In 2021 CBRE Investment Management entered into a partnership for the first time with ELBA Eagles as part of their commitment to increasing social mobility within the real estate industry. Mehrab (pictured above, right) was one of three individuals recruited to undertake a 6 month internship, this is his story.
He was placed in the residential investment strategy team, where he undertook his internship before moving into a full-time role. It is always an absolute success when one of our Eagles has their placement extended or, even better, are taken on as a full-time employee – this is of course the ultimate aim of the programme.
We are grateful that Mehrab was willing to write about his experience for us:
Background and application process:
I attended Queen Mary, University of London, studying a degree in Economics and had been lost about what I wanted to do for a career. My experience was limited to a string of part-time jobs and any ‘professional work experience’ revolved around a few consulting programmes and workshops that I had undertaken, so naturally I felt inclined to apply to consulting jobs post-graduation. I thought that this was what I wanted to do for a career however I soon realised that my heart wasn’t in it and I was only applying to these jobs as I had the relevant work experience. I had always been interested in investment and finance but didn’t know what stream of investment I wanted to go into. Luckily for me, ELBA had been advertising an internship with CBRE Investment Management (IM) which invests in real estate and, through this, I had researched real-estate investment. I found that I was intrigued so I gave the application a shot and luckily (through quite a strenuous process) I managed to land the internship and I couldn’t be happier with my placement!
I’m currently working with the residential investment strategy team which invests in social and affordable housing to provide homes to those who are unable to rent at open market rates. Along with this, the fund also invests in keyworker and temporary accommodation to support frontline workers and to address homelessness in the UK.
My main role in the fund is to analyse potential investments/schemes and decide whether they work for the fund from a return’s perspective but also a social impact perspective (e.g. would the scheme be affordable given incomes in the area, is there a need for the scheme in the local area, does the scheme meet the fund’s social impact pillars).
The type of work I’m doing has been integral in my decision to stay on with CBRE IM, working in residential investment strategy, as I believe we’re truly helping those in need of support and the fund is making huge strides in addressing the lack of affordable housing in the UK given that hundreds of thousands of people have been on housing waiting lists for several years.
Overall, the internship experience has been amazing and I couldn’t be happier to stay on and continue working with both CBRE IM and the AHF. I’m looking forward to taking on more responsibility and building my learning as there is still so much more for me to learn which I am truly excited about.
Advice to others
My advice to those who are going through the application process is to seek out what you actually want to do and prioritise applications in your desired route. Don’t feel as if you are pigeonholed into going into careers where you have the relevant work experience rather than in areas which you’re passionate about, as you’ll find that the application process becomes a chore and, inevitably, the work stream that you go into will become a chore as well. Pursuing what you’re passionate about will allow you to narrow your focus and will make this process a lot easier. When you eventually land a role, the hope is that you will wake up and want to go to work rather than seeing your job as something you’re forced to do. Follow your passion and stay disciplined!