When Richard Reid moved to Austin, Texas, to join Amherst’s Summer Internship Program, the first items he purchased were a bicycle and a piano keyboard. In a city that’s popular with cyclists and musicians, the Harvard student, who is pursuing a degree in Applied Mathematics and Economics, assimilated into Austin’s culture while confirming he is on the right career path as part of Amherst’s portfolio management team.
“I don’t study real estate at school, so I’m hoping to learn as much as I can about the real estate industry and see how my skillset can be best applied,” Reid explained. “I am looking forward to understanding how we optimize our portfolios to best fit the needs of our investors and residents and increase efficiencies in our own buying/selling/deal-flow process.
“I am currently working on a project to assess the fair market value of homes based on recent transaction data, after working on a project to help automate the process of predicting when homes will become fully stabilized, or rented. I feel like I’m given meaningful work that helps drive the company forward.”
Reid learned of Amherst’s Summer Internship Program through the non-profit educational and professional mentoring organization Seizing Every Opportunity (SEO), whose mission is to create a more equitable society by closing the academic and career opportunity gap for motivated young people from underserved and historically excluded communities. SEO connects college students with internship programs through long-standing relationships with companies like Amherst and provides training and support for applicants to increase their chances of success.
“In my preparation for my Amherst application process, I participated in multiple mock interviews with real estate professionals who have been in the business for 25-30 years,” Reid said. “They reviewed my resume and cover letter and helped connect me with Amherst recruiters. SEO provides a lot of training with the goal that the candidates they send to Amherst will be better prepared for the job than others.”
That foundation has been a plus for Reid, helping him navigate a new corporate environment, while working with people of all backgrounds and responsibility levels across the firm.
“During my time at Amherst, I learned about professionalism and office culture,” Reid noted. “I’ve learned that asking for help from busy coworkers and managers can be difficult, but that it is a great skill to cultivate. The work environment is open, and I feel comfortable chatting with anybody here about what they do, no matter how senior they are. If I’m struggling with a task, my team is available to help me, and they do so enthusiastically.”
“I’ve learned that working on your own side projects and interests is important, because those passion projects can lead to new insights that breed innovation and efficiency gains in the current systems.”
While portfolio management keeps Reid busy during his workday, he also makes time to connect with employees in other teams for a better understanding of the entire business – and in hopes of securing professional relationships that prove as valuable as the knowledge and skills he is gaining on the job.
“Everybody at the company has been extremely warm and welcoming! My first day as an intern was my 21st birthday, and having just moved to Texas from California, it was awesome to be able to celebrate with others,” Reid enthused. “The relationships that I’ve made at Amherst mean a lot to me. The people who I’ve met have made themselves resources to me for my future professional career development. They’ve also been amazing people to hang out with outside of work, and we’ve had a blast going out together and cultivating a sense of camaraderie among the intern class.”
“While the technology that this firm uses is indeed a factor that gives Amherst an edge, it’s really the intellect and drive of its people that sells it for me. Being around others who push you to be the best that you can be is all that an intern could ask for during a summer experience.”