Choosing MF (KKR / BX / APO / STWD) as a first year

Incoming at one of the above, but considering a potential lateral through a series of relationships. If you were just entering the industry, which firm would you want to join for the best career progression? I am assuming the training and caliber of each is roughly equivalent and there are macro tailwinds in a few years time. Would you rather join a leaner initiative like KKR / STWD or a more established name like BX for upward mobility? Would you want to join the debt or equity team? Any color would be great, thank you!

 

Sorry if it wasn’t clear, just to clarify, I have signed an offer! Just looking for general insight on the MF landscape to guide a potential lateral in my analyst stint.

 

I'm not sure going with a more established platforms translates to more upward mobility. Tends to be more layers regardless of how flat it is day-to-day between partner/principal/associate/analyst. 

If you're talking upward mobility by way of leaving a mega fund, not sure there's a difference with any of the above. All will create good opportunities.

 
Most Helpful

All of these platforms are ‘more established’ and ‘lean’. They will all work you tons of hours for top of market pay. Don’t worry about where you will lateral to. Focus on learning and doing. In 6-12 months time, you’ll know if this type of work environment is something you’re interested for more than 1-2 years, or not. At that point, you can figure out if and where you want to lateral. Many people like the environments of these firms. Many more hate it and stay for the pay. Most people aren’t built to work the hours they force you to work. My .02 cents - focus on seeing if it’s the right fit. 
 

Just to give you an example-I always thought I would want to work in a brand name fund. At 5-7 years in, I realized I wanted a family focused firm and was less concerned with brand. I wanted a firm large enough to provide support, but not so large that it’s got tons and tons of layers. So I pivoted to a developer. You work on less deals but get more in the weeds. Your hours are also better. So to sum this up, figure out what you like. Than worry about what’s next. I never thought I would want to be a developer. Now I’ve learned that it’s a better lifestyle, similar pay, and better way to gain an edge and hopefully go out on your own. I still work on ginormous deals people would salivate over. But I do it at a mid size development firm. 

 

Agree 1000%. Trying to plan your career path at 22 is crazy. 

Coming out of school, I thought I would do a couple of years corporate and then flip houses and work on the family's commercial portfolio. Here I am at 38, head of debt AM at a fund, and having the time of my life.

Plan some, but don't go crazy because there will be plenty of things that come your way and run all over them.

 

Agree 1000%. Trying to plan your career path at 22 is crazy. 

Coming out of school, I thought I would do a couple of years corporate and then flip houses and work on the family's commercial portfolio. Here I am at 38, head of debt AM at a fund, and having the time of my life.

Plan some, but don't go crazy because there will be plenty of things that come your way and run all over them.

When I mentor college students, I do have them create a thirty year career plan.  I think with the knowledge that things change, you have to be flexible, it is still a good exercise. 
 

I’ve worked with numerous people who came from real estate families and I think having a good idea where you want to or plan to go, has benefits for strategizing for long term and maintaining focus (which leads to gaining expertise - perception of expertise - earlier in one’s career).

Have compassion as well as ambition and you’ll go far in life. Check out my blog at MemoryVideo.com
 

My favorite thing about the job is that I get to work with so many different people across the company/industry. I'm the point person for Finance, Ops, legal, IR, insurance, and our third party vendors (servicers, outside counsel, appraisers, CIs, etc.). All very important people and aspects of a transaction that most people never even hear about because someone (like me) handles it for them. 

Right now, I'm spending quite a bit of time on workouts/modifications, which is always interesting. I'm in high yield/opportunistic debt so every solution is unique. 

 

My general and maybe ignorant opinions.

Go to Starwood if you like more “operating” real estate ie resorts.  Private company, but looks like they launched a public REIT around 2017, which generally means income focus (less operating more income generating via leases).  Don’t know which side you’ll work on or if there’s a split as an Acquisitions person.

Go to BX if you want more general exposure, particularly the four food groups, and want to work on big deals with market timing, market moving qualities.  Public to private takedowns would be stories you can tell your future grandchildren.

Go to KKR if you are interested more in the capital markets, debt/bonds.  I actually have no idea about KKR Real Estate since I never interacted with them. KKR has a great brand name.

They all work you to the bone.

Have compassion as well as ambition and you’ll go far in life. Check out my blog at MemoryVideo.com
 
FMY96

How would you classify Brookfield relative to the above? Often seems like they inexplicably get left out of the MF threads!

I’ve never interacted with them, so would only be guessing.  
 

If I were to guess, go to Brookfield if you want to work on large projects that are mixed use.  They own Stonestown Mall near my house in SF, and I’ve seen a big transformation with the addition of Whole Foods, Movie Theater, and City Sports gym to replace Macy’s.

They prob do smaller projects, but they are known for doing these mega projects.

Again, I have limited knowledge on them.  I did listen to a podcast with their CEO (Rubenstein Show).  


Brookfield Real Estate is an example of working for an up and coming company that becomes a brand name - meaning, if you want a brand name on your resume and interesting journey, you can help the firm become one of the top companies.  You don’t have to just work for the same existing brands.

Have compassion as well as ambition and you’ll go far in life. Check out my blog at MemoryVideo.com
 
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