Furthering its mission of leadership development within the seniors housing and care industry, the National Investment Center for Seniors Housing & Care (NIC) internship program pairs students in highly regarded specialized programs at top-tier universities with leading firms in the seniors housing and care industry. The goal is to attract and develop talented individuals, increase the awareness within the academic community of the unique dynamics, challenges and opportunities within the seniors housing and care industry, and provide value to participating companies, interns and universities alike.
NIC Future Leaders Council (FLC) member Justin Skiver, senior vice president of investments at Welltower, caught up with Matthew Carrus (MBA ’16) to discuss his NIC internship experiences.
FLC: What interests you about the seniors housing industry and how did you first hear about NIC internship program?
Carrus: Prior to joining the MBA program at UNC Kenan-Flagler, I worked for my family’s healthcare services company. Having grown up around the healthcare industry, I witnessed firsthand the challenges that faced our healthcare system and was intrigued by the opportunities to take part in its transformation. In my previous role I frequently interacted with stakeholders in the seniors housing industry and was compelled by the impact of real estate on their business. While searching for internships, I was surprised to come across so many opportunities in the healthcare real estate space and began to focus my efforts on seniors housing real estate positions, at which point I found NIC’s internship program.
FLC: What were your expectations for the internship and did those change once you started?
Carrus: Given my lack of prior real estate experience, it was critical for me to take a deep dive into real estate valuation. I wanted to get as much underwriting and modeling experience as possible, while getting a sense of the various stages of the acquisition process. Welltower’s internship had a customer management component that I hoped would allow me to get some exposure to the asset management side of the business. Ideally, I wanted to work on live transactions that had real impact to the organization to get a better sense of how REITs viewed the real estate investment world.
While I had many lofty goals for the summer, the one thing you realize when you begin is that you cannot control deal volume. I was pleased at how well Welltower was able to strike the right balance between creating a structured rotation and allowing me the flexibility to move throughout investment teams as interesting deals and projects arose. As a result, I was able to get both a breadth of experience across different types of transactions and get very specific on a number of investment opportunities.
FLC: What was the focus of your internship?
Carrus: As an investment and customer management intern, I focused on underwriting and asset management processes. While working with various investment teams, I took part in the analysis of investment opportunities and experienced the process from initial valuation through closing.
Particular deals that I worked on ranged from the acquisition of a three asset portfolio in Alberta, Canada, to the acquisition of a public company with 23 properties, and many more interesting and complex transactions. I also had the opportunity to conduct research projects throughout the summer that included a market share report, UK competitive landscape review and an operator coverage analysis.
FLC: What did you find most beneficial from the internship?
Carrus: My summer at Welltower provided me with a great sense of the deal process. I also gained insight into the importance of underwriting the operator and business, and creating value through relationships with best-in-class operators. I was also exposed to in-depth financial modeling, including pro-forma creation and testing assumptions through sensitivity analysis. While understanding financial returns is important, perhaps the most beneficial takeaway of my summer was the understanding that real estate can have a hugely positive impact on the healthcare system.
FLC: How do you feel your internship impacted your ability to find a new position?
Carrus: Welltower’s internship program provided me with a well-rounded experience and strong foundation in underwriting skills. In addition, Welltower’s focus on professional development through regular feedback during the internship process gave me valuable insight into my strengths and areas for improvement. Working for one of the preeminent publicly traded companies in the seniors housing space with a sophisticated investment platform gives me credibility as I seek to leverage my experiences and interest in the healthcare real estate space.
With opportunities available for both undergraduate and graduate students, the program is focused on internships within the finance and/or operations departments at some of the industry’s leading REITs, investment banks, seniors housing and care providers, management companies, consultants and industry organizations. Interested students can access the program’s website at www.nicfutureleaders.org to view specific intern opportunities as well as learn more about the host companies.
This article was republished with permission from NIC. View the original article here.