MSRED student summer internship provides in-depth experience into the real estate development cycle
October 17, 2023 | Cambridge MA
Over the summer, Wilson Ding (MSRED ’24) completed an internship with Related at its Chicago office. His work focused in the acquisition and development, spanning from residential/affordable sector to industrial sector. Ding found the experience via diligent networking and was able to secure a Summer Associate position at the company. Related is a privately-owned real estate firm based in New York City, and it currently manages a portfolio of assets worth over $60 billion.
Ding worked with Michael Kaplan, VP, Shreya Singh, Sr. Associate, Sarah Wick, EVP, and Michael Ellch (MSRED ’11), EVP. His work involved the execution of multiple acquisition and resyndication deals within the company’s current project pipeline, as well as underwriting and assessing prospective acquisitions opportunities in the Midwest market. He was responsible for fine-tuning financial models, preparing investment memos, and facilitating TIF/JV negotiations with partners and cities. Additionally, he prepared multiple HUD funding applications to assemble the necessary capital stacks for various deals, and he contributed to business plans in response to RFPs and offerings. Through this hands-on experience, he gained a deeper understanding of the entire real estate investment cycle, spanning different stages of transactions and development.
The experience was invaluable and empowering– read about it first-hand below:
As a Summer Associate, I had the opportunity to attend several on-site construction meetings -and participate in walk-throughs of completed units. This experience allowed me to gain valuable insights into the connection between financial planning and budgeting, starting from the investment memo through to the real-time progress and changes occurring on-site. Additionally, engaging with satisfied residents highlighted the importance of delivering positive living experiences and aligning our financial investment outcomes with community well-being. These experiences deepened my understanding of the complexities and responsibilities inherent in real estate development, and I am grateful for the opportunity to contribute to our mission of creating innovative neighborhoods and supporting nurturing communities.
During my time at Related, I had the privilege of attending several inspiring site tours that offered a diverse range of perspectives on development rationale across different time periods. One particularly memorable visit was to One Bennett Park, a remarkable residential tower developed by Related Midwest in Chicago. The tour, led by Nick Millot, VP of Related Midwest, offered a captivating exploration of the project’s various stages, starting from the initial acquisition and progressing through the meticulous processes of design, development, and stabilization. Millot shared inspiring stories about the challenges and triumphs of this ambitious project, including securing land control and collaborating with the city to design the building and establish a public park for the community. He also shared insights into how the team overcame challenges in pooling financial resources during the project’s special timeline, as well as the unique lease-up experience as one of the largest residential products in Chicago market when it was delivered.
During the tour, I also learned about the ongoing redesign of the penthouse floors, which are being tailored to meet the evolving demands of the market as well as future residents. This demonstrated the adaptive nature of the development process. Along with One Bennett Park, I also learned about some other exciting ongoing development projects that the team is working on along the Chicago River, where I gained deeper understanding of the company’s vision in action as it shapes the city’s skyline and fosters remarkable urban experiences.
My career aspirations are deeply rooted in my passion for impact-driven real estate investment and development. During my internship with Related, I gained valuable insights into real estate acquisition, the environmental challenges in construction, diverse housing demands in urban areas, and the process of securing funding from multiple sources for impact-driven development. Throughout my time as an MIT/MSRED student, I have actively pursued practical real estate development experience by seizing opportunities to learn both inside and outside the classroom.
Overall, this internship represented a significant learning opportunity for me. Listening to the insights and stories behind projects like One Bennett Park enriched my understanding of how a building leaves a lasting legacy and how to measure its success. Immersed in an environment of ingenuity and innovation, this experience solidified my appreciation for the dedication and expertise required to create iconic structures that enhance the fabric of a city.
Wilson Ding is from Qingdao, CN/Madison, Wisconsin. He earned his bachelor’s degree from the University of Wisconsin-Madison with dual majors in Finance, Investment, & Banking and Real Estate, along with a certificate in Mathematics. Notably, he was selected as a candidate for the Applied Equity Market Research program, a highly competitive practitioner-taught initiative focused on various aspects of investment management, including business model analysis, valuation approaches, market research, due diligence, field research, and the preparation of professional-level equity investments.