My name is Oliver Kazandjieff, and I am a current junior at Chapman University majoring in Communication Studies and minoring in Entrepreneurship. I interned at the Picerne Group during the 2023 fall semester and spring 2024 semester. Founded in 1988 by Ken Picerne, The Picerne Group is a commercial real estate development company in Newport Beach, California. More particularly, the company handles distressed debt investment, apartment acquisition & investment, apartment development, and land development. The position I held at this company was an accounting and general office intern.

I was fortunate in how I found this internship. While at the career fair last year, I spoke to several different companies. The talent acquisition manager at The Picerne Group overheard a conversation I had with another company and informed me they were looking for an intern. After speaking with the employee from The Picerne Group, I scheduled an interview the following week. Following this interview, I was informed that I did not receive the position and that they had chosen a different candidate. However, a couple of weeks later, I was contacted by the same talent acquisition manager, and she informed me that another position had opened up. With this, I accepted the position and was eager to intern with the company. Ever since then, I have enjoyed interning for The Picerne Group.

Chapman University offers various forms of opportunities to secure an internship, whether it be through Handshake, the career fair, a career advisor, etc. If I had not seized the moment and gone to the career fair, I would not have had this internship today.

Through this internship, I have gained a passion for real estate development and intend to make this my career following college. Along with gaining this passion for real estate development, I have also developed valuable skills for my job. Some of the skills I gained from this internship are file management, excel spreadsheet experience, time management skills, and self-management. My supervisor, Theresa, has provided me with these valuable skills and has taught me several critical lessons in the office space. I will take these newly learned skills to my future jobs and exercise them throughout the rest of my career.

Along with the career opportunities Chapman has provided me, I have also learned various topics in my communication classes that have applied to my internship. One class that I have found helpful in terms of preparing for my internship has been SCC 315 Influencer and Social Media Marketing with Professor Matt Prince. This class made me aware of the importance of personal branding and how this directly applies to your career. Personal branding allows you to stand out in a stack of papers and focuses on the acronym business, reputation, authenticity, network, and discipline. In the real estate industry, I have already established connections through my internship, and having a solid personal brand can positively impact one’s career. Another class that I have found helpful in preparing for my internship was COM 211, Intercultural Communication with Professor Noel McGuire. One topic that I have applied to my internship from this course has been organizational culture. Organizational culture breaks down workplace environment expectations and how to think and feel on the job. The factors that make up organizational culture include the company’s dress code, office space, mission statement, vision statement, symbol, and metaphor. By understanding a company’s organizational culture, I quickly acclimated myself to my internship environment.

My internship with The Picerne Group has been a valuable and eye-opening experience for my future career. I am thankful I took advantage of Chapman University’s opportunities and would not have wanted this experience to go differently. Moreover, networking in college is crucial to finding internships, jobs, career paths, and building your personal brand as a student. Take advantage of any opportunity at Chapman University, and you will not be sorry.

Theresa Lynn my internship site supervisor