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A Unique Opportunity: IAP Externships

By: David William Roache

 

One way that the MIT MSRED program differentiates itself from other MSRED programs is the Independent Activity Period (IAP) externship. With the program typically being a one year endeavor, you may be wondering if it offers the type of real-world industry exposure that a two-year graduate program typically provides during a summer internship. Let me assure you that the opportunities not only exist, they are plentiful.

During IAP, students at MIT have the entire month of January free to pursue their own interests. Perhaps the most beneficial use of this period is an IAP externship. The Center for Real Estate, through its many industry relationships and strong alumni network, assists students in finding externship opportunities although many students search out externships through their own effort. Students this year have traveled to places such as Dubai, London, and Panama, while others, such as myself, have remained here in Boston.

1. The union Trust Building- 501 Grant Street, Pittsburg, PA

1. The union Trust Building- 501 Grant Street, Pittsburg, PA

I was fortunate enough to land at The Davis Companies for the month of January and what an experience it was. Although they are a Boston-based firm, their reach is expanding to other cities. During my first week I traveled with members of the Davis team to visit one of their recent acquisitions, the Union Trust building. At nearly 100 years old, the Flemish Gothic structure is stunning but in desperate need of capital investment. The Davis team is in the process of repositioning the structure to restore it to its original grandeur.

2. View of dome from above

2. View of dome from above

On the trip, we met with various members of the project team including local brokers. The experience was a great opportunity to observe how decisions are made first hand. We then toured the building from top to bottom including the vacant retail and office space as well as the various unique building features.  When one walks into the building from any of the building’s four entrances, you immediately gravitate to the building’s central rotunda/atrium. It is simply stunning to look up through the 8 concentric balconies above to the backlit stained glass dome. Perhaps the most memorable (and frightening) part of the tour was seeing the glass dome from the top.

3. Union Trust rotunda

3. Union Trust rotunda

This was part of the personal in-depth tour of the building I was given by the building’s staff. We toured the building’s unique features including the headhouse chapels above the building’s main roof, the private auditorium built for H.C. Frick (the building’s original owner), and the basement-level vault with its massive locking door.

In addition to this memorable trip, Stephen Davis (‘14) set up this externship opportunity to expose a student to the various disciplines of the firm. In addition to working with their development team staff, I sat in on meetings of their investment committee and completed a study of their portfolio of existing cellular installation leases.

While the educational experience at the Center for Real Estate is unparalleled, real-world experience is invaluable, and an IAP externship provides that opportunity.

4. Union Trust Vault Door

 

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