The summer of 2020 has been filled with twists and turns for everyone, particularly college students and prospective employers. But while many organizations that traditionally host in-office internship programs have had to cancel their plans due to COVID-19, some are making lemonade out of lemons for their would-be interns. One amazing example is global commercial real estate company Cushman & Wakefield, which creatively pivoted to create an all-remote “Virtual Exposure Program” for its formerly planned internship class.
The Virtual Exposure Program
The V.E.P. has multiple facets that help expose participants to the commercial real estate industry and company culture.
- Speaker Series — Once or twice per week, a member of C&W’s national leadership speaks to participants about their career trajectory; how they got to their current position, their particular service line, and the day-to-day details of what they do.
- Mentorship — Participants were each paired with an enthusiastic representative from the company’s Cushman & Wakefield Future Leaders employee resource group, which is comprised of employees who’ve been working in the industry for seven years or less. These representatives serve as mentors to their participant matches, answering their questions and offering their mentee a deeper understanding of C&W's business and culture. Because they’re new to the industry, the mentors can also provide relevant insights about the transition from college to the professional world, and into commercial real estate in particular.
- Resources — Cushman & Wakefield also provides its Virtual Exposure Program participants with several resources, such as a commercial real estate glossary, to help them develop as professionals and feel equipped to pursue their future careers. Another of these resources, which Cushman & Wakefield was kind enough to share with us as well as its V.E.P. participants, is a reading list filled with books recommended by leadership.
Cushman & Wakefield’s summer reading list
You can create your own mini exposure program by tackling Cushman & Wakefield’s recommended reading list this summer — whether you aspire to enter the world of commercial real estate or not, these eight books can help you grow as a person and future professional. Some, like Angela Duckworth’s Grit, even appear in Handshake’s own employee-stocked Learning Library. Happy summer reading!
The Challenger Sale by Matthew Dixon & Brent Adamson
If you’re considering a future in sales, this read is for you. This book focuses on how to challenge customers and achieve consistent results.
Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance by Angela Duckworth
Rooted in psychological research on success and inspiring stories of perseverance, this book purports that, above all others, characteristics like passion, tenacity, and steadfastness consistently lead to worthwhile (and sustainable) achievement. As the description so nicely puts it: “Grit is a book about what goes through your head when you fall down, and how that—not talent or luck—makes all the difference.”
Start With Why by Simon Sinek
This book, inspired by the #3 most popular TED Talk of all time, is a consistent bestseller. It suggests that the common thread between history’s most influential people and organizations is a simple one: they all started with “why.”
Digital Minimalism by Cal Newport
If you find yourself feeling overwhelmed by all of the screens, social platforms, and demands on your attention, consider picking up this book about how to “live a focused life in an increasingly noisy world.”
How To Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie
Written in 1998, this book is something of a classic in the world of business bestsellers, which focuses on… well, exactly what the title promises.
Good to Great by Jim Collins
Focused more on organizational success than on any one personal trajectory, this study explores how to take a company from average, or “good,” to long-term success.
Spin Selling by Nick Rackham
Another great read for aspiring salespeople, this book evaluates tried-and-true sales techniques and gives radical, yet research-backed, ideas for improvement.
This title is obviously quite specific to commercial real estate, so consider picking it up if you’re interested in the industry for your future career.