Co-founder at Project Destined
For Cedric Bobo’s Project Destined — which brings diverse high school students and undergrads into the world of real estate — 2020 was a blessing in disguise. The worldwide shift to remote learning allowed Bobo to expand at a rapid pace, tripling his organization’s reach.
Project Destined went from teaching 300 students in its first three years since its founding in 2016, to teaching 300 students in the spring semester alone.
The apprenticeship program teaches students financing, market research, and how to acquire commercial and residential real estate properties — while paying them a stipend funded through partner companies. The program was inspired by high-school apprenticeship programs that Bobo took while studying mechanical engineering.
Bobo has global ambitions and is on track to expand the program from 10 to 25 cities in the fall, including programs in Berlin and Paris. Even before the pandemic, Bobo’s students were using online learning for areas with less public transportation, or for students with tighter schedules. Bobo expects to keep that hybrid-learning model going forward.
“If we are to change access to real estate for women, for other diverse categories, we have to do it with skill, technology and easy access to real estate training,” Bobo said. “Today, what I think we’re building will be the largest, really apprenticeship-based education platform, hopefully, in the world.”
Bobo’s students have found careers at JLL, Goldman Sachs and Brookfield, to name a few firms; and through Project Destined, firms have found talent from the organization’s 100-plus academic partners, including Howard University and the City University of New York. And Bobo believes that firms will be successful if they abandon a “sink-or-swim” mentality, in favor of committing to retaining and advancing talent.
“My mentality is that the moment you arrive in my course … I am now co-responsible for your success,” Bobo said. “If you don’t find success in real estate in an internship or job, we have failed, not you have failed.”