Cushman & Wakefield (C&W) has hosted a national internship program for years, providing students from across the country with the opportunity to work alongside our commercial real estate professionals in a variety of service lines. 2020 was going to be no different.
However, when the global pandemic caused us to cancel our national program at the end of March, the C&W Early in Career team decided to quickly pivot to ensure we kept any previously identified top talent engaged with us throughout the summer. We created the Virtual Exposure Program (VEP), providing mentorship, office tours, a leadership speaker series and overall exposure to the commercial real estate (CRE) industry.
As we just crossed over the mid-point of our program, we are thrilled with the progress and how it has been received by our participants. Thus far, the program has included presentations from our firm’s leaders; a tour of our Chicago headquarters through Matterport technology; and educational materials, such as a recommended reading list and a CRE Dictionary for our participants. The VEP participants have come ready to learn each week and have thoughtful questions for our speakers.
Rising senior at the University of Wisconsin, Jack Rosenthal, said, “I think the most valuable part of the VEP has been hearing from people not only across divisions but also across the country. Getting a diverse panel of speakers not only gives us a wholistic view of Cushman & Wakefield's operations but also gives the interns a more personal connection to the company.”
The intent of the program was to provide these outstanding participants with an opportunity to still have a meaningful experience with Cushman & Wakefield this summer that would help them make decisions regarding their future.
“Each part of the Virtual Exposure Program has been valuable and provided me insight into the work Cushman & Wakefield does,” said Brooke Sanders, rising sophomore at Cornell University. “The enthusiastic, passionate, and accomplished speakers have made it easy to engage and have offered beneficial advice as a young adult entering the business world that I can translate into both my academic studies and career pursuits in the future.”
We have four more weeks of programming, including a presentation from a client, a panel with our Employee Resource Group leaders and several other events we’re excited about.
“The VEP has given me phenomenal exposure to different facets in CRE,” said Max Egna, rising senior at Union College. “Although the program is virtual, I’ve been able to engage with fellow interns and C&W employees to spur meaningful and thought-provoking conversations. Not only that, but I have a phenomenal mentor for the program that has stimulated my interest in pursuing a career in this industry.”
Mission: accomplished. We’re looking forward to the second half of the program!