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Commercial Development Internships

Explore opportunities to learn from the industry’s leading professionals and find a career path that’s right for you

CDUS 2021 interns tour our Brookline High School project in Brookline, MA

At Skanska, we leverage our experience to create sustainable design solutions that enhance the tenant experience, support the environment, and lay the foundation for our customers' growth.  Established in the U.S. in 2009, Skanska USA Commercial Development has created more than 10 million-square feet of sustainable office and multi-family properties in Boston, Houston, Seattle, Washington, D.C. and Los Angeles. As a developer in the U.S., Skanska has invested $3.2 billion* of equity in ground-up commercial development projects and self-finances a majority the of its projects.  Committed to sustainable & healthy building design, construction, and operations, globally, the company has set an ambitious target to achieve net-zero carbon emissions in its own operations and in the value chain by 2045, with a 50% reduction target by 2030. Since its inception, the firm has developed speculative offices for such clients as Dropbox, Qualtrics, Mullen Lowe, Bank of America, Brooks Sports, PricewaterhouseCoopers and Tommy Bahama.

Featured below are previous and current projects from the Skanska USA Commercial Development portfolio. 

CDUS Interns 2021 Q&A

What's it like to be a young professional at Skanska?
Hear from Gillian, Elizabeth, and Vedanth about what their experience has been like working with Skanska USA Commercial Development.

Gillian Richmond
Gillian Richmond

School: Virginia Tech
Major:
Real Estate and Finance
Expected Graduation:
Spring 2022
Internship Location:
Washington, DC (Arlington Office)

How did you hear about Skanska’s Commercial Development Internship Program?

I heard about the internship program from word of mouth and had the opportunity to return again this past summer.

What were your primary responsibilities?

The 44 M project, located in the NoMa neighborhood in Washington, DC, was the main priority this summer, as the team geared up to submit the construction request for information (RFI), a significant step needed to start building. Being able to be a part of this submission process is something I am both grateful for and proud of. I am taken back when I am given an assignment, such as helping to create a presentation to coincide with the RFI, and my work is actually used. This may sound silly, but to know that the work I am doing is both a learning opportunity for me but also serves a real purpose made my time this summer rewarding.

Additionally, I worked on the Scott’s Run Block C multifamily development in Tysons, VA. This is an area that I am very familiar with because I grew up in McLean. I had the opportunity to see how the team navigated through the pandemic last summer. Returning this summer, I have been able to visit the site and see the progress week by week during our safety walks with our US Building and Commercial Development team members.

I have also enjoyed working on innovation projects. The CDUS office forms teams of 3-5 and collaborates on certain topics outside of their typical day to day work. The team I worked closest with is the New Market innovation team. This group tackles research and discovery in markets that the DC team could potentially expand to. This project constantly evolved, and we ultimately created a PowerBI report that will be used to compare different markets and submarkets. In doing this, I used many platforms that I would not have otherwise used and learned how to better compile research and create a useful resource.

What’s happening in you CDUS market?

The DC CDUS market is undergoing many exciting changes. Like the rest of the country, the uncertainty of the pandemic and changing mandates have made this summer quite the rollercoaster. I was able to witness the office become much more occupied and lively as healthy, happy coworkers started to feel comfortable meeting and collaborating in-person again. I had the pleasure of interning with the DC CDUS team last summer and worked completely virtually. With that, I never met most of my coworkers in person. Being able to meet, converse, and spend time with everyone that I had spent months communicating with virtually was very special to me and I am glad that we had some time together in the office.

Additionally, there are many projects, both residential and office, at various stages in development and construction that are keeping everyone very busy. I am glad that I was able to experience the office at such a busy time and am inspired by how everyone carried themselves.

What did you learn from this internship that your college course could not teach you?

Being able to be in the office and on job sites is an experience you simply cannot get in the classroom (or, in many of our cases, a college apartment on zoom). Having the opportunity to go to Scott’s Run and learn more about the construction process is something you can only get by watching and listening on a construction site. Additionally, the chance to sit in meetings, including visits from the Senior Leadership Team, RFP presentations, and various office wide meetings is an experience that can only happen through doing it, not by reading about it. Of course, there were new skills, terms, and a plethora of facts that I learned each day. Being able to experience the office dynamic is what really sticks out when I think about what I learned.

What has been your favorite part of this internship?

My favorite part of this internship has been seeing the progress in projects from last summer. During my summer 2020 internship, I worked on the 44M and Scott’s Run projects. When I came back and was told I would be working on the same two projects, I was a little worried. I thought that things would feel redundant and, well, like I had already done this. I am sure a few of you are chuckling reading this knowing the number of hours, days, and years that you have worked on countless projects during your career. So, realizing the incredibly different stages that the projects were in one year later, I can safely say my favorite part of the summer was being able to jump back into these two projects. I had the opportunity to learn about an entirely different component of the development process. Over the past two summers I have been able to work during the design phase- both interior designer and architecture focuses, pre-construction, construction and on-site activities, and pricing/rent research.

What has been the biggest challenges you have faces at this internship? How did you overcome it?

The largest challenge I faced during this internship was, like I am sure almost everyone can relate, is changing from a virtual to in-person format and the time management that goes along with this transition. It is interesting to think that my first internship was during summer 2020 when the pandemic completely altered our lives. Between my first internship and three semesters of virtual school, I grew custom to my routine before opening my computer and starting the workday, my incredibly flexible schedule, and the ability to work on tasks at any hour of the day that worked best for me. Being in the office, I have had to learn the very trivial things about simply having a job that I haven’t worried about in the past. I realize how lucky I am to be saying this. Nonetheless, the simple habits of balancing work, family, self, etc. was a new concept to me.

What advice would you say to future interns participating in this program?

Being an intern, I come in each day ready to absorb, learn, and listen to the team discuss concepts that, frankly, can sound like a different language to me. Before starting my internship, I constantly heard the advice from people to ask questions, questions, and more questions. My advice to a future intern would be this incredibly hot take: ask questions. I often used to worry that asking questions after a meeting to clarify what was being discussed or scheduling a follow-up meeting after starting a project I thought I understood but did not, was bothersome or not something people wanted to do. After all, I thought that interning meant helping out as much as I could. If people had to constantly answer my questions and help me with tasks, how was I making their lives easier? That is when I realized that an internship is far from completing tasks and staying out of the way. In fact, it is almost the opposite. It is to learn more than what I could from my college courses and build relationships with my coworkers that will help me grow even more. I had to realize that Skanska CD would not have created an internship program if they thought that we were going to be bothersome.

If you are anything like me, you may be a little worried going into your internship. But also, if you are anything like me, you are excited for the opportunity and ready to dive into the experience. Do yourself a favor and listen to the advice that your mentors, professors, parents, and friends share with you about interning and its purpose. Help where you can help, involve yourself in as much as you can while you are here, and, you guessed it, ask questions.

Elizabeth Walton
Elizabeth Walton

School: Rice University | Jones Graduate School of Business
Major:
MBA, Real Estate Concentration
Expected Graduation:
May 2022
Internship Location:
Houston

In mid-April, one of my close friends and teammates shared the internship job posting and the hiring manager’s contact information with me. At the time, I was applying and interviewing for internship opportunities across the country and was thrilled to see that Skanska was looking for an intern in my new home state – Texas. In addition, I had been in touch with a recent Rice MBA graduate and Development Associate, Shannon Emerson, and made sure to include our connection in my cover letter.

I feel so fortunate to have joined the Skanska CD team in Houston; their primary goal, accomplished with resounding success, was to ensure I had a positive and educational experience. Thus, in 10 short weeks, I participated in every project, in all areas of development, from groundbreaking (both ceremonial and actual) and construction management to quarterly reporting and interviewing master planning architects.

Specifically, the Houston team completed the final disposition of Bank of America Tower and started construction on 1550 on the Green, a 28-story office tower in downtown Houston. In addition, West Memorial Place, a sustainable office campus in the Energy Corridor, is leasing up, and a master planning architect has been selected for the 3-acre site on the corner of Montrose Blvd and Westheimer Rd. As a member of the Houston community, I understand how vital the Montrose site is to our city’s culture. I am thrilled to have been a part of the initial design discussion and look forward to this project’s positive impact on the community.

The focus of my internship was on two projects, both related to the Montrose site: a financial modeling audit and sensitivity analysis and interview-based research on mixed-use developments across the United States. These projects were opportunities to apply what I had learned at business school and have given me confidence that I have chosen the right career path and can succeed in commercial real estate development.

My favorite part of the internship has been the weekly learning sessions. I got to know fellow interns in other markets and met Skanska’s internal leaders with whom I would not have interacted otherwise. These sessions were instrumental in educating me on everything that Skanska does while introducing me to who is working behind the scenes to make every development a success.

Over the summer, I’ve been recognized for offering my opinion and asking questions during meetings, so my advice for future interns is not to be afraid to speak up! The team hired you because they are interested in your unique perspective and additions to discussions. Also, don’t hesitate to reach out to Skanska employees and leaders across the country for a one-on-one fika (a Swedish coffee chat). Everyone is so friendly, and they all enjoy meeting the interns. Start this networking early because the summer internship experience will go by faster than you expect – I wish I had!

Vedanth Shetty
Vedanth Shetty

School: UCLA Anderson School of Management
Major:
MBA
Expected Graduation:
2022
Internship Location:
Los Angeles

How did you hear about the Skanska CD internship program?

I first learned about Skanska's commercial development arm when Clare de Briere, the EVP of Skanska CDLA (and a fellow Bruin!), gave a speaker talk to my business school, Anderson School of Management. I had the opportunity to chat with Clare on a few occasions in the subsequent weeks. I was inspired by her vision and the exciting projects she and her team were working on. A couple of months later, I came across the Skanska CD summer internship posting in a ULI newsletter. I applied for the role and was invited to interview with the team. I went through multiple interview rounds and was elated when I was accepted into the program.

What were your primary responsibilities?

My responsibilities over the summer were a mix of short, time-sensitive tasks and longer-term projects that spanned several weeks. The CDUS internship program typically paired two interns in each city, with one undergraduate and one graduate intern per office. In the LA office, I was paired with Jonathan, who recently completed his undergraduate degree, and we worked on most of our summer projects together.

Our first long-term project involved preparing a white paper on multifamily residential development policies in California and Los Angeles. The intent of preparing this paper was to help the CDLA team assess the regulatory landscape and identify key legislation related to multifamily development in Los Angeles.

We also prepared an internal market research database covering major real estate sub-markets in LA. We created a repository of maps, infographics, and comps for each sub-market. Then, we worked with the CDUS Strategy team to channel the raw data into PowerBI and create a dashboard to help the team visualize trends and draw key insights.

We are now preparing to work on an RFI (Request for Information) for an investment site. As part of this process, we are conducting market research on the site and underwriting the investment in Excel. Skanska has its own internal financial model templates. We will do a quick first-cut analysis on the site through a simplified "napkin" model before doing a deeper study in Skanska's full-fledged IC model. We will then formulate a development and market strategy for the site and prepare a presentation deck and formal RFI documents to pitch to the investment committee.

In addition to these projects, we also had the opportunity to get involved in live deals. We helped the team evaluate potential acquisition targets by conducting due diligence, researching supply and demand trends, finding comps, and underwriting.  Other projects involved attending and documenting meetings with architects, suppliers, LA City, and internal Commercial Development – US Building joint meetings. These meetings helped us stay updated with our LA developments like 9000 Wilshire and 1811 Sacramento and the LA real estate market.

What's happening in your CDUS market?

The LA real estate market is undergoing a transition on several fronts. Los Angeles currently has 2 MN sf of office space under construction out of 400 MN sf in total. The LA Metro is expanding to new regions (Skanska is working on parts of the Purple Line!), and programs like the Transit Oriented Communities (TOC) have successfully increased residential supply in locations close to major transit stops.

Also, with the adverse effects of the pandemic subsiding, Downtown LA and sub-markets like the Arts District, Financial District, and Historic Core are witnessing a revitalization, with several new developments in the pipeline. With the Warner Music Group and Spotify setting up their headquarters in the Arts District and the city's upcoming DTLA 2040 Plan set to open new avenues for development, this region is poised for positive change. Markets like the Hollywood/Wilshire Corridor and West LA are also showing promising development trends.

What did you learn from this internship that your college course could not teach you?

Through this internship, I got the opportunity to implement everything I learned in my MBA program in a live business environment. While working on case studies and financial modeling in the classroom was helpful to create a foundation of hard skills, this internship allowed me to experience the nuances of working on real projects alongside (and learning from) an incredible team.

I also got a much deeper understanding of development-related policies in California and LA. I now understand how developers think about these policies and weave the latest happenings in the regulatory landscape into their decision-making and overall strategy.

I also learned more about the history of LA real estate. As a native Angelino, my fellow intern Jonathan has a wealth of knowledge about the different neighborhoods and their developments. He was instrumental in helping me get a deeper understanding of iconic projects, and I now have a much greater appreciation of the rich history of this city.

What has been your favorite part of this internship?

There have been so many highlights to this internship that it is challenging to pick just one. From meetings with architects presenting their inspiring design proposals for an upcoming project to going on a tour of LA and then having lunch with Rob Ward, the CEO of Skanska CDUS, I have had many amazing experiences this summer.

However, my favorite part of this internship has been getting to know and working with the CDLA team. I have learned something new from every person on the team, and everyone is amiable and always willing to help. They're also a ton of fun to hang out with, as I have learned at our happy hours!

What have been the biggest challenges you have faces at this internship? How did you overcome it?

For me, the biggest challenge was task prioritization and managing the time and scope of our project deadlines.

With so many exciting projects, the summer has flown by. This internship has been an excellent opportunity to exercise my time and energy management. I used a few task management techniques like calendar time blocking and the Pomodoro technique.

Another particularly useful strategy for the larger projects was breaking them down into their components and creating a shared list of smaller tasks for Jonathan and me to divide between ourselves and keep us on track.

What advice would you give to future interns participating in this program?

Keep observing and asking questions. Be a sponge! The CDLA team is amazingly talented, and they love to help, so make the most of this opportunity to learn as much as you can. Say yes to every meeting you are invited to and take lots of notes. You are sure to have a fun and fulfilling summer!

Last updated: 1/24/2022