First Week In Berlin

One week down! From the eclectic modern architecture to the historic remains from before WWII,  Berlin has been one of the most unique places I’ve ever been. The past week we’ve explored the diverse culture, vibrant nightlife, and historical prominence of this incredible city. Crazy to think this is where we get to live for the next 8 weeks.

This summer I will be working for Sirius Facilities, one of the leading corporate real estate agencies in Germany. I had a vague knowledge of what skills were helpful when working in real estate however after my first had a much deeper understanding of these key competencies necessary to being successful in this field.

Today was my first day at Sirius and part of the agenda was to tour different departments and teams within the company. Overall there were roughly nine different departments within the company, all of which had very specific tasks and roles. While I was aware of how these types of agencies require multiple components in order to run efficiently, only today did I really understand the importance of maintaining strong and effective communication between departments. Each department relies on information from other departments in order to complete tasks which makes communication skills essential to the proper functioning of the business. Furthermore, communication skills also play a critical role within individual departments. The company works with so much new information and data every day and in order to ensure consistency, there needs to be consistent check-ins between team members. This is essentially to ensure that everyone is on the same page and is acting accordingly to complete task in the most effective way. It is important to properly process information by attentively listening to both coworkers and the clients. You need to be able to react quickly and proactively when given specific information while understanding it fully and clearly.

            Continuing to consider the importance of accurate and consistent information, another essential skill to have is attention to detail. This type of business, along with many other types, uses computer programs daily to run business processes. One wrong piece of information, calculation, or formula can greatly throw off other information and result in minor or major errors. My first assignment was all excel based and it only reinforced how careful and attentive one must be when imputing information and formulas. Another aspect of the business that requires strong attention to detail is when considering the needs of the client and providing the right type of space for the client. A combination of attentive listening and being detail oriented is crucial to making sure the space has the qualities and correct amenities to satisfy the business purposes of the client.

            One of the most important skills, if not the most important, to have in real estate is a strong understand and awareness of the real estate market. Having up-to-date knowledge of price changes, movements and trends within this market is essential to valuations, property analyses and basically every task within a real estate agency. You need to have strong analytical skills to interpret the trends and build valid predictions for business plans. This analysis should be effective when it comes to problems solving and finding solutions.  

            Another aspect of this internship that I am lucky enough to get to experience is traveling to different sites around Berlin and other cities within Germany. While it is not required for  every employee, many people within the company are required to travel for site visits. The willingness to travel can be hard to adopt especially if you are doing so very often and have a family to care ofl. It is important to anticipate this potential lifestyle when entering a business like this. It can be very exciting but over time it can become very exhausting and overwhelming. In general, flexibility and adaptation are general habits that are important to develop. Not only with regards to traveling and changing environments but also using new technologies and programs. As technology grows and changes it’s important to keep up with that change and growth. This leaves a lot of room for advancement and opportunity for a company which will save time and money for the company. It is essential to maintaining growth and a promising future for the business.

            Last but not least is a quality that I very quickly identified in the German work culture and ideology. Punctuality and timeliness are very important in real estate. Being able to react and respond in a timely manner and meet deadlines consistently help move businesses forward. I could compare this to the punctuality of the public transportation system in Berlin. Having buses and trains arrive and leave on time has made my travels far smoother and my days much more enjoyable. I think it is safe to say that having projects done and deadlines met within any office is a sign of a productive work environment.