Hisaoka Fellow Interns at an Early Stage Real Estate Startup

This summer, several Smith MBA students have been interning at startups through the Hisaoka Fellowship program. Hisaoka fellows are awarded a $5,000 scholarship if they are able to secure a summer internship with venture capital or angel-funded startups and early stage companies. The Dingman Center interviewed each fellow about their experience.

Arjun Goel – Martin Development Corporation

Tell us about Martin Development Corporation. What is the company’s mission and core competencies?

Martin Development Corp is a real estate investment company focused on building a mixed-use, retail centric real estate portfolio in the District of Columbia. The company’s primary target acquisitions are located within the Eastern Core of DC (loosely defined as Connecticut Ave NW through H St NE), which contains over 2.1m SF of retail space not affiliated with a major project. The company focuses on creating an equal distribution of the following two types of retail asset classes within a target deal size of $2.0m-$25.0m:

  • Fully or partially occupied existing retail space in the established corridors of the District with existing income and immediate or future rental growth.
  • Vacant building, Raw Land or Retail condos from multifamily, office and hotel developers in the Eastern Core both for stabilizing projects and entitled but not yet completed projects.

Tell us about your responsibilities thus far at Martin Development Corporation?

My primary responsibilities include the following:

  • Financial modelling of prospective deals for investor and lender review.
  • Developing comparative market and sensitivity analyses.
  • Drafting Offering Memorandum for equity investors and lenders
  • Interfacing with respective clients & support professionals through all phases of deal life cycle.

What projects are you most looking forward to working on with Martin Development Corporation?

My primary project at MDC has been to build a flexible, mixed-use financial model that can be used to quickly import and stress test any possible scenario or set of assumptions needed to evaluate a deal. Aside from that, there are a number of deals in various stages of their life cycle that I have enjoyed working on. For example, underwriting for the gallery at Harbor Place building in Baltimore (asking price $150m).

Why did you want an internship with Martin Development Corporation?

Having made a late switch to Finance, I was looking for an internship that would help me build experience in financial analysis and modeling. I am also interested in entrepreneurship with a long-term goal of getting into Venture Capital and MDC provided the startup environment along with the networking opportunities to help me develop both fronts.

What do you hope to gain from a summer spent at Martin Development Corporation?

Contacts with investors and entrepreneurs in the DMV area, experience in financial analysis and modeling, exposure to deal negotiation and a deep understanding of the real estate business.

Have you had any cool startup/networking experiences since you’ve been at Martin Development Corporation?

Each deal we do at MDC can be viewed as an equivalent of a start-up in terms of building a case for acquisition, negotiating a deal, modelling the deal and securing financing and funding. In particular, I thought it was an excellent learning opportunity to be able to attend meetings with the company’s lawyers and attorneys to hammer out terms of the limited liability partnership between the company and its equity investors.

What has been the biggest adjustment?

Not having a background in real estate, the biggest adjustment was to learn quickly in order to simply keep up with conversations littered with industry jargon. Additionally, in terms of the work environment, it has been a completely new experience for me to work for a lean startup with a 3 person team.

HisaokaGoelPrior to starting his MBA at Smith, Arjun Goel was a Technical Project Manager at the American Institutes for Research, a non­profit organization involved in, among other things, facilitating online statewide educational assessments for K-­12 students. During his 4.5 years there, Arjun gained valuable experience managing multiple clients across different projects. At Smith, Arjun is focused on Entrepreneurial Finance and is looking to leverage his technical background to transition into venture capital with a focus on early stage technology companies.

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