When I first started my journey with DePaul last September, I did not envy my fellow classmates who were continuing to work while pursuing their MBA’s. To me it did not seem possible to get the full graduate school experience while simultaneously holding a job. Yes, I was aware that this was a feat that many students accomplish every year; however, I never envisioned myself as one of those students. Fast forward to today, and it is clear that I underestimated myself at the time, as I am sure many first-year graduate students do. Since January, I have been participating in a part-time internship at Millennium Properties R/E, a boutique commercial real estate firm, and will be switching to a full-time role starting this summer. As an intern, I’ve had the opportunity to assist and shadow brokers in the company and learn about the functions of property listings. During this summer, I will transition to an associate broker, and will be responsible for showing properties and negotiating leases and sales contracts. I won’t lie – at times the work seems like a lot, especially around finals, but the experiences that I have had with both school and work thus far are something that I wouldn’t trade for anything
“To be able to find a new career that I love, and find it within my first year of school, is something that I never imagined to be possible.”
DePaul does an incredible job of giving its students the tools to not only narrow down a career path and find a job, but also to thrive in that job once you have it. The reason I wanted to pursue my MBA at DePaul in the first place was to seek out guidance in pivoting from my previous career in beverage sales. This past fall I spent a lot of time meeting with the incredibly helpful Kellstadt Career Management Center (CMC) staff to accomplish this goal. As we neared the end of our first quarter, I started to hone in on my interest in commercial real estate. The CMC staff provided me with a number of contacts within DePaul’s Real Estate Center and from there the momentum really started to pick up. Within a month of declaring my concentration in Real Estate Finance & Investment, I already had an interview for a potential internship, and within a week of that interview, I had a job offer. After the initial excitement of receiving and accepting the offer had worn off, the reality of what my next couple years might look like started to set in. I found myself reverting to the mindset that I had developed at the beginning of my DePaul journey: “This is something that other students are able to do, but not you.” I quickly realized that this could not have been further from the truth.
Since starting in my current role back in January, both teachers and fellow classmates have been supportive every step of the way when conflicts between work and school would arise. Additionally, the company that I am interning with expressed to me from the very beginning their understanding of me being a student first and an intern second. It is my understanding that this dual support shown from both school and work is a sentiment that many of my classmates, who are also full-time students with jobs, all share.
In closing, to be able to find a new career that I love, and find it within my first year of school, is something that I never imagined to be possible. Yet, if I had stuck with the original mindset I had last fall, it is something I would not have never experienced. For those first-year students who find themselves having a similar mindset, don’t be afraid to push the boundaries of your comfort zone—it could be the thing that answers the question of why you went to school in the first place.
Arthur Hailand is a first year full-time MBA student studying Real Estate & Investment, and interns at Millennium Properties R/E.