Internship at NREP

My Investment Internship experience at NREP unveiled

– Risto hollmén, Investment intern, Helsinki (SPRING 2022)


Why am I writing this blog post?

When I decided to apply for the internship program, I was lucky enough to know people who had interned with NREP prior. Their positive experiences and testimonials heavily influenced my decision to apply for the internship, and thus I would like to share my experience publicly. In this post, I will reflect on why you should apply for the internship, as well as give concrete examples of what interns get to do at NREP. I worked in the D&I (Deals and Incubation) team which is responsible for investments into various segments including office, retail, and care to name a few.

Role of interns in the investment team

During my internship, I truly felt like a full-time member of the team, and the word “intern” is almost misleading in NREP’s case as I feel I got a great deal of responsibility and ownership of my work. Even though the responsibility given felt stressful at times, there was always help and guidance available from more senior colleagues. The combination of ownership and coaching enabled a very steep learning curve into the world of real estate and private equity – neither of which I had prior experience from.

What do interns get to do in their daily work

What are the main tasks that interns get to do, you might wonder. Based on my experience, I would categorize the daily work into three main areas of work:

  1. Financial modelling of potential investments (or “underwriting” as we call it)
  2. Preparation of internal materials regarding investment opportunities
  3. Other projects and ad-hoc tasks

1. Underwriting

Investment opportunities are sourced from multiple sources – from real estate brokers, off-market property owners, and from property developers among others. When an investment opportunity is presented, NDA is signed after which we receive a more comprehensive set of sales material, usually including a presentation of the property, area, market, tenants etc. & a dataset with information on rental agreements, operating costs, planned capital expenditures and other relevant financial information.

Based on the material received, the investment team starts building an underwriting model. The purpose of the underwriting is to determine the expected returns for the investors by modelling future cashflows of the investment (by using data on contracted rents and making own assumptions on market rent levels, occupancies, capital expenditures, operating expenses and other parameters that affect the cashflows of the property). At this stage of the process, underwriting is done on a higher level to assess if the investment opportunity is worth looking into further. If it is decided to proceed with the process, a detailed underwriting is done and potentially a non-binding offer is left. In case of a winning bid, the process goes into an exclusive phase and the DD is carried out. Underwriting is updated throughout the process.

2. Internal materials

During the investment process, there are a few milestones where the investment opportunities are introduced to deciding bodies consisting of senior NREP employees and partners. Materials regarding the investment opportunity are prepared for these meetings. The most important one is the Investment Committee (“IC”) which gives approval for the investment after the DD has been carried out. Material prepared for the IC is comprehensive and gives detailed information on the opportunity, property, market etc.

3. Other projects and ad-hoc tasks

I had the opportunity to participate in a project that was outside of the investment team’s scope. Together with the CIO (Chief Investment Officer) office, we conducted a market research analysis. The market research project was a really nice addition to my internship as I got to see the operations of NREP from a totally different perspective. Additionally, interns typically get other ad-hoc tasks during the internship, though I must say there were significantly fever these types of tasks compared to many other workplaces.

Final note

To sum up my experience at NREP, I had a great time while learning a lot about real estate and private equity, and the daily tasks were interesting. With no prior experience, the internship acted as the perfect crash course into the world of real estate and private equity. Working with brilliant people from different backgrounds was fruitful and enabled a very steep learning curve during the internship.

To top it off, we had numerous events and a companywide outing in Copenhagen, where we got to spend time with people from all countries. I would 100% recommend applying for the Investment Intern position at NREP if you are interested in learning more about the real estate sector while having lots of fun!

Yours truly,

Risto Hollmén