How did you get promoted?

I'm about 10 years into my career but I keep getting stuck as a generalist Excel monkey. What advice do y'all have about moving up the corporate ladder? Particularly on the acquisitions side.

Comments (8)

pudding, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Are you a senior associate? Why not either (1) ask for the promotion, (2) recruit for a new job and go for a higher title. 

How long have you been in your role? Have you ever been promoted before? Have you asked for it? Has the firm indicated they are willing to promote you? Sometimes you need to jump around to get the promotion. 

weaksaus, what's your opinion? Comment below:

That's way too long to be in a generalist role, not that being a generalist is bad but you should have more responsibilities than what I am imagine an "excel monkey" has. I would either start/keep asking for more responsibility or look to move to another shop. You should be at a minimum director level with that much time in the business 

CREsyndication, what's your opinion? Comment below:

If your on the acquisitions side, I would start getting close to your clients. Not the brokers pitching the deals, but the owners of them. If they are larger shops, it's good to perform by successfully acquiring their deal, then strike up a dialogue. Maybe ask one of their Directors or VPs out for coffee to learn more about their plans and targets. I know this isn't the only way but it did work for me. And I didn't even come close to having all the Ivy League credentials

CRE, what's your opinion? Comment below:

At this point you probably need to work on your resume and find a different company. 

Hell, 5 years ago you probably just needed to work on your resume and find a different company. 

No time like the present. 

Commercial Real Estate Developer

  • Works at Bank of America Merrill Lynch
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dan_yo23, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Not in RE, but I've taken the approach of "up or out"- My goal has been to follow the schedule of 2-3yrs as an analyst, 2-3 yrs as a SFA, 5-7 years as a manager. If my current company is actively making plans to promote me or groom me for the next role, I'll give them an extra time (up to judgement), but generally I look to jump if the promo isn't coming on schedule.

This is, of course, assuming that I am doing my best to learn as much as possible, am asking for more responsibility, am signaling to my company what I am looking for as a next step. With all that said, I didn't tolerate 2-3 year delays in the early roles of my career. Here's why:

1) Early roles are more about data mining, later roles are more about leadership, decision making, strategy, network, executive presence, etc. While you do need a foundation in data, anything more than a few years has heavily diminishing returns. The earlier you can pivot to the higher level responsibilities that you will use through the rest of your career, the better.

2) Rockstar status is real. If you can stay on the early end of the year requirement in each role, people assume you are more competent and treat you as such. You start hitting certain inevitabilities- if you're a young SFA, being a manager is nearly inevitable. If you're a young manager, hitting director is nearly inevitable. If you're a young director, hitting VP is nearly inevitable. Your career starts to snowball. On the other hand, if you sit as an analyst for 2 years, then analyst II for 3 years, then SFA for 5 years.. then a token "lead/principal analyst" role for 4 years... you lose steam, arent seen as a young talent, high performer, etc. It's best to accelerate through the analyst/individual contributor years as quick as possible.

3) "Fake it til you make it" is real. I recently had the opportunity to be the acting director in my department for a few months. It totally elevated my thinking and performance just to suddenly have to operate at that level. I saw the company differently, owned my work product and tasks differently. It made me realize that the best way to perform at the next level is to be at the next level. Jump before you're fully ready. Jump before you're totally comfortable. Often times this means jumping companies, since companies have a hard time seeing a current employee through the lens of the next level. As a side note- after getting the chance to stand in and lead my department, I was told that I'm being groomed for that role over the next year or so.

4) Eventually you'll find a company that is ok with promoting young talent, where the timing is right to advance you, where the work is interesting and draws out the best in you. If you don't have that at the current company, it's likely you should jump.

Obviously, you shouldn't be jumping every 6 months- you need to be balanced so that you don't start looking like a flight risk.. but on average, people jump far less than they should.

  • Associate 2 in RE - Comm

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