There’s no better experience than real world experience. As a company, we strongly believe that the most valuable education students can receive doesn’t come from a textbook alone. That’s why SimonCRE prides itself on having created an internship program that’s successful for both the student interns and for the company.
There’s lasting value for young adults that participate in these programs, and no one understands that more than our CEO Joshua Simon. His first stepping stone into the world of commercial real estate was as an 18-year-old intern. That experience helped propel him to a number of accomplishments in the industry, including founding his own company.
“The experience, the education, and the mentorship of a great internship program has the power to change young adults’ lives,” says Simon. “I personally feel it’s my duty to give back to the next generation. I want to educate them so they are better prepared for the road ahead and can lead a better life. I think one of the best ways to do that is through a truly hands-on internship program.”
This is why we don’t simply provide a standard internship program with menial tasks. We don’t put our interns to work fetching coffee or restocking paper. We empower our interns to be actively involved in our business. Our team of interns spend time on the phone negotiating offers, researching site selections, putting together site packages, sitting in on investment committee meetings, and more. They aren’t merely a secondary part of our organization, and they’re building a portfolio of experience, which will provide them greater opportunity for future endeavors.
In fact, Austin Gottsacker, our current Acquisition and Leasing Manager started with SimonCRE in 2015 as an intern in the role of Development Associate. He’s only 21 years old and still in college, yet he’s working on deals with Fortune 500 companies and taking tenants on site tours. For him, this opportunity gives insights into what a career in commercial real estate is like in real life.
“This program is my first opportunity to truly see what my strengths and weaknesses are by being given responsibility and tasks that forced me out of my comfort zone and made me use critical thinking skills that I never used in school,” says Gottsacker. “The program also allows me to develop relevant skills and knowledge by being surrounded by leaders in the field and people that are great at what they do.”
It’s seeing successes such as these that really illustrate the benefits of internships and just how valuable these experiences can be down the road. According to a recent CareerBuilder survey, 17 percent of hiring managers did not feel schools are adequately preparing students for roles needed within their organization. Of those, 44 percent felt students were getting too much focus on book learning instead of real-world experience, and 17 percent also felt there was not enough focus on internships.
So at SimonCRE, and many other employers across the country, we understand internships are an invaluable resource. We know that our interns come to work everyday ready to learn, while also providing our company with valuable assistance. Through our internship program we’re opening up new avenues for our interns, and for our company. Whether those students eventually work for us, or go on to pursue jobs in other areas, we’re opening up possibilities for those of the next generation to find a path to success.