By Meg Costa
Cushman & Wakefield is widely known in the commercial real estate industry for being at the forefront of “What’s Next.” It’s not just an eye-catching slogan: It points to our position as market experts, technology leaders and forward-thinkers. And, every summer, the spirit of “What’s Next” is also embodied by our interns.
Across the country, Cushman & Wakefield offices hosted nearly 270 talented interns this summer. In Dallas, we had a group of five rising stars: Audrey Castaigne (Texas Christian University), Katherine Jennings (Texas Christian University), Lainey Giles (Georgetown University), Michael Johnson (University of Southern California) and Reece Allen (Stephen F. Austin). The program was managed by Senior Associate Doug Jones and Research Analyst Daniel Prescott, who is a 2018 alumnus of our intern program, with help from Meg Weiss and Laura Stanford in Operations, and Research Director Ching-Ting Wang.
This year’s interns were incredibly productive, primarily assisting our local Research department. They verified the accuracy of more than 7,500 data fields on various buildings and sales and lease comparables. In addition, the team worked in the field and researched more than 200 buildings in the market.
“Our Summer Internship Program includes a highly competitive application and interview process, which speaks to the desirability of our business and the quality of the candidates we ultimately select,” Jones says. “It’s a selection process that really makes us think hard about the characteristics and strengths of young talent we need and want here at Cushman & Wakefield Dallas. I’m very proud of all of the interns but also of the professionals in our office who went out of their way to make this summer a valuable experience for these five students.”
Ran Holman, Managing Principal of Cushman & Wakefield Dallas, said the intern program provides an opportunity for aspiring professionals to get real-world experience in the commercial real estate industry while also developing important relationships. “It is also a great opportunity for C&W to see the passion, discipline, natural abilities, and personality of these future leaders. It’s a great two-way street. They are learning from us, and we are learning about the next generation who will lead the innovation and evolution of the industry.”
Read on to learn more about this year’s class of incredible interns.
Name: Audrey Castaigne
School: Texas Christian University
Major: Finance and Real Estate
What are your career goals? I hope to work as an analyst and gain experience in the industry before moving into an industrial tenant rep position.
Why did you pursue a summer internship at C&W? I wanted to gain experience in the industry and learn from hardworking, high-integrity people. After doing some research, it was apparent to me C&W was where I would find just that. So, I didn’t stop sending emails until I got an interview here!
How did the experience line up with your expectations? This internship has been completely different than what I expected; it has been much more hands-on and eventful. I have learned more than I previously thought possible in such a short time and have created relationships that I’m sure will last far down the line.
What surprised you the most? How much everyone wants to see us succeed. It has been an amazing experience, and I am so thankful to everyone who has taken time out of their day to work with me. Everyone I have met has not only been hardworking and competitive, but also kind and genuine, and I am so grateful to have been immersed in a working environment like this.
What’s the greatest lesson you learned? To constantly push myself out of my comfort zone. This internship has shown me what great learning opportunities can come from reaching out to new people and going outside of my comfort zone.
What are your thoughts on the industry? This industry is constantly evolving, and there is always something new to learn and someone new to learn from. It is such an interesting time to be in real estate, and I’m excited to see what the future holds.
What do you think about the Dallas region? I think Dallas is the best place to be, for many reasons. It is no more than a three-hour flight to most of America, the cost of living is still low compared to other parts of the country and there are countless highways and railroads that help with transporting goods and materials. I’m very lucky to call this place home, and I hope to start my career here.
Name: Katherine Jennings
School: Texas Christian University
Major: Entrepreneurial Management
Status: Graduating December 2019
What are your career goals? I am a passionate, high-energy entrepreneurship major. Because of this, it is no surprise that I want to be a broker. I want to be a landlord or tenant representation broker for office space in the Dallas-Fort Worth market.
Why did you pursue a summer internship at C&W? I found out about Cushman & Wakefield while interning at CBRE and Trammell Crow. I met with brokers at the firm and quickly saw the character, deep insight and strong work ethic that made up Cushman’s employees. I applied because I desire to develop these traits and succeed the way Cushman & Wakefield has succeeded.
How did the experience line up with your expectations? I expected the departments to be much more separate. During my internship, I saw that Cushman & Wakefield is strategic about working with other service lines. By working with other departments, Cushman is able to provide exceptional service to clients.
What surprised you the most? I was pleasantly surprised by the intentionality of Cushman & Wakefield employees to get to know the group of interns. I know people are busy and this is a big company, so it meant a lot to our group that people took time to get to know us!
What’s the greatest lesson you learned? This summer, I got a taste of how to balance meetings and desk work. A valuable skill for brokers (and future brokers)!
What are your thoughts on the industry? Because of the recession, people always ask about risk associated with working in real estate. Since the recession, I have seen the industry grow in looking critically at real estate opportunities while remaining hopeful and open to risk. Being that DFW has so much potential, I find that talk of risk is paired with quantitative reasons (statistics, etc.) as to why the industry has changed since 2008, and why DFW is different than other markets. To me, the commercial real estate industry has lots of opportunity, and must be paired with critical and hopeful thinking.
What do you think about the Dallas region? I particularly have my eye on spots in East Dallas that I think have potential for development. I think there is space throughout that region of Dallas that is unused, and a little innovation could do a lot of good. Specifically areas near highways: How will the growth of Dallas impact where people are walk, live, eat … What if highways weren’t dividing walls of neighborhoods? Just food for thought!
Name: Lainey Giles
School: Georgetown University
Major: Political Economy
What are your career goals? After my summer interning in real estate, I am very interested in working in commercial real estate or something related. It seems like a great industry in which to start out my career, particularly in Dallas!
Why did you pursue a summer internship at C&W? I wanted to learn more about working in industrial real estate and, more broadly, commercial real estate, and I knew interning at Cushman would be one of the best ways to get exposure to the industry.
How did the experience line up with your expectations? This was my first internship in real estate, so I was not sure what to expect going in. My six weeks at C&W really exceeded my expectations because the Industrial Capital Markets team took the time to teach me a lot, and I learned so much in such a short time.
What surprised you the most? I was surprised by how many different teams there are at Cushman working in different aspects of the commercial real estate. It was really interesting to chat with some of these groups during “Lunch and Learn” sessions to find out more about what goes into everything from leasing to property management.
What’s the greatest lesson you learned? While working with the Industrial Capital Markets team, I learned about all the detailed research and analysis that goes into every deal. It was particularly interesting for me to learn about all of the details that the team has to keep in mind when deciding how to value and sell an industrial building.
What are your thoughts on the industry? I find it very interesting and exciting that every industry somehow ties back to real estate and that it is such a dynamic and innovative field.
What do you think about the Dallas region? I grew up in Dallas, and I have always enjoyed the city and felt that it would be a great place to live and work as an adult. Now that I have interned here, I have seen even more closely what a vibrant economy and fun place Dallas is.
Name: Michael Johnson
School: University of Southern California
Major: Real Estate Development
What are your career goals? To pursue a career in real estate asset management with a focus on commercial real estate properties.
Why did you pursue a summer internship at C&W? I knew it would be a phenomenal learning experience to be surrounded by some of commercial real estate’s best and brightest individuals.
How did the experience line up with your expectations? The experience perfectly lined up with my expectations, as I felt fully immersed in the culture and the various facets of commercial real estate brokerage.
What surprised you the most? I was most surprised by the volume of professions under the umbrella of CRE. I really enjoyed shadowing and learning from various individuals and groups within Cushman and further broadening my knowledge of commercial real estate.
What’s the greatest lesson you learned? The greatest lesson I learned is that so much of this industry is based on reputation. Self-presentation and networking is of utmost importance.
What are your thoughts on the industry? Working at Cushman & Wakefield really solidified my interest in the commercial real estate industry. This was my first time working in CRE, and I now know for sure this is the industry that I want to stay in.
What do you think about the Dallas region? I think Dallas is a phenomenal real estate market, and I hope to come back here after graduation.
Name: Reece Allen
School: Stephen F. Austin
What are your career goals? In the future, I want to be an expert in the industry. There are so many different, intriguing aspects to the business, and I would love to take part in all of them.
Why did you pursue a summer internship at C&W? The CRE industry is something that always fascinated me. I loved the opportunity to be part of one of the major players in it, at a time of such rapid growth. It seemed to be the most exciting place to learn more about the business.
How did the experience line up with your expectations? The experience blew me away. I was not expecting so many people in the office to stop what they were doing and really take the time to teach us interns about their career and all the intricacies that go into it.
What’s the greatest lesson you learned? That there are many ways to do one job, and going against the grain, trying to find a better way to do something, is always rewarded by one of two ways. Either I find a better way to do something or, more often, I understand at a deeper level why something is done the way it is.
What are your thoughts on the industry? That it is a multi-faceted industry with opportunities to work with and learn from all kinds of people, propelling the exchange of ideas and forcing firms to always strive to find what’s next.
What do you think about the Dallas region? I knew Dallas was a booming region, but Ran told us something I had never considered: When the next economic downturn happens, Dallas is the best option to extrapolate value from real estate investments. When the rent in New York and California gets too high, many companies will be looking to Dallas. I think this makes Dallas one of the most unique and exciting markets to be in.