Written by Grace DeWitt, USC blog contributor
School may not be in session, but many USC student-athletes stayed busy this summer pursuing a variety of internships. As the start of the fall semester approaches, we'll feature some of the unique experiences several Trojans had this offseason.
Name: Julian Jacobs (pictured far left)
Sport: Men's Basketball
Internship: C.B. Richard Ellis
Grace DeWitt (GD): How did you go about getting your internship?
Julian Jacobs (JJ): My mentor at the internship, Mark Sprague, is Coach Enfield's neighbor. Last year, (former USC football player) Josh Shaw interned for Mark and was one of the only athletes there. Mark wanted to repeat taking on an athlete, so he reached out to Coach Enfield, who gave me first dibs on the chance. I felt like it was an opportunity I didn't want to pass on.
GD: What do you think it is about being an athlete that made you an appealing candidate for the internship?
JJ: I think it adds another dynamic, not necessarily specifically to C.B.R.E., but among the other interns there. Athletes are used to working in a collaborative environment, so it's easy for us to transition, even though we may not know about commercial real estate. Also, a lot of the other interns go to USC, so I think it's cool for them to see someone they cheer for to be working in the same environment as them. It's humbling for me.
GD: How did your experience speak to the concept of the Trojan Family?
JJ: It definitely did. Mark is a USC alum. I want to say almost 70% of the interns go to USC, or graduated from here.
GD: What is it about the opportunity that interested you?
JJ: The whole networking process, getting to be around a bunch of successful people. C.B.R.E. is one of the most successful corporations in the world. You have an opportunity to step outside your comfort zone, which was big for me. I wanted to see if I could learn about something I wasn't well versed in.
GD: And what did you learn?
JJ: I got to sit in on calls with my mentor and talk to some of his clients. I made a lot of phone calls and did a lot of research. It wasn't necessarily busy work, but more learning all the fundamentals of what it means to understand commercial real estate. That was pretty cool.
GD: What were some of the more unique experiences within the internship?
JJ: Every week my mentor would have me determine what, say, a 'cap rate' was. He taught me a lot of vocabulary. He would have me find out certain percentages. Even if he knew the answer, he would have me do it just to see if I understood the concept. That was pretty fun. A lot of my time was spent on the group presentations toward the end where we had a case competition among all the interns. I learned a lot about the retail market. I actually got to sit down and talk with Rick Caruso (USC, B.S. Business '80), which was pretty cool. I was lost when I got to The Grove, and Soma (Vainuku, USC FB) was actually the one who showed me to Caruso's office, so that was pretty funny. Just another testament to the Trojan Family.
GD: What was the most difficult thing about the internship?
JJ: Sitting at a computer desk for eight hours in a row. I'm used to getting up and moving all the time, so a lot of the time sitting at a desk for like eight hours a day was probably the worst part about it. But what are you gonna do? I will say this: at C.B.R.E. they have medicine balls you can sit on and a little StairMaster you can be on while you work on your computer, which was pretty sick.
GD: What did you learn at the internship that you can apply to this school year and to basketball?
JJ: One of the biggest things I learned--well, I'm still learning--is time management. That was actually one of my goals going into it, trying to manage my time a lot better than I had previously. It was definitely a huge thing that I learned from employees there, and from other interns. With [completing] the group project, it was just about managing my time, really setting up a calendar and sticking to it.
GD: If you were going to pick the three coolest things about your internship, what would they be?
JJ: Meeting with Caruso was definitely one of them. The final group presentation that we had was awesome. We had been preparing for it the entire internship, every day. It was really cool because whoever from the company that wanted to come was there. I want to say there were easily fifty people who watched my group and I present. That was probably number one. Caruso was number two. And number three? I really enjoyed my time with my mentor, interacting with him everyday.