Julian Solomon has had a more expansive look at the Dart organisation than many of its full-time employees.
As one of the first two William A. Dart Memorial University Scholarship recipients in 2013, Julian has had the opportunity to intern with the Dart organisation every year since 2014 during his summer breaks from school. In his first year as an intern, he split his time working on projects for Dart’s in-house legal department and with Active Capital, Dart’s retail subsidiary.
In 2015, Julian interned with Dart’s internal audit department and in 2016 he worked on a project for the human resources team. This year, he shadowed Dart Real Estate President Jackie Doak, getting a bird’s-eye view of what one of Dart’s top executives does.
This year’s internship focus came about for a simple reason: he asked.
“I made a decision earlier this year that I wanted to commit to a career in real estate,” says Julian. “I thought what would be most helpful for me was to see what the business was like from an executive level. I wanted to see what Jackie Doak did every day and learn how she approached things.”
Much of his motivation for wanting a career in real estate stems from his experiences at Camana Bay and working for Dart, Julian says.
“Watching Camana Bay grow, I became increasingly interested in planning and architecture, and, eventually, the business side of the real estate industry,” he says. “I love seeing the physical impact good development has on communities and believe the stewardship of good developers and their vision plays a drastically underrated role in a prosperous community.”
Julian wrote to Doak, laying out what he hoped to learn from this year’s internship and asking if she would allow him to “shadow” her for the summer. Doak agreed and on July 17, Julian started a seven-week internship that enabled him to experience the Dart organisation in a way that few others do. At first, it was almost overwhelming.
“The first week was very challenging,” he says, noting that he didn’t have context or background knowledge for some of what was discussed in meetings he attended with Doak, so he didn’t understand everything.”It was difficult for her to stop and explain what was happening, so I had to try and piece together myself what was happening and why the meetings were taking place.”
As he continued to shadow Doak, Julian started understanding more and was able to get the benefits he wanted from the internship.
“I got to see what she does, how she thinks and how she reacts to certain situations,” he says. “It was exactly what I was hoping to get from the experience.” Although he has learned a lot in all four of his Dart internships, he learned the most this year.
“The previous internships were more project-based,” he says. “This year the volume of information I was exposed to was much greater. It’s been a multi-faceted experience that has been both challenging and inspiring.” In addition to studying business in King’s College London, Julian completed the graduate diploma in law at BPP University Law School, but he doesn’t see himself in a legal career. However, he believes his law studies will pay dividends in a career in real estate.
“Law is so pervasive in business that a good understanding of it is going to be beneficial,” he says. Coincidentally, Doak also studied — and practiced — law before starting a career in real estate.
Julian will enter his final year of university in October, so his internship days with Dart have ended. After he graduates, he doesn’t think he will return to the Cayman Islands right away.
“I want to work overseas for a while,” he says. “When I talk to people at Dart about my career path, the advice I keep hearing is to work abroad and get as much international experience as I can.”
In the long term, Julian wants to return to the Cayman Islands to pursue his real estate career and it’s possible that his path will intersect with the Dart organisation again.
“Given my chosen career, it would seem like a good fit,” he says with a smile.