BH partners with Project Destined to provide internship opportunities to college students throughout the United States. With only an eight-week, virtual commitment, Project Destined was initially designed to give students attending Historically Black College and Universities (HBCUs) and underrepresented populations the opportunity to get involved with all aspects of real estate. With its growing popularity and benefits, Project Destined has seen substantial growth since 2016 allowing for more student populations and colleges to be reached.
Project Destined operates on three pillars –Train. Compete. Grow. BH, along with other real estate companies, are paired with a team of college students from over 70 universities nationwide. The team of student interns learns real estate on a full scale and then puts their knowledge to test in an “Apprentice-style” competition to hypothetically pitch their business deal to potential investors.
The overarching goal of Project Destined is to expose students to many areas of real estate, regardless of college major. The requirements are simple—be enrolled in college and have access to a computer and internet. In some areas of the country, high school students can participate.
Mike Watkins is a Vice President of Construction (West) at BH and he, along with other BH team members, leads Team BH’s Project Destined intern cohorts. “They are all learning about real estate, but at the same time they all have different majors,” says Mike. “Through this program, students get the realization they can use their majors like marketing or human resources within real estate. After completing the program, we have also seen some students change their majors all together to be more in line with real estate.”
BH has been partnering with Projected Destined since 2019 and has participated with three cohorts. Team BH’s Chicago division cohort was named “Project Destined World Champion” after winning the Summer 2022 World Championship. There are three rounds of competition leading up to the playoffs, and then playoffs lead to the national championship competition. Team BH delivered a 12–14-minute presentation to pitch their deal followed by a question-and-answer session that was judged by real estate professionals.
Team BH Chicago Division was mentored by Ms. Devon Bergman, Regional Construction Manager; James Fitzgerald, Senior Associate of Investor Relations; Kate Miller, Acquisition Manager; Karen Smith, Regional Vice President; Nikki Thompson, Area Vice President; and Mike Watkins. The interns and BH have been able to grow their networks through the program.
Before joining Project Destined in 2019, Sam Odutola changed his major from pre-nursing to real estate and finance. Sam’s involvement in student organizations at Georgia State University in at Atlanta and various internships cemented his interest in a real estate career.
By the time Sam was set to graduate he had already secured an asset management analyst position with a commercial real estate firm in Chicago, but there was a gap between graduating and moving to Chicago to start the position.
“Matt Darcy and I stayed connected after Project Destined,” says Sam. “We met for coffee one day and as we were discussing my plans for after graduation, I was able to apply for an internship with BH to fill the gap between graduating and moving.” Matt is a Vice President of Construction (East) and was Sam’s Team BH mentor.
BH is currently gearing up for its fourth Project Destined cohort set to begin in 2023.