In this “Internship Experience” blog post series, we will be featuring the profile and thoughts of our students from Syracuse University’s Martin J. Whitman School of Management as they return from summer internships.
Name: Ishan Gajra
Graduation Year: 2021
Majors: Finance / Management / Real Estate
Hometown: Syracuse, NY
Intern Company/Title: Acropolis Realty Group – Summer Intern
Describe your position and some of your daily tasks?
As a summer intern at Acropolis Realty Group, I was exposed to the intricacies of numerous fields within the greater real estate industry. I constructed models and proformas on Microsoft Excel to identify acquisition, redevelopment and incentivized development opportunities across upstate New York. I also worked with the CFO on streamlining payables, receivables and unreconciled accounts using a property management platform called AppFolio. Finally, I worked closely with our business development manager to create and manage our marketing and social media presence across multiple platforms.
How did you land your internship?
I was able to land this internship due to a relationship I established with Adjunct Instructor, Stephen Case. I had professor Case for RES 442: Real Estate Development, and it remains my favorite class of all during my time at Syracuse University. Upon completing the course in Fall 2019, Case offered me a position at his company, Acropolis Realty Group.
What did you learn from your internship experience?
Acropolis is a one-stop-shop for real estate services, engaged in residential and commercial brokerage, leasing, property management and development. As such, I was able to glean useful information about these facets within the greater real estate industry. I gained a deep understanding of mortgages, cap rates, development feasibility and tax-based incentives; particularly historic tax credits, low-income housing tax credits (LIHTC), the Supportive Housing Opportunity Program (SHOP), as well as how to use AppFolio property management software to optimize business accounts across a portfolio of properties.
Has your experience changed your plans or career choice when you leave college?
No, it has only solidified my desire to enter the real estate industry in some capacity, intending to break into development down the road.
How will your internship experience help you after graduation?
I have continued to work for Acropolis remotely throughout this semester and look forward to continuing to do so during the upcoming winter break and beyond.
How has the Whitman School prepared you for your internship?
If it were not for the Whitman School, I would have never had professor Case and likely would not have landed this role. I met one of my favorite professors, boss and a lifelong mentor through Whitman. Despite being a real estate intern, my role this summer involved putting on different hats as well. I called upon much of what I learned during my sophomore year, during Whitman’s core marketing and accounting classes to succeed.
What did you enjoy most about your experience?
The best part about my summer internship at Acropolis was that no two days were ever the same due to the dynamic nature of both the real estate and financial markets. These persistent fluctuations were only exacerbated by the unique nature of the COVID-19 pandemic. However, given that central New York curbed the virus, I experienced this entire internship in-person. Being able to walk into the beautiful new Acropolis office daily was a blessing during these circumstances. I learned very much about an industry I heavily desire to break into upon graduation and could not have asked for a better summer.
Do you have any advice to students who are looking for an internship?
The University has many resources designed to help students, and often not enough students utilize them effectively. Stay connected with your academic advisors in the Whitman Undergraduate Office, regularly check in with the Whitman Career Center for resume reviews and new opportunities, as well as build relationships with professors because you never know just how much they can help you, both inside and outside of the classroom!