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Internship blog series: summer travel with real (estate) purpose

By Contributing Writer on November 18, 2013


Colgate students, who interned this past summer at companies such as NBCUniversal, Hukkster, Nike, and Facebook, are sharing their experiences. This post is written by Michael Kastner ’14, who spent his summer with DDR Corp.

I am currently a senior, and I spent my summer interning at DDR Corp. through the Summer on the Cuyahoga program and Colgate’s career services office.

DDR owns and manages approximately 450 retail properties in the United States, Puerto Rico, and Brazil. At the beginning of my internship, I was placed in the anchor store leasing department and learned from one of the best, most experienced leasing teams in the business.

On a daily basis, I worked with well-known retailers such as Target, Lowes, Bed Bath & Beyond, Whole Foods, Dick’s Sporting Goods, Best Buy, and TJ Maxx to increase the value of our shopping centers in markets all across the country.

The greatest aspect about working for DDR was the hands-on experience that I received. From day one, I was given tasks and responsibilities that had a direct impact on current deals and leasing opportunities for the corporation. This created a fast-paced, exciting work environment that was constantly evolving.

One of my favorite aspects of working in leasing was the frequent travel to various cities all over America. This was a key component to understanding our tenants, competition, demographics, and the overall trade areas for our shopping centers. By understanding the retailer, we could better position our assets in the market and ultimately create the most value.

In one week alone, I traveled to Orlando, Columbus, and Cincinnati to look at a few of DDR’s more recent acquisitions — the most impressive being Winter Garden Village, a 1.1 million-square-foot shopping center that lies to the west of Orlando. This purchase was a critical move in order to acquire the best-positioned power center in the city, while at the same time resulting in positive growth for DDR’s portfolio.

Witnessing what goes into multi-million dollar deals, such as Winter Garden, and contributing as an undergraduate student were tremendous experiences that I could not have found anywhere else. I am extremely fortunate to have had this opportunity.

I also had the chance to explore the many different cultural activities that Cleveland has to offer. I attended Cleveland Indians games, went behind the scenes at the Cleveland Art Museum, toured the Great Lakes Brewery, visited the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, and had several dinners with executives from some of the most powerful corporations in Ohio.

It was a fantastic experience, and I would recommend it to any underclassman at Colgate.

— Michael Kastner (Ramsey, NJ)

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