Hello! My name is Joyce Zhai and I am currently a Senior studying Marketing and Finance. This quarter, I am interning for CA Ventures, LLC which is the parent company for several business units such as CA Student Living, CA Office, CA Residential, CA Retail & Hospitality, and CA Asset Services. CA Ventures was founded in 2004 as Campus Acquisitions, LLC by our CEO Thomas Scott. The company started off focused in acquiring and developing high-quality student housing and it only recently moved into other markets to become CA Ventures.
At CA Ventures, I work in the marketing department for CA Student Living as the Market Analyst Intern. Since I go to school full-time, I only work three days of the week. As the Market Analyst Intern, I mainly work on existing markets and keeping up-to-date on what our competitors are doing. Some of my counterparts work on future markets and analyzing how to break into those markets. The markets we look at involve university dormitories, student housing complexes (think 1237 West), and apartment complexes on and near campus.
My day usually begins at 9 AM in the kitchen pouring myself a cup of coffee. After I have clocked-in, I begin sorting my reports in order by markets. This is important because I have to take into consideration the time zones my markets are in. I usually start my day by focusing on the markets that belong on the East Coast and gradually move towards the Midwest and the West Coast. My main tasks as the Market Analyst Intern is to perform my weekly updates on what our competitors are doing in terms of leasing for the next year, marketing events, specials offered to their tenants, and pricing. I repeat these tasks every week for several markets. At the start of every month, I also work on my monthly updates which usually take me about a week to complete given that I also go to school full time! For my monthly updates, I also keep up-to-date on competitors in the market and what they are doing.
Seems pretty easy, right? However, the hardest part is keeping track of all of the competition in a total of eight markets and inputting all of the information I have gathered into this huge Excel file with mathematical formulas and more information you’d ever want to know about the student housing market! A lot of what I do on a daily basis is also very time sensitive which can be stressful especially if a specific market is hard to get information on.
CA Ventures, LLC is headquartered in Chicago and has about 70-90 employees. The company is rapidly growing and I often find new faces floating around the office every week since we have been hiring new staff to support the new business units. The company has not even made it to its 10th birthday and has already accomplished so much. We have properties at a lot of major universities such as University of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana, Indiana University, University of Arizona, etc. We’re also actually building a property right across from the Lewis Center in the Loop Campus which would be convenient for students to roll out of bed and cross the street for class!
I have been interning for this company for a little over a month and I can say that I’ve learned quite a bit about the real estate industry and what it’s like to work for a smaller and newer company. Previously, I’ve interned for big name companies such as Grant Thornton and Coca-Cola. It’s interesting to see how different it is to work for a big company versus a small company. CA Ventures being a smaller and newer company, I feel my work is valued higher and is depended on more than it was at a bigger company. I am constantly doing work and often times I find myself answering questions for many of the employees who are working on the same market as me. For the remaining time that I am interning for CA Ventures, I’d like to try and learn more about the whole process of developing a student housing complex instead of just focusing on analyzing markets. I’ve learned a lot so far and can’t wait to see what else is out there!