Real Estate Lessons, Tel Aviv Style
I’m Jamie Schwartz, a junior at University of Georgia majoring in marketing and real estate. I grew up in East Cobb, and I’m headed for a career in commercial real estate. Last summer I had the amazing experience of living and working in Israel through the Hillel Onward Israel program. The program matched me with ten potential internships in Israel, all related to marketing and real estate. For two months I lived in an apartment in Tel Aviv with five other guys and was lucky to land at Daon Real Estate, a dynamic firm in Tel Aviv led by Barak Daon. I shadowed Barak on a daily basis and wrote social media blog posts for the company website about investment opportunities and the top neighborhoods in Tel Aviv. I couldn’t have had a better teacher than Barak — he combines that fast-paced Israeli energy with a keen understanding of sales. He’s also a mensch.
Living and working with Israelis is a unique experience. Everything moves quickly! I learned that many Israelis are skeptical about using a real estate agent to sell a property. They think they can do it all by themselves and you have to overcome a lot of objections to sign a client.
I learned how important army service is in Israeli culture and how it can enhance your business skills. Before becoming a real estate consultant, Barak was a captain in the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) for seven years, serving in the counter terrorism unit and the dignitary protection unit. It was good preparation for business. He also attended college in the U.S. and understood the needs of Americans making aliyah and buying apartments in Israel.
One of Barak’s projects was to launch a non-profit to help lone soldiers in Israel find housing in Tel Aviv. A lone soldier is a soldier in the IDF with no family in Israel to support him or her. They might be a new immigrant, a volunteer from abroad, an orphan, or an individual from a broken home. It’s estimated that there are over 7,000 lone soldiers currently serving in the IDF. It was very satisfying to help this get off the ground.
Telling potential employers about my Onward Israel experience is a home run! I’ve deepened my ties to Israel, and employers are so impressed by my field experience. I know it will help me move ahead in my career.
Find out more about Hillel Onward Israel here. Or contact your local campus Hillel to learn about upcoming summer opportunities.