An intern program is much more than an occasion to hire part-time or seasonal help. It is an opportunity to connect classroom educational experiences with concrete on-the-job practice. The National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE) defines an internship as “a form of experiential learning that integrates knowledge and theory learned in the classroom with practical application and skills development in a professional setting. Internships give students the opportunity to gain valuable applied experience and make connections in professional fields they are considering for career paths; and give employers the opportunity to guide and evaluate talent.”
When properly structured and effectively executed, intern programs play a vital role in introducing young professionals to the real estate management industry and making real estate management a career of “choice, not chance.”
- Increase organization’s productivity
- Free other staff to focus on higher priorities
- Recruiting tool for new employers
- Increase employee retention
- Bring new technology, fresh ideas, diversity
- Enhance companies image
- Develop new skills
- Increase marketability to employers
- Build resume
- Evaluate career paths
The first step in any program is to establish the company’s goals. What does the company hope to gain from having one or more interns as part of its real estate management team?
- Will your internship program be used as a recruitment tool to find your next full-time employee?
- Is an internship program a way for your company to help students get experience and to give back to the industry?
- Is the company’s aim to create stronger ties with local colleges and universities?
- Is the internship program a way to give your company a fresh perspective on operations and services?
- Can an internship program lighten the workload of regular employees during peak workloads or provide the resources for special projects to be completed?
Once the company’s objectives have been clearly articulated and there is buy-in from the organization, four basic steps should follow:
1. Create and Define the Intern Position
Planning the scope of duties and roles for interns well before they arrive will keep your program on the right path
2. Recruit and Select
Identifying the right interns for your program and for your organization leads to better outcomes
3. Develop a Comprehensive Internship Program
Providing a thorough, structured program that incorporates an orientation program and defines who will be in charge of the intern helps set the stage for success
4. Assess and Review
Concluding the internship with an overall assessment – of the intern, of the intern’s experiences, and of the program as a whole – provides the opportunity to determine if objectives have been met for all involved
Download an Employer’s Guide to Developing a Rewarding Internship Program in Real Estate Management and additional materials.