What was your summer internship and how did you decide which part of real estate to work in?
Moustakis: I was a development intern at EDENS, which develops, owns and operates community-oriented retail in primary markets across the U.S. Based in Atlanta, I learned how to research a market and understand what the needs are, which is a critical aspect of real estate. Being able to build something that offers value and reflects the needs of a community is unique and a role I enjoyed immensely. The real estate development experience was tangible and dynamic as I watched a project take shape. The experience at EDENS reinforced that real estate development was a path I was passionate about.
Fagerberg: A summer internship is the only time you can take a 10-12 week uncommitted risk in your career, so don’t be afraid to pursue something new and different. I interned as a development associate with JBG Smith in Washington, D.C. My goal was to pursue something unfamiliar to me – and for me that was development. I wanted access and exposure to multiple product types since I was unsure which asset type I wanted to pursue post-MBA. I focused on mixed-use residential and retail. I liked that residential is focused on the end-user with significant focus on design, programming and neighborhood demographics. Some product types, such as office and industrial, are more removed from the end-user and focused on leasing economics.
Was having a development experience valuable for you this year as you recruit for a full-time investments role?
Fagerberg: I realized how applicable everything I learned in my development internship is to the investment side of real estate. I found many people on the investment side view development experience as a very valuable skill set. Many investment shops do ground-up deals but don’t have an in-house team that understands the development process. Sometimes they hire outside people to assist, so showing you understand the process and the risk is value-add.
What one piece of advice you would give to the incoming class?
Moustakis: When you’re going through the process, don’t get discouraged – it’s important to stay on your game. It’s easy to get distracted if you stumble a bit in the beginning of the recruiting process, but learn from those experiences and don’t let them bring you down. Take what you learn and use it to improve.
Fagerberg: No matter when you secure your internship, don’t stop networking. I talked with a lot of companies in my first year during internship recruiting, but even after I accepted my internship offer I did not stop networking. During my summer in D.C., I set up 10-plus meetings with UNC alumni and my pre-MBA contacts, which resulted in career insights, new contacts and deeper connections with people in the industry – which all make networking and second-year recruiting efforts easier and more effective.