Graduating without a job offer

Looks like I will be graduating without anything lined up. I have a family connection to a large brokerage and may possibly be able to land an appraisal role there, but not going to rely on that since nothing is set in stone. Anyway, what should I be doing this summer? My plan is to:

1) Get certified in ARGUS. I know it is expensive and I know there are mixed opinions on if it is necessary, but I am coming from a non-CRE background with no prior relevant internships. I'm doing this to a) show interest and b) gain some experience. Also get certified in REFM 1-3, since I already have the courses.

2) Network heavily. Cold emails and coffee meet ups. I did not network much this semester since I'm hours away from my home city and had an intense work load; am now regretting that decision. Would love some networking advise if anyone has any.

3) Study technical interview questions. I went into an interview the other day with a SMD whom I had briefly met prior (was at his office for an ARGUS training), and was not expecting to be asked some of the technicals he threw at me. I answered them, but I could tell my answers were not as detailed as he was hoping for.

Would like to hear yalls feedback if there is anything else I am missing, or any experience with graduating without a position lined up. Also, if anyone is willing to review my resume, that'd be awesome. Thanks.

Most Helpful

Okay I’ll explain then.

1) At the analyst level, the skills required at brokerage, lending, acquisitions are basically the same. The jobs are slightly different, but as a first year there’s a lot of overlap in what you’ll be doing. Saying your skills are better aligned with acquisitions isn’t a good interview response bc even if is true, it’s barely true.

2) If you’ve never worked full time, you don’t really have a skill set yet. I might make an exception for kids who intern for entire semesters, but generally 10 weeks of experience just isn’t enough time to start talking about your “skill set” - it’s kind of cringey.

A better response would be to talk about how acquisitions is a better fit given what you want to do long term, or how it fits what you’re interested / passionate about (as an interviewer I’d prefer hearing the latter). Much better than referencing your skill set. Hope this helps in future interviews


Dude don't sweat it too much. You're just starting out not everyone lands a gig immediately out of school. You may need to start out as an intern somewhere for a little bit but work hard at it to convert to full-time.

In terms of your strategy: 1). I don't recommend focusing on Argus too much. Work on understanding how to build a basic excel model and the finance concepts before spending on Argus. Argus can be a lot of money to shell out when its not the widely used in the industry. However, maybe others can change my mind on this if they have a different experience. 2). Network heavily. Yes focus on this. You're still young enough to pull the student card even if you are graduating in a few weeks. Leverage it that way with as many coffee chats as you can. If they don't have any opportunity for you, ask for who you could talk to next. Also, make use of the phone and make calls. This doesn't mean you immediately need to call someone on the spot, but be comfortable with it. Making a follow up call to someone you sent an email to can grab their attention sooner than resending an email to go to the top of their inbox. Be ready to make your pitch when you do get on the phone with them. Consider buying the WSO networking guide, i think its only $49 but can be money well-spent for now. 3). Technicals. The degree of this can vary quite a bit. I've been through some interviews where it was entirely fit and just gauging your interest in RE, not a single technical, or only basic ones i.e. what's a cap rate, describe what NOI is. Don't neglect studying technicals but make sure you understand them the basic ones at least.

Is there something specific you're targeting or are you not sure where in real estate you want to be?

2) Network heavily. Cold emails and coffee meet ups. I did not network much this semester since I'm hours away from my home city and had an intense work load; am now regretting that decision. Would love some networking advise if anyone has any.

This is far more important than 1 and 3. You need to know 3, because a base level of knowledge is required, but if you aren't actively seeking people out you're wasting your time.

You should be aiming for 2-3 phone calls or coffees a day and reaching out to as many people (literally hundreds) as it takes to lock those down. Get a short and to the point email put together (feel free to post here so people can give you advise), find a way to personalize it, and blast it to anyone you are interested in working for.

Commercial Real Estate Developer

Always best to get a reference/ email intro to that person from someone you already know in the business. Go meet them, don't ask for a job at their company (they know you want one). If they like you and they have an opening , they'll ask you to send them your resume (may ask before you meet them) and they'll take you to the front of the line. If they don't have an opening they may send you to one of their friends... always ask who else you should talk to and ask if they mind introducing you. Never ask for a job directly, everyone knows you need one, but they want to see that you're thoughtful about how you're approaching this and you don't want to look desperate.

I always used some tailored iteration of the email below:

Dear Joe (Blow) - hope your are doing well.

I had breakfast/lunch/coffee/beers with Billy Brokedick last week and he mentioned I should reach out to you to learn more about tenant rep/ investment sales/ development/ acquisitions/whatever it is they do. I just graduated from _____ University with a degree in Generic Business Studies and had done a real estate internship at ______ Partners, and I'm taking some time to explore which area of real estate I'm looking to get into. I'm most drawn to _____(whatever field they work in) , and I'd love to grab coffee or lunch with you next week to pick your brain and learn more about your experience in _____ (their field) in XYZ city. I'm pretty wide open so just let me know if there is a time that works well for you.



I’ve been thinking about writing a thread about this the past couple of days, but figured it will get too much shit. Just came across this and felt it was a good opportunity to share this. Before I get around to this personal topic that many won’t care about, I’m now two years into acquisitions so feel free to DM me any questions you may have about your search in acquisition.

As I graduated a Midwest state school with an okay business program, I had zero job offers after working my ass off networking. I’m originally from the tri-state area so had a decent amount of connections in finance, as well as alumni.

I interned at a MM bank, think Piper, Cowen, etc. Figured I would get my return offer and have a fun relaxing senior year.Unfortunately my group traditionally gave low return offers and I did not receive one. Networked immediately and landed several first round interviews and even made it to superdays at Guggenheim, Lazard, JPM, and two MM banks.

Rejection after rejection and talking to pretty much any size IB, I had nothing by the time summer rolled around. It got to me and I really questioned if I had any solid career trajectory and what I would end up doing with my life.

Finally, I had an alum who my relationship started with entering junior year, connect me with someone in acquisitions at a firm in Texas where I am now. Could not be happier and truly enjoy my job each day.

My advice to you: While you may think now that it’s acquistions or bust, as I though with IB, open up your search and cast a wider net. I had never really thought of this as a career path and am kicking myself for my narrow-mindedness in college. While I know it’s stressful, just continue to look hard and things should work out.

Sorry to hijack your thread, but have been meaning to post about this given that it’s graduation time.

Career Advancement Opportunities

April 2024 Investment Banking

  • Jefferies & Company 02 99.4%
  • Goldman Sachs 19 98.8%
  • Harris Williams & Co. New 98.3%
  • Lazard Freres 02 97.7%
  • JPMorgan Chase 03 97.1%

Overall Employee Satisfaction

April 2024 Investment Banking

  • Harris Williams & Co. 18 99.4%
  • JPMorgan Chase 10 98.8%
  • Lazard Freres 05 98.3%
  • Morgan Stanley 07 97.7%
  • William Blair 03 97.1%

Professional Growth Opportunities

April 2024 Investment Banking

  • Lazard Freres 01 99.4%
  • Jefferies & Company 02 98.8%
  • Goldman Sachs 17 98.3%
  • Moelis & Company 07 97.7%
  • JPMorgan Chase 05 97.1%

Total Avg Compensation

April 2024 Investment Banking

  • Director/MD (5) $648
  • Vice President (19) $385
  • Associates (87) $260
  • 3rd+ Year Analyst (14) $181
  • Intern/Summer Associate (33) $170
  • 2nd Year Analyst (66) $168
  • 1st Year Analyst (205) $159
  • Intern/Summer Analyst (146) $101
16 IB Interviews Notes

“... there’s no excuse to not take advantage of the resources out there available to you. Best value for your $ are the...”


redever's picture
Betsy Massar's picture
Betsy Massar
BankonBanking's picture
Secyh62's picture
kanon's picture
GameTheory's picture
CompBanker's picture
dosk17's picture
numi's picture
Kenny_Powers_CFA's picture
From 10 rejections to 1 dream investment banking internship

“... I believe it was the single biggest reason why I ended up with an offer...”