An intern in the housing industry
The housing industry is like an iceberg — you can see 10% of it, but most people don’t know what’s going on beneath the surface. During my Future Housing Leaders internship at Capital One’s Commercial Bank, I peeked below the surface. And let me tell you, there’s a LOT more to the housing industry than I originally thought. It’s a surprisingly complex system with major players working on all sides to provide affordable housing for people like you and me. That’s a mouthful, but it’s also the truth. That’s right — it’s an industry with a positive impact. This blog post will be a lot about my experience as a Future Housing Leaders intern with Capital One and a little bit about what I learned during that internship.
Let’s start with my time at Capital One. I was an intern in their Multifamily Commercial Real Estate line of business on their capital markets team. The first day I came in, they had me sit in on a CMBS (commercial mortgage-backed security) trade run through a Bloomberg terminal. They talked to me about spreads, bps, and the like. If you’re lost after reading that sentence, you feel exactly how I felt. I honestly thought I had picked the wrong internship. But before I left, my boss pulled me over and made my day. He told me that he knew I didn’t know what was going on, but if I applied myself, I’d be up to speed in no time. He was right. Three weeks later, I knew the terminology and the basics of what was going on. Six weeks later, I was asking intelligent questions pushing the boundaries of what literature had taught me. And by the end of my internship, I was writing commentary on how market news, interest rates, and other companies’ trades would affect the profitability of our upcoming trades.
My experience at Capital One highlights the overarching theme within the finance industry. There is a learning curve to really understand what’s going on. However, once you do, you really start to understand the “why” of finance and its positive impact. I came out of my internship with the understanding that Capital One’s loan business only exists because the government wants to make housing more affordable. Without this internship, this fact and many others about housing would be lost to me.
Through my internship at Capital One, I was involved in the Future Housing Leaders program, which was a great resource of information for me. The program provided videos that brought together the information I needed and connected me to individuals in the program across different companies. For me, the big draw of this program is its potential to increase the pipeline for diverse talent in the housing industry. If you think about it, the demographics of homeowners across America reflects the ethnic diversity of our country. So, the companies working to help those people get loans should also reflect the same diversity. This ensures fair representation for all and will help housing firms better serve their customers.
All in all, the housing industry is an interesting place. There is a lot of information people don’t know and a significant learning curve to get up to speed, but I encourage you to learn more about it and enter it if you have the chance. Take advantage of your resources, whether it be an internship through a program like Future Housing Leaders, another internship, or your network. Take a peek below the surface and start to study the 90% of the iceberg you cannot see. However, no matter where you end up, make sure you dive into it headfirst, make mistakes, and grow. Strive for greatness.