How to break into REPE or IS out of undergrad?

Hi. I've been looking like crazy for a thread that talks about this, but I haven't found much information, and If I did it was pretty vague.

Context: Current Sophomore at an Ivy school. No internship experience in RE. I am involved with a few RE clubs on campus.

How do I go about getting an internship and eventually a job? My goal is to end up in either investment sales at a top brokerage, or as an acquisitions analyst at a sub-institutional REPE firm (500MM - 3 B AUM)

Is the process to just network like crazy and apply to job openings? and for those smaller REPE firms with no job openings, just indicate my interest in working with them?

Any advice is appreciated! 

Comments (7)

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  • Principal in RE - Comm

Given that we are at a point where firms aren't hiring experienced analyst/associates because of how few deals are going to be happening in the next 12-24 months, you aren't going to have much luck being a sophomore in college if you're looking for an internship...not much to do for salaried people let alone temp workers. That said, I'd reach out to alumni from your school (Ivy League should have a decently connected network) and ask if they can get a coffee or lunch to discuss their company/industry/career path etc.. Spend the next year or so just networking and trying to build as many connections as possible so that next fall-2024 spring you can get an internship before your senior year and hope for a return offer. 

During those coffee meet ups with alumni you can always mention doing unpaid internship work just to get the name of the company on your resume, but like I mentioned earlier, there's probably not a ton of work for you to do even if you did. Outside of that, your best bet is to scour a list of REPEs that you have in mind and LinkedIn postings starting next summer for 2024 internships and then either hope for an return offer or the winter of your senior year you could start looking for a full time position. I would say sooner than that, but most job listings "off-cycle" are for immediate hires and not looking for people that can't start for half a year or more. 

One last piece of advice, starting at a "high prestige" like top IS team or institutional REPE is great and more power to you if you pull it off, but once you graduate college you are going to start a (hopefully) long career that is going to be probably over 40 years or more potentially. So if your first RE job is not Blackstone or the highest producer at CBRE then don't get discouraged. You can always lateral later on, and with a looming recession and uncertainty in the RE markets its not ideal for hiring big classes of analysts out of UG when you'd also be competing with 24-30 year olds with multiple years of experience and looking for the same jobs. 

pleighboi, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Thank you for your response. I will definitely continue building my network this year and indicate my interest for an internship. 

When I look through the websites for these top brokerages like JLL, CBRE, CW, etc they don't have investment sales positions for interns available. I assume this means that their hiring process is pretty unstructured and all about connections correct?

If so, do you have any advice to separate myself from other candidates trying to "network" and best position myself for when I make the ask?

  • 1
  • Principal in RE - Comm

When I started my career I started in IS, and the internship process was a little unstructured. There is definitely a SA program for many brokerages, but there are also interns that are brought on outside of those more traditional methods based on connections. As much as REPEs are having little to do for analysts and associates to do, brokerages are having layoffs because they are based on fees for their salaries. So a paid internship at a brokerage is much less likely than 2020 when interest rates were 0 and deals were happening and record paces. 

 By using alumni you are already separating yourself from people that aren't from your school. Ivy League is also a good separator itself since it's a relatively small amount when compared to places like Ohio State, University of Texas, University of Florida, etc all have 50k+ students and there are an absurd amount of alumni from those places and much more common than Harvard, Penn, Princeton, etc.. If you want to narrow it down even more, you can look for professionals that were once in the same clubs that you're in and you'd have even more in common to stand out. If I knew of a student that reminds me of myself when I was in college they would stand out to me more than a 3.5 GPA student at a state school that applied for the same internship since there would likely be dozens of them. 

I'm assuming this goes without saying, but I'll say it likable without appearing desperate or annoying. It's great to show enthusiasm but no one wants to be hounded and that will turn people off you when you're applying down the road. By starting this early you don't need to stay in constant contact with someone and always be emailing or calling them asking to network. 

Ghost_of_Baghdad, what's your opinion? Comment below:

As a nontarget, I broke into a 10B aum REPE fund out of undergrad (easily too). Here are the 2 keys of success to break in: NETWORK & and get as many internships you can in AM, Brokerage, or smaller local repe funds. I had internships in all 3 of them which got me post-grad interviews at Eastdil, CBRE IM, PGIM and others. Also, the firms I interned at were not institutional or had names anyone on this sub may know (maybe some would for my REPE internship). Let me know if you have any questions :)

  • Analyst 1 in RE - Comm

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pleighboi, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Thanks [GilgaChecks] ! For your internships, could you speak to the amount of preparation you did before the interviews and what was actually required? I assume for most interviews (except the one that led to full-time REPE) there were not too many technical questions.

What would you say the best way to prepare for these technical questions is? I know there are a few guides online, and I also have access to the WallStreet Prep RE modeling course.

Any advice is appreciated!

Ghost_of_Baghdad, what's your opinion? Comment below:

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