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No Summer Break For These Local Real Estate Interns

Chicago Other

All across Chicago, students are moving back into their dorms and apartments for another year of academics, after a very sunny summer break. But some students got a leg up on their professional careers by trading in swim trunks for business wear and the daily grind of summer internship programs. Today we highlight what interns at four commercial real estate firms learned at the feet of those who came before them.


Draper and Kramer SVP Jane Kanan says the firm's summer internship program focuses on building and strengthening relationships, in addition to providing a great development opportunity for students. The majority of their interns come through friends and family connections, which is extremely important to Draper and Kramer as a family-owned company. The firm also hosts an intern each year from the Development School for Youth All Stars Project of Chicago, which partners young people with professionals and business leaders across the country. Draper and Kramer has supported this group for the last six years.

Jane says Draper and Kramer’s internship program varies each year based on the needs of the firm’s business units and the interns' specific interests. This year’s interns worked in acquisitions and development, residential management, accounting, and commercial finance. “It’s always our goal to give our interns access to the insights and expertise of our own employees, as well as real-world professional experiences to help prepare them for their own future career,” Jane says. 

Draper and Kramer 2016 summer interns, pictured from left: Brennan Maisch (Ann Arbor, MI, senior, University of Michigan); Taylor Howard (Canton, MI, junior, University of Toledo); Nia Lackland (Chicago, freshman, Clark Atlanta University); D.J. Laux (Hinsdale, senior, Marquette University); Ben Stefani (Willowbrook, junior, University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign); Evan Kozlowski (Carol Stream, junior, Arizona State University); Matthew Stemper (Chicago, junior, University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign); and Matt Smith (St. Charles, senior, Indiana University).


Transwestern has hired many interns over the years. In fact, the Chicago office’s very first intern, Scott Becker, is now an EVP with the company. And Adam Seidenberg, who interned last summer, was just brought on as an associate in the firm’s tenant advisory services group. This year’s crop of interns included two seniors from the University of Wisconsin–Madison and two from the University of Michigan’s Ross School of Business. They, like their predecessors, were exposed to every service line within the firm, spending anywhere from one to two weeks with each team. The interns put together mock pitches and assisted with research for real assignments, working alongside industry veterans. The benefits are twofold: the interns get a better sense of what aspects of the business they like best, and the various Transwestern groups see which students might be a long-term fit for their teams, post-graduation.

Transwestern 2016 summer interns, pictured from left: Jessica Hanson (Fargo, ND, senior, University of Wisconsin–Madison); Ross Williams (Lake Zurich, IL, senior, University of Wisconsin–Madison); Cory Brodkin (Voorhees, NJ, senior, University of Michigan, Ross School of Business); and Nicholas Warminski (St. Clair Shores, MI, senior, University of Michigan, Ross School of Business).


KTGY Architecture + Planning’s Chicago/Midwest office hosted one intern this summer. Peter Westerfield (center, seated), a senior at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, wrapped up a 12-week internship that included a trip to KTGY’s HQ in Irvine, CA. Peter says design and development have always been very exciting topics and that the coolest thing to design is something where people will live and work. “You have the opportunity not only to be part of creating something aesthetically pleasing and interesting, but to shape an experience that people will interact with and explore every day.”

Up next for Peter: spending his entire upcoming school year in Spain as a part of the Barcelona Study Abroad Program offered to architecture students during their senior year with the University of Illinois.


Renovo Financial, a private residential rehab lender, welcomed intern Natalie Taylor this summer. A junior at DePaul University, Natalie spent the summer building Renovo’s social media program. That included the launch of an interactive competition called Flip of the Week, where participants can post a photo of their rehabbed property with the hashtag #FeatureMyFlip for a shoutout on Renovo’s social media channels and a chance to receive a cash prize for their project.

“I think real estate is rewarding, and residential real estate has the versatility to be a smart business investment,” says Natalie.