish a network and how to start new connections with clients and business partners. I was fortunate enough to tag along on meetings with a Senior Director, the free meals were nice but the advice I received was priceless. One lunch meeting lasted a few hours and I think the business part only lasted about twenty minutes. The remainder of the time was spent getting to know the person and their experiences not only in the business world but also in life.
A lesson that I took away from that meeting relates to business habits. We met with a man that made his first impression in real estate in the early ’80s. He moved around the southern states flipping and renovating housing and industrial buildings. Recently he “accidentally” did over $100,000 in revenue selling old hats, but what had a lasting impression on me from the meeting with him was the rules that he followed. His first rule was to write everything down. At first, I thought this was obvious to write down meeting dates and keep a schedule, but when he said “everything” he meant everything. Write down what people are like, what they enjoy doing, family if they have started one, and most importantly their name. Matching every face to a name may seem minimal but it speaks volume and shows respect. Another rule that stuck with me but has not been able to perform is being in front of people from 9-5 every day and do paperwork before or after that time frame. This allows you to meet the most people possible and opens the door to new opportunities.
MCA has taught me that business is all about people. If you work on a deal with good people even if the transaction isn’t the most profitable, it is still better than a huge payout working with people that are tough to deal with. Repeat business is the best business. Establishing strong connections is essential to be successful in the Real Estate world.