By Matthew Kenny
Reflecting on my summer internship, I certainly realize how well the Baker Program in Real Estate prepared me beforehand. I interned with CBRE in their Global Workplace Solutions (GWS) division as an MBA Summer Associate. Clients outsource their corporate real estate needs through GWS and the growth potential for this type of business moving into the next market cycle is tremendous. Companies will continue to realize both the cost savings and innovation opportunities that come from forming a strategic partnership with GWS. As the world’s largest real estate services provider, CBRE creates additional value for those same clients by offering a unique suite of services that range from brokerage to development.
The client account that I worked on this summer was Iron Mountain, headquartered in Boston. As the world’s leading information storage company, security is a cornerstone of their brand equity. The firm is also a publicly traded REIT, and the majority of their real estate portfolio is within the industrial space. Some of these facilities are quite massive, whether that be a two-million square foot underground mine in Boyers, PA (here’s a rare tour inside the mine: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3hqbEaz4g0c), or a seven-story facility in Northborough, MA (pictured below).
The senior leadership at Iron Mountain are incredibly strong mentors, and I experienced the strength of the Cornell alumni network firsthand over this past summer. The Senior Vice President of Global Real Estate (GRE), Sarah Abrams, is a Cornell Law alumna, and the Vice President of GRE, George Conti (SHA, ’93), will be coming to campus on September 28th to lecture as a Distinguished Speaker at the Baker Program in Real Estate.
From working in a consultancy role for a client that makes security and safety paramount, much of the work I did this summer is confidential, and George will provide a fantastic strategic overview of this REIT when he speaks on campus later this month. Since Iron Mountain is a global company that continues to grow through healthy acquisition, some of my projects involved working with international stakeholders from different countries and cultural backgrounds. The Baker Program in Real Estate has a strong international student base, and interacting with our close-knit community definitely helped me prepare for this summer. In terms of denoting communication, here’s a rubric from the Harvard Business Review that illustrates some differences between countries:
Being a powerful listener is an important communication skill for any intern, and that principle certainly holds true at CBRE. The MBA Summer Associate program for CBRE GWS recruits from Top 25 MBA campuses to find students who have a true passion for real estate. The internship program has a world class interaction and exposure to the C-Suite at CBRE. The program, led by Chris Perri, features a weekly call series where senior executives from the highest level speak about strategic initiatives, and how their respective business units are positioned to respond to what’s occurring in the marketplace. This could range from the Americas Head of Research, Spencer Levy, giving an in-depth breakdown of the Chinese economy and real estate market, to the COO of CBRE Global Investors, Danny Queenan, teaching the intern class on how CBRE can provide unique value to investors when compared to other leading real estate private equity funds. Another great aspect of the internship was the hands-on learning I experienced through site visits, most notably, the CBRE ESI Lab located outside of Milwaukee, WI. This facility is one of only six LEED Triple Platinum buildings in the world and is an excellent showcase on facility innovations which clients can gain value from through CBRE. For security purposes, only the lobby could be photographed (pictured below). Here is an excellent quick video on how the building can interact with a prospective tenant: https://www.cbre.com/real-estate-services/occupier/facilities-management/automated-building-solutions
Overall, I couldn’t have asked for a better summer internship experience. The account I worked on provided a fast-paced and performance-driven environment, while my supervisor and Alliance Director, Wade Allen, presented unmatched mentorship that enabled me to both push myself and grow in the process. I’d strongly encourage potential applicants to attend the on-campus recruitment session for GWS later this fall.