Advice for breaking into multi family development role out of college.

I am a current undergrad graduating in May with a major in Real Estate. I have internship experience at a large / notable multi family developer. Offer to return is basically on a needs basis and that conversation likely wont happen until end of Q4 2023. Looking for any advice on how to hedge by applying to other developers.

More specifically most of my mentors and professionals I ask for advice always recommend not starting in development. The consensus seems that is is more beneficial to start in acquisitions and then make the move after 3-5 years. Given the current pace of deal flow and my timing into the Job market (summer of 2024) this does not seem a logical place to start to me. I also have a passion for mutli-family development and know this is what I want to do. 

Looking for opinions on this and how else I can distinguish myself as worth the hire to a large / notable multi family developer?

Most Helpful

I don't agree with the people telling you to not start in development if development is your end goal. I didn't start in development and all that means is I spent two years not learning development. It's something you have to do, be a part of, and be around to fully absorb. 

My best advice is to bust your ass and be the best intern you possibly can be so you get the return offer. Talk to your superiors. Find a non-cringe way to bring up that you really want to continue to work where you are. It is brutal out there right now in multi and will likely be brutal for the next 12-18 months, so that means for the next 6-12 months it's going to be very difficult to get hired, especially as an entry level employee who, no offense, adds negative value at first. 

If you can't find a job in multi development, then I think it makes sense to find a development-adjacent job in multifamily such as acquisitions or asset management. I would definitely not start that way though. If you swing for the fences, you might strike out, but you also might hit it out of the park. If you're only trying to put the ball in play... 

Commercial Real Estate Developer

I might be wrong, but prob not much you can do since you have no leverage (unless you can bring in a really good deal to them or have connections to raise debt/equity for them esp in this market, but both of these are prob very unlikely from a college student). They are hiring on a need basis, so no matter how great of an analyst you are, if there is no work for you to do, then there is no need for you. My advice is to go get other offers, not only will that give you some leverage on the multifamily dev shop, but more importantly, should you not receive an offer, you have alternatives. As for starting off elsewhere first, I agree and disagree. If you want to do multifamily development and you get an offer at a dev shop to do that...then take it...makes no sense to reject that offer and work in acquisitions just to apply for multifamily development later. However, if you are not given a offer, acquisitions/investment sales is a great place to start before going into development in general. It's more so that developers tend to want to hire candidates with at least 1 year of experience in real estate rather than development being a less optimal place to start. At my last job at a large institutional developer, one of the dev associates was straight out of UG and absolutely killed it there. He's since lateraled to another well respected REPE/development shop


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