A 12-month traineeship provided a thorough introduction to BNP Paribas REIM for Junior Real Estate Transaction Manager, Raphael Renkert. He looks back on how he came to be accepted on the programme and what he learnt.
How did you first come into contact with BNP Paribas Real Estate Investment Management Germany GmbH ?
Before I started at BNP Paribas Real Estate Investment Management Germany GmbH I studied business administration, working both as an apprentice and a working student at a large German pension fund that is cooperating with BNP Paribas REIM Germany GmBH.
Due to the cooperation between the fund and BNP Paribas Real Estate Investment Management Germany GmbH, I knew the company very well and I was always impressed by the quality of the work they delivered.
Because of my work, I was in contact with many other Investment Managers, so I was able to assess their work and see that the working quality of BNP Paribas Real Estate Investment Management Germany GmbH was outstanding compared to the other Investment Managers.
How did you hear about the position at BNP Paribas Real Estate Investment Management Germany GmbH?
I was looking at different job adverts for Investment Managers to see what jobs were normally offered in the sector, when I suddenly saw an announcement for a trainee programme for BNP Paribas Real Estate Investment Management Germany GmbH .
Initially my plan was to send applications to different companies later, but I decided to seize this opportunity because it was exactly what I wanted to do after finishing my studies.
Why did you want to join the trainee programme?
I really wanted to switch from the investor side to Investment Management side. I thought; okay I've been working for the pension fund for eight-and-a-half years so it's time to discover new things and learn new skills.
The trainee programme directly appealed to me as it offered the opportunity to gain an insight into six different departments, allowing me to gain basic knowledge of the Investment Management side, so that I could build directly on that.
It was also very important for me to work in an international environment like BNP Paribas Real Estate Investment Management Germany GmbH , to have the opportunity to get to know new people and working styles.
Why do you think the position was offered to you?
I think one of the main reasons was the work experience I already had from my apprenticeship, which is a really big advantage here in Germany. And I think I made a good first impression as well, because I already knew a lot about the company through my previous job.
What department were you working in when you started?
At the very beginning I started in the Customer and Fund Relations Department. The head of this unit was also my mentor on the trainee programme, so she was able to take good care of me during my induction phase. It was very useful to have a contact person during my first period with the company.
What kind of things were you tasked with doing?
When I first started I was really focused on one big project – the annual client meeting. I was involved in the organisation of the whole event. It was a nice start because it put me in contact with a lot of people within the company as well as some institutional clients.
More generally, I had a great variety of tasks because I changed departments every one to two months. There were lots of daily tasks as well as special projects, so a really good mix.
What opportunities were you given?
I was responsible for many small-to-medium-sized projects. For example, when I was in the Research Department I was given the opportunity to create a new research database that it is still being used today and has since been further developed. And in Portfolio Management I was able to create a tool for budgeting all the properties of a fund. This tool is also still used and I'm very proud of the results that came out of it.
In general the good thing was that I had the opportunity in each department to introduce my own ideas and start my own projects. So when I saw there was something not working the way it should, I could develop ideas for solving the problem. I also gained an understanding of how different departments work and how they need to work together.
At the end of the trainee programme I went to the headquarters in Paris for two weeks, to meet my French colleagues and work with them. I got to know a lot of different colleagues and I'm really happy that I’m still in contact with them. It was good to understand how they work and has been a really valuable experience for me.
The trainee programme directly appealed to me as it offered the opportunity to gain an insight into six different departments, allowing me to gain basic knowledge of the investment management side that I could build on.
What were the most important/valuable things you learnt?
I think there's never been a period in my life where I’ve learnt more than in these 12 months.
Besides all the knowledge I’ve gained, I’ve learnt a lot about working together in a highly professional team. And by seeing many new areas of the real estate business, I was able to gather a very large amount of new knowledge in a very short time.
Also, I'd previously only worked at a national level. The international cooperation within the group was a completely new experience for me. I learnt how to work with colleagues from different countries regardless of different cultures, languages and nationalities. For me the international exchange is very important and will become even more important in the future.
How has your role now changed?
During my training, I essentially took care of more administrative tasks, like the registration of incoming offers from brokers, creating reports etc. Since I've been employed as a Junior Transaction Manager, the focus of my work is more on supporting colleagues in their transactions and successively taking over my own areas of responsibility.
In the future, it’s planned that I will take responsibility for my own transactions, and will have my own area of responsibility – markets where I need to connect with brokers, project developers and so on.
Can you tell us about a particularly noteworthy moment during your time at BNP Paribas Real Estate Investment Management Germany GmbH ?
Last year in the summer we had a staff outing with the whole company and went on a raft on the Isar, the river that flows through Munich.
We had a lot of fun, laughed a great deal and really celebrated. The best thing was having the opportunity to interact with colleagues that you would not otherwise be in contact with. So I think the whole team was able to grow even closer.
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