Successful Alumna Advises Students to Utilize Program in Real Estate Opportunities

Sydney Helms, a 2019 graduate of the Program in Real Estate at Virginia Tech, has recently accepted a position as a Research Associate for Government Solutions at Colliers International. During her time as a student, Helms interned for Colliers International in Washington DC with the Investment Sales team. She was later offered a full-time position with Colliers on the Government Solutions team.

“The biggest way the program helped prepare me for my current position was simply just providing me with a well-rounded and unique curriculum,” Helms said. “The Program exposed me to many facets of real estate such as development, brokerage, property management, and I think this is important going into the industry.”

Helms was extremely active during her time at the Program. She served as a Real Estate Ambassador, an intern with the Virginia Tech Foundation, and a teaching assistant for Financing Real Estate Projects. She also traveled to Dubai with the Program in 2019 as a part of its Study Abroad Program and completed two summer internship programs: one with Management Services Corporation in 2017 and another with Colliers International in 2018.

“All of these experiences helped get me to where I am today,” Sydney said.

In her current role, Helms and the rest of the Government Solutions team represents owners and investors of government-leased properties across the country. Helms has been tasked with database management for the team as well as conducting industry-specific research, financial analysis of transactions, and assisting brokers.

 “Although I had no prior experience with government real estate, I jumped at the opportunity to learn something new and work with some of the top brokers in DC,” Helms said.

Helms attributes her success to her willingness to take advantage of the opportunities around her—an attitude she practiced as a student and continues to practice as a professional. She urges current students to do the same:

“In the professional real estate world, networking and the connections you make are crucial. Join the real estate club, get to know your professors, attend the career fairs, and reach out the advisory board members.”,” Helms said.

Helms believes, based off her experiences with the Program, the most important piece of advice that she can offer to current students is to get involved:

“The real estate program has a lot of amazing things to offer– take advantage of them all!”