01 Dec 2022

SEO London’s ‘Step into Real Estate Programme’ returns for its second year

  • Tristan Capital Partners, Goldman Sachs, and Eastdil Secured are joined by Blackstone and Westbrook Partners as programme sponsors 
  • Changing the level of representation of minority and under-represented groups in the real estate sector remains a priority
  • SEO London’s ‘Step into Real Estate Programme’ returns for its second year

Following the success of the inaugural ‘Step into Real Estate’ programme, UK charity Sponsors for Educational Opportunity (SEO London) is hosting the programme for a second year which seeks to level the playing field for around 200 undergraduate students from under-represented socio-economic backgrounds (SEB) in the real estate industry. Tackling under-representation of minority and under-resourced groups in the real estate sector remains a priority with just 27% of UK real estate firms reporting employees from lower socio-economic backgrounds[1].

New sponsors – Blackstone and Westbrook Capital – have joined founding sponsors Tristan Capital Partners, Goldman Sachs and Eastdil Secured, as the group looks to grow this endeavour.

The inaugural programme, launched in 2021, saw 125 students from 53 universities across the UK, France, Germany, and Italy complete the five-week course, offering unrivalled training and insights to help remove barriers to entry into the sector. This year’s SEO London Real Estate programme has built on these foundations and has grown to a year-round programme providing networking, technical training, and insights into real estate fundamentals of investing, valuation, and financing.

Nathalie Richards, CEO of SEO London, commented: “I am delighted to see over 120 talented students graduate from our inaugural SEO London Real Estate programme and to scale the programme further this year.  ‘Step into Real Estate’ is designed to educate and energise students around what a career in real estate can look like. Upon completing the programme, the graduates are incredibly excited not only by the first-class career opportunities available to them but given the changes in the ways that we live, shop, and socialise post-Covid, they want to be part of a key industry needed to support these vital societal changes.”

Ric Lewis, Founder, and Executive Chairman, at Tristan Capital Partners, said: “This programme is designed to help remove the barriers to aspiration and achievement by providing networking, insights, and resources that otherwise would be out of reach. Informing, mentoring, and supporting generations is the most potent and productive way to bring about real change and we have even higher ambitions for this year’s cohort which will support more than 200 students. SEO London is an ideal partner to create new pathways into our industry for capable young people, enabling real estate businesses to tap into a wealth of unrealised talent.”

Andy Gummer, Principal at Westbrook Partners, added: “Westbrook is delighted to partner with SEO to help give young people opportunities in the real estate sector. A diverse workforce is of great importance to us as a firm, and we look forward to having SEO support us in helping to bring bright young minds into the industry.”

The tailored introductory syllabus ‘Step into Real Estate’ educate students on the fundamentals of real estate including investing, valuation, and financing and provides coaching on how to succeed in the industry. To reenforce this learning, students will be taken on real estate asset tours, participate in Spring Weeks and be given access to Real Estate Modelling courses. Following this, SEO London will select a shortlist of recommended students for consideration for summer internship placements, shadowing programmes, and longer-term mentorship. Those selected will then be enrolled into SEO London’s pre-internship training, focused on technical training, soft skills coaching, and career mentorship.

Jim Garman, partner, and head of EMEA Alternatives and Head of Real Estate for Goldman Sachs Asset Management, added: “Making careers in real estate accessible to all is a key priority. SEO’s Real Estate programme is leading the way and we are proud to continue our support as the programme enters its second year. We are excited to continue our partnership with Tristan and Eastdil, as well as welcoming our new sponsors.”

Jim McCaffrey, senior managing director at Eastdil Secured, said: “We are excited for the next stage of our partnership with SEO London’s Real Estate programme. Our partnership with SEO London gives diverse participants the education, training, and internship opportunities that will prepare them for success in the commercial real estate industry. It also allows Eastdil Secured to deliver on our commitment to cultivate the best and brightest future leaders within the industry by recruiting, developing, and retaining talent from all backgrounds. During the initial phase of the programme, we saw the transformation of the students first-hand and are thrilled to be a part of their continued growth and success in the future.”

Farhad Karim, COO of Blackstone Europe and the Global General Counsel of Blackstone Real Estate said: “Blackstone is thrilled to join the Real Estate Programme and expand our long-standing and global partnership with SEO London. As a firm we are committed to attracting, retaining, and developing a diverse workforce which we believe is not only the right thing to do, but also makes our business and communities stronger. We look forward to leveraging the scale of our platform to break down barriers and help more young people from diverse backgrounds gain exposure to the real estate industry.”

Nathalie Richards concluded: “During the programme, our cohort of diverse students, many from economically disadvantaged backgrounds, are connected with titans of the industry. We are honoured to have such supportive and hands-on partners who have been heavily involved in the development of the programme and the syllabus, giving incredible opportunities to our students, many of whom knew nothing about the industry before starting.  SEO London is all about community and creating powerful networks amongst our students, and in this Real Estate programme we have created a professional network which will outlast their time with SEO London.


Sponsors for Educational Opportunity, Ltd. (SEO London) is a UK-registered charity delivering superior educational, training, and mentoring support to young people from underrepresented and underserved backgrounds. SEO London programming is focused on pre-professional development, career access and long-term success within elite global industries. SEO London was launched in 2000 and has subsequently delivered two decades of transformative leadership in the UK workplace diversity and inclusion segment. Today, over 14,000 diverse students and professionals are registered with SEO London, benefiting from sponsorship and engagement opportunities with over 120 blue chip firms across financial services, corporate law, consulting, technology, engineering, and corporates. Thousands of SEO London alumni currently work in global organisations; many of them holding senior leadership positions.

The ‘Real Estate’ programme offers support in a range of areas including:

  • Introduction to Real Estate
  • Senior Speaker Journeys
  • Panel of RE Professionals
  • Asset tours
  • Case Studies
  • Introduction to Valuation and Key Terms
  • Speed networking with professionals
  • Career mentorship
  • Interview Preparation.

Participants will have invaluable access to all levels from analysts to senior management to learn about the business first-hand from real estate professionals succeeding in the industry - what they do daily, what are highlights and challenges about their job, and advice on how to roadmap their route to success.

More information on Commercial Real Estate programme at: 

- Real Estate | SEO London (seo-london.org)

[1] The Bridge Group: Socio-economic diversity in the real estate sector, September 2020