Internship: Harborview Capital Partners
Finance major Eric Gorlechen, LCM ’16, was at his high school alumni shabbaton when he met Ephraim Kutner, CEO of a Long-Island based commercial real estate financing firm.
All it took was a stimulating conversation for Kutner to offer the LCM student a summer internship with his firm, Harborview Capital Partners. The junior, hailing from Philadelphia, had already received four other offers of summer internships from this past year’s Career Fair, but chose to accept the offer from Harborview, confident that the fast-growing firm would provide him with invaluable learning experience.
Eric entered the internship with a rudimentary understanding of finance—what he sums up as “the ABCs of loans, mortgages, and interest rates”—concepts he learned in his Investment Principles class. Originally an Accounting major, Eric credits his decision to switch to Finance to Professor Bigel’s Principles of Finance course. “I’m a big fan of Professor Bigel—he's a great educator,” he muses. “I’m applying so much of what I’ve learned from both classes.”
Now, he’s helping close multimillion dollar transactions with the team at Harborview, working directly under Senior Analyst Gershon Yarmush (himself a 2003 Lander College of Arts and Sciences alum).
A boutique commercial real estate finance firm, Harborview provides access to equity, debt, bridge and mezzanine financing for commercial, multifamily and healthcare properties. The firm also utilizes its own balance sheet along with a combined 30 years of experience and strong relationships with HUD, institutional capital providers, private equity groups, and commercial banking partners. “Harborview’s relationships is one of their biggest assets,” notes Eric.
Each morning, Gorlechen attends a team meeting in which the firm’s originators, analysts, and Director of Capital Markets discuss their extensive deal pipeline. The originators - responsible for bringing in new deals – outline the various deal specifics and provide all relevant financial information to the analysts, who conduct valuations to match up against the borrower’s loan request. “Once we look into the deal as well as its backstory, such as whether there is strong sponsorship, whether the property in question is an income-producing property, as well as evaluating its cash flow, we then select only the most promising opportunities to structure and underwrite.”
Eric’s daily tasks involve assisting Mr. Yarmush in analyzing numerous deals as well as conducting press releases upon deal closings. He has the opportunity to read through the deal specifics to understand the “ask” and observe how the team structures financing for these deals. The experience has helped him learn what it actually means to complete a transaction from start to finish.
After a thorough two months at Harborview, Eric successfully assisted Mr. Yarmush in analyzing over 250 million dollars’ worth of transactions, including financing for two multi-family complexes for $8.5 million and $21 million respectively, a retail center for $34 million, and a nursing home for $8 million.
It’s this internship, he says, that’s given him a glimpse of what running a business entails. “Mr. Kutner and all of the Harborview executives are extremely knowledgeable and, despite their busy schedules, always made time to answer any questions I had.”
When asked about his future career aspirations, Eric smiles. “Every businessman aspires to own his own firm.”
Fast Stats: Originally from Bala Cynwood, PA, Eric attended WITS beis medrash. As someone who was offered quite a number of investment internships before accepting this one, Eric has some advice for others looking: Don’t always have an agenda. “I found that quite often when you engage business executives in conversation and begin talking to them about their business right away, they’ll think you’re trying to use them. Be willing to have friendly conversations with people for the sole sake of building relationships. My internships were secured just by being genuinely interested in the other person and his or her company. That’s my strategy.”