College Students Learn the Ins and Outs of Residential Property Management through Internships

To many, summertime means backyard barbecues with friends, family vacations and spending time hanging around the pool. The summer break also is when college students decide to take a break from the classroom and gain real-world job experience by participating in internships in their areas of study.

The field of Residential Property Management (RPM) is no different. Many property management companies offer internship programs to college students, so they can experience what life is like working in the industry. Sometimes, these internships can even lead to full-time jobs after graduation.

Monica Williams serves as the Manager In Training Program Manager for Weidner Apartment Homes and knows the valuable experience college students can receive from participating in a RPM internship at a company such as Weidner.

Internships are a great way for college students to “try on” property management to determine if they want an RPM career and if they want a career with Weidner, she said. For example at Weidner, interns are exposed to most operations for which a community director is responsible, allowing the student to make a more educated decision in their career choice.

Student interns fill the role of leasing consultant in which they help market the community, tour prospective residents and lease apartments. They also spend time working alongside the community director to learn about the operational tasks that must be performed each month to keep the community running smoothly and successfully.

A typical day begins at 9 a.m. with “opening the store.” Staff members spend this first hour of their day preparing the community for their customers’ arrival by ensuring that the curb appeal throughout the community is superb and that the team is fully ready to take on the day.

Once the office opens at 10 a.m., interns assist with returning phone calls and emails from residents needing assistance and from prospective residents looking for a new home. They help market the property using online sources and set up appointments to tour customers through the community. They also will begin building relationships with the residents and vendors, she said, which is one of the most exciting parts of the industry.

“In property management, no two days are the same,” Williams said. “Each intern will have different experiences and responsibilities as situations occur in their communities.”

The student is in charge of his or her own experience, she said. If the student is continually waiting to receive direction, they will not get the same experience as someone who is inquisitive, volunteers to learn and be a part of things happening around them and willing to do anything they are asked to do.

“It is crucial to be humble, to be willing to learn from any associate on their team and to demonstrate leadership qualities,” she said. “Students invited back to Weidner for our Manager In Training program are well rounded in terms of customer service, aptitude for finances and strong leadership qualities.”

Weidner is just one of the many RPM companies around the nation that offers internship programs. Some of these internships are available year-round while others may just be available during the summer months.

If you’re interested in an RPM internship, I encourage you to visit your local apartment community to ask about opportunities. You also might want to do some research on the web to identify companies offering internship programs.

Feel free to contact me if you need assistance. I can help put you in contact with representatives at property management companies looking for interns.

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