Jonathan Chuang's Blog

How my internship with LeaseMagnets has gone

Week 1 - First Impressions

I landed an internship at LeaseMagnets after a panicky month-long scramble for another internship after my original internship was cancelled due to COVID-19. Luckily, I discovered the Digital Summer Clinic created by Ann Arbor SPARK. After the interview with SPARK, there was a matching process for all the interviewees and local startups looking for interns. Incredibly, I was matched with LeaseMagnets - a virtual leasing consultant for apartment websites. I say incredibly because, coincidentally, both the co-founders were also current Michigan undergraduates and I already knew the CEO from a few classes we've had together. I have even eaten with him a few times at the dining hall!

After reaching out to the LeaseMagnets co-founders, I agreed to immediately start working on a project before the official start of the digital clinic. For me, this summer is about learning the most I can and getting hands-on experience has always been the best way for me to learn. I've been working on email integration for their video tours, so when potential customers finish the tour on our clients' sites, an email is immediately sent to the clients' leasing team about a new lead.

Week 2 - Beyond Work

In the digital summer clinic, we are limited to 10 hours/week of pay but I have decided that to get the most software development experience I can, to learn new digital marketing/business skills the most I can, working 30-35 hour weeks would allow me to achieve these goals.

This being said, I've discovered that the flexibility in my work schedule along with a 5-10 hour decrease from a traditional work week has been ideal. In contrast to my full-time research position last summer, I've found myself more productive and more energetic when I am working. I'm beginning work at the same time as last year, but I am working out in the afternoons and working a few hours in the evenings/weekends. The most drastic difference has been my energy levels during and after work. Last summer, I would be so tired after working 8 hours straight that I didn't have the energy to exercise or just hangout with my friends at times.

This work-life balance is definitely a priority in my future job hunts. As a software developer, I am always looking to be able to achieve more with less code - the traditional work week should be thinking the same way too.

Week 3 - How I'm 'React'ing to my Work

My first project was creating email templates & email functionality using HTML, Python (flask-mail), and Zapier. The purpose of these emails was to create a personalized message for when our video tour widget generated a new lead, a client requested a promo code, a client scheduled a tour, or a monthly performance report of our services for our clients. This was an excellent way for me to start my LeaseMagnets internship with something I was familiar with (HTML & Python) before learning a completely new language. I finished creating the email templates during my second week and finally used post requests on Zapier to integrate the emailing system.

My current project and big challenge as been creating a leads table for our web dashboard using HTML/CSS and React. To start, I created a super basic leads table by adapting a YouTube tutorial for building a todo list. After getting familiar with react terminology (props, components, methods, etc), I began to build the leads table for the dashboard using Tabler, Material Table, and Material-UI packages. And boy, am I struggling. My biggest challenge has been figuring out how to customize the packages' components and provide the functionality (filtering, sorting, etc) that I want for the table.

Hopefully only a few more hours days of Googling, StackExchange, GitHub repo issues hunting, and debugging will do the trick...

Week 4 - Some Screenshots

I'm now about 95% done with the leads table! I've been talking a lot, so I figure for this week, I would just show some pictures of the things I've made so far. (Last Update: 8/13/20)


After someone completes our TourMagnet on an apartment's site, we send an email notifying the apartment that they have a new lead, along with the lead's information from the video tour.


When someone finished the TourMagnet, they are given a discount on one of the apartment's fees. Thus, this email is sent to the lead to given them the promo code. (Featured: Cayce Cove)


Every week, we send an email to all of our clients to update them on how our Magnets have performed on their website. (Featured: Cayce Cove)


While most apartments mainly only use their existing CRM, we want to give apartment owners and their team the possibility of a more detailed table about the leads generated through our Magnets.


Thus far, we have been creating our TourMagnets (video tour) manually (client sends us videos, we make everything). However, we have been working on a dashboard in order to let the customer create everything and have full control over their TourMagnet. This upload page is the first step towards this creation process.


Throwback to my first project! For my first emailing project, I had to manually customize each company's emails. Now, we want the client to be able to have full control over the email styling & content via their dashboard.


This page allows clients to select their subscription plan for our TourMagnet & pay for it all on our dashboard!

Week 5 - Job Utopia

This experience has allowed me to really think about what I am looking for, as well as absolutely not looking for, in my next job search. I've compiled a table of the qualities I desire in my next role as well as the qualities that I need to stay away from... (Last Update: 7/28/20)

Needs Wants Absolutely Nots
Collaborative, open-minded, thought-provoking, challenging teammates ...- I work well in groups, especially when group members aren't afraid to listen to different ideas and challenge my ideas to make sure we are making the best product possible. Flexible Schedule ...- A flexible schedule this summer has worked wonders for my mental & physical health. This summer, I usually work in the morning, workout in the afternoons, and come back to work after working out. This has been great for my energy & productivity levels! Drone Work ...- Last summer, many days it felt like I was doing the same exact work as the day before. The work I was given was very static and limited my creativity. Now, I'm working in a fast paced environment where I can complete a project for a few days, and work on something completely new right after. Now, if I'm struggling on something, I can take a break from that, work on a different component, and circle back later with a fresh mind.
Breakfast ...- Working from home has changed my life...I'm now eating breakfast everyday! This has been life-changing in terms of morning productivity and energy levels for the rest of the day. My go-to this summer? Vanilla yogurt, fresh blueberries, and chia seeds along side 2-4 blueberry Eggo waffles. Structure & Organization ...- LeaseMagnets is incredibly organized for a start-up but on a day-to-day basis, my schedule could use more structure. I like staying flexible but at the same time, I always want to know the exact times for daily stand-ups, presentations, product development meetings, and so on, so I can plan my day accordingly. Sitting in Really Long Meetings ...- Granted, the occasional long (2 hr) meeting is bound to happen. However, I find myself droning out by the end of the first half-hour to an hour - if I'm sitting & not talking. In general, I think everyone would be more productive (and happy) if meetings were interactive (make sure everyone gets to voice their opinion or play!). Normalize stretching & walking around in middle of meetings!
Time for Personal Projects ...- This goes along with having a flexible schedule but I've really been enjoying applying the new skills I've learned at work into my own personal projects. Plus, I get to be the boss! Download my Chrome extension! Great Boss ...- I've loved working together with the LeaseMagnets CEO Amulya Parmar. He has been more of a guide and a peer than a demanding CEO. One thing I would like to continue in my next role is having a boss that actually gets his hands dirty and works on the software/products him/herself along with the team.

Week 6 - Personal Projects

One of the necessities I discussed last week was having time for personal projects. The great thing with this internship has been that not only do I have time to work on my personal projects, but I also have been applying the skills (mainly React) that I have been learning & using everyday at work into my own projects!

My first ever published project is my Chrome extension, QuickLinks. This extension allows quick access/copy to my most used links which saves me so much time when I'm applying to jobs because they always ask for my LinkedIn & GitHub profiles. Now this project was something I had in mind since the beginning of the summer, but the first version I made was super ugly and only I could use it. Now anyone can use it and it looks pretty decent!

Other projects that I am currently working on are a new website for my club Hoops for Hope and a website for Volunteer Tutoring who is attempting to alleviate some of the stress young kids will have due to virtual learning by matching them to volunteer tutors. Learning React has really opened up the world for me, I'm excited for what's next.

Week 7 - Finding My Voice

I've always been an introvert. In any class, even in virtual classes, when it's going to be my turn to speak next, I begin to feel nervous as my heart starts racing. I've never been one to raise my hand in class, nor one to speak up. But I have been working on this... One of my goals in life is to be a leader and to become a good public speaker; I will never consider myself to be a natural-born leader, but I know if I work hard enough, I can be a great leader.

This being said, this internship has helped me find my voice. While I am nowhere near where I want to be as a public speaker & a leader, LeaseMagnets is a place where I know my voice will be heard and valued. My coworker Brandon once said in a meeting that I am silent but deadly when I do speak up and voice my ideas. I took that to heart and began to express my opinions more often and even take the lead on a few things.

Before, like in class, I would be afraid to raise my hand because I have a fear of being wrong. However, that is just a facet of life. Now, I want to be heard. I have lots of great ideas, the world could use my voice. I'm ready for my next challenge to become a better leader & public speaker.

Week 8 - A Big Thank You to LeaseMagnets

As my internship comes to an end, I feel bittersweet. This internship has given me so much...but all good things come to an end. Upon reflection, there are 4 major aspects from this internship that I am extremely grateful for.

1. New Knowledge

Just from learning React, my programming skills grew exponentially. In addition, I got to experience a new Python package (Flask) this summer with my first emailing project. I now have a great foundation in web development & am working on some new personal projects ;)!

Beyond programming, I learned so much about digital marketing & entrepreneurship from my co-workers and, especially, the CEO & fellow Umich undergrad Amulya.

2. Network Growth

Another thing that grew exponentially this summer was my LinkedIn connections. I was able to make new friends from all of the 47 other Ann Arbor SPARK interns & my co-workers at LeaseMagnets. Moreover, about 70% of the LeaseMagnets team are all Michigan undergrads right now, so hopefully, I'll be able to see some more familiar Zoom faces on campus. Lastly, SPARK had a panel of speakers each Thursday from different professions/backgrounds, whom are all excited to help out all of the SPARK interns about networking, recruiting, working, etc.

3. Moving Out of my Comfort Zone

As mentioned in last week's blog, I really found more of my voice this summer. I want to be a great leader & a great public speaker, and this internship was a great step towards that goal. Furthermore, I matured a lot as a programmer just from the independence/creative freedom I was given. I love collaboration & having someone way smarter than me as in-person StackOverflow, but I didn't really get that anchor this summer. I had to debug almost everything on my own & go through the hours of Googling in hopes of someone having the same error as me and posted about it. But now, I am way better at knowing what to Google & working alone when necessary.

4. Learning About Myself

Before this internship, I had no work experience in the tech industry, thus I had no real idea of what it's like working in these types of environments. Now I have a better idea. In week 5's blog, I created a table of my likes & dislikes for an ideal working environment and I didn't know about half of those things about myself until now. Plus, with all the knowledge I gained this summer, I found out what this brain of mine can be capable of creating too.

Thank You for Everything LeaseMagnets

- Jonathan

January 2021 to May 2021 - The Return

After the fall '20 semester and my first taste of "Zoom University" , I wanted to take a gap semester and find a winter semester internship to gain more work experience. The constant Zooming and never-ending screen time became mentally-draining and also, I can honestly say I've learned more from my LeaseMagnets summer internship than a whole year at college. After weighing all of my options, a return to the place where my web development journey started made the most sense.

This time around was not without its roadblocks but the great things about LeaseMagnets were also still here. I felt like this time I had even more responsibility (which I loved) and my opinion, whether on design decisions or project ideas, was valued even more. Additionally, I enjoyed our monthly chats on what can be improved, on my end and also my boss's end. Obviously, I love hearing compliments about my work and the things I create, but hearing genuine constructive criticism is what will allow me to grow.

I won't be including screenshots this time, but I worked on our dashboard, our videomagnet, and a future product called "". I'm proud to say our products work way better and look way better than they did last summer! As I'm writing this, as a signoff from another great experience, I'm feeling mixed emotions of bittersweetness, joyfulness, and angst of what my next internship at Capital One will be like. If it is even 50% as invaluable as my journey at LeaseMagnets, it will be awesome. I leave LeaseMagnets with a genuine feeling that I left the place better than when I found it, and a sense of real accomplishment. I also leave knowing that I became a better web developer but also a person from working here, and hope I had the same impact on the people I worked with.

Finally, congratulations to LeaseMagnets for becoming a Y Combinator company! I'm sure we'll meet again...

me and Amulya at the office