Just graduated and don’t have a job?

I just graduated on Saturday. I have a few offers, but haven’t accepted any of them since I am not incredibly crazy about any one of them in particular. They range from investment consulting to corporate finance.

I want to break into real estate and I have applied to a handful of firms (~40) in varying roles. I haven’t had any luck, since I don’t have much experience.

There are 3 opportunities I am considering and have connections in each. I understand real estate moves slow and these are all huge firms.

At this point should I just sign an offer at a F500 - corporate finance group and try to make into real estate later? Under this arrangement, work for me won’t start until July 1. For now, I’m preparing for the CFA L2 exam.

Is there any hope to get one of the 3 RE opportunities or break in later?

I know it’s not a great situation, but how bad is it to start off in corporate finance at F500 as an FP&A Financial Analyst? Given that I’ve got another month I’ll likely pass the second CFA exam.

 

Not MonopolyMoney but I can handle your question:

Out of undergrad your GPA is just your foot in the door. It is usually used as the first screener by employers to filter out the pool of resumes they receive. Assuming you qualify past this first requirement, the next most (and really only) important factor is your related experience.

Since you have limited experience I would recommend exploring summer internship options. Utilize your personal connections where possible and be willing to work for a smaller salary and/or on a temporary basis, assuming you can afford it.

As far as corporate finance versus real estate, many of the concepts you will learn in your CFA and corporate finance positions will be applicable to real estate but in a limited fashion. Real estate has very specific jargon, metrics and nuances which set it apart from the other asset classes. As such, be forewarned that the more your experience and background is in commercial real estate the more difficult it will be to transition back to a traditional finance role.

 

In my experience they don't care about any of that - more personality and fit based. Obviously they'll take 30 seconds to skim your resume and gauge if you're intelligent/self starting or not, but no gold stars are awarded after that. Just show a passion for RE and interest in their types of projects/business model and an eagerness to learn - you'll do just fine man.

 

Sign the offer of finance corporate and till July enrol yourself in any online real estate course or in home staging training so that you have some experience in hand before moving in the practical world.

 

if you want to do CRE, i would say wait!! i saw a posting for tishman in NYC and startwood in DC.

CRE folks can be jerks about giving you a chance once you go into corporate finance. i left real estate during the recession after 4 years, moved to corporate banking before going to a top tier MBA program. figured it would be easy to land in CRE acquisitions and it was a challenge! my school only had 2 firms recruit. i am now at the end of my second year in a corporate finance role at one of largest tech firms. I HATE IT SO DAMN MUCH and i am contemplating taking a 30K pay cut at a boutique real estate PE shop.

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Care to elaborate on your experience in tech corp fin? My general impression was that work-life balance can be cushy and exit opps are decent

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at the big tech firms, think amazon, facebook, microsoft, google... you are only seeing revenue, cogs or op ex. basically data analytics with a lot of rhythm of business stuff (i have to be at the office every month between the 2nd and 7th) to discuss YoY, variance to budget, etc and then also build new forecast of expectations which leaves me stuck at the office through mid-month. it's a mind numbing job and i regret doing tech finance.

the best advice i received recently was to join the core competency of the firm you want to work at. if you want ot do real estate, don't do corporate real estate at a firm because you are seen as back office and it's not their core competency. you will make a decent living but you won't enjoy it as much. if you want to work in real estate, go and do acquisitions, development, brokerage, capital raising or asset management. don't do bullshit back office finance for a real estate firm if you want to work in finance.

finance at a tech firm is not the core focus. you are back office with limited upside to move to senior roles unless you put in YEARS!!!

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I can't speak to becoming Argus certified, but it IS the best RE modeling program. In particular, learn how to use Argus Enterprise and maybe Developer.

The largest issue with Argus is that the dev team always puts out new versions and it sometimes makes it very difficult to view old models that were created on a older version.

 

BIWS is a good modeling course to go through. It has several cases that are catered by several lessons walking you through how to analyze a property. There are also shorter cases that can help prepare for any modeling tests that could occur during interviews.

There are some old/current discussions on this forum about modeling courses to consider.

 

As far as the job thing, your situation is tough and one that many of us have faced. I think some of it comes down to your personality and personal situation. For me I would have hedged and gone with the corporate finance role and worked on my RE creds on the side, looking to make a move after a year or so (one reason because my parents kicked me out within 2 months of college graduation--I HAD to work). The thing is, the absolute worst thing for your career is unemployment. You want to make yourself undesirable to a prospective employer (including real estate)? Be unemployed.

On the other hand, if you REALLY want to do real estate yesterday and you can afford being unemployed for a few more months then you can go all-in on the real estate search. If things don't work out within a few months you could end up SOL--no job offers anywhere, not even in corporate finance. But you'll know better than I would how good you are at interviewing and how good your resume looks.

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real estate folks are not forgiving!! to give more context, spent 4 years in acquisitions and development. during the recession, left real estate for corporate banking due to bankrupt developer. before going to business school, i had an offer from a boutique sponsor in the east coast. i turned down the offer to go to grad school with hopes of joining a top tier sponsor or developer. i learned quickly that it's super challenging to land a summer internship in CRE because most firms don't do that unles your mom/dad knows someone or you are just very lucky. i networked like hell and i was told to wait until last two months before summer. i couldn't stomach it so i took a tech internship and started sending out emails once i got back to school second year. i networked like hell (emailed alums and executives i read about on bisnow, globest, etc), every one kept saying wait until the last month of school.

my parents aren't wealthy and i was already broke as fuck with about $90k in grad school debt coming up!! i ended up taking a tech corporate finance role fulltime. i have networked like hell over the last two years with little luck in landing an opportunity that's a great fit at a REPE or large insitutional developer. i have turned down an offer from a top brokerage team in my market due to the "offer" proposed. i recently received an offer from a boutique REPE that will cut my base pay by almost $30K with loss of 401K match which brings my comp down by almost $40K. they are promising the opportunity to be wealth in 7 to 10 years but i know i am only making them wealthy. I really want to get back into real estate and I am considering the opportunity.

Why do I say all this shit? Well, you are young and your odds of landing an opportunity are much easier now even if the pay is shit. I have hated my tech finance role since week one but i have stuck with it. my current plan is to take the pay cut and pivot to a larger shop in about 2-3 years. If your heart is in real estate, DO IT and don't waste time doing corporate finance. I can guarantee you that you won't become CFO going that route. Most guys who become CFO come from banking at large firms. A very small select few are able to navigate the bullshit.

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My two cents, have friends in the industry (and seen both sides). Take the advice for what it's worth, since you are just finishing and starting off in the workforce.

You have to look at this from a strategic standpoint in which it will benefit you (financially).

Breaking into real estate, given no experience = setting yourself up for failure. I have had the opportunity to ask around a good way to break in, and was told to go in as an assistant/analyst to understand how the business works, build meaningful connections, and transition once you fully grasp the process.

Unfortunately, I still love tech.

It is not a horrible idea to start off anywhere as an analyst (in your situation), the idea for your first job (or two) is to build a good form of work ethic. I would accept the offer that closely relates to what is -transferable- to the Real Estate industry (if it is truly your passion). Having a few years of work experience (hopefully consistent), is viewed a lot better because employers know you are employable.

I think by accepting the corporate finance role, you will be well off in a few years when you do plan to make the transition into real estate. 1. Gained valuable employment experience by showing you are employable (stable work history). 2. Financially in a better position as opposed to being broke/no income. 3. Better understanding of Real Estate (classes, degrees, certifications, etc).

Some of the most successful brokers in RE I have met started off as analysts/assistants and learned the business from someone who is hitting home runs.

Throwing all your eggs in one basket is a horrendous way to approach this.

Good luck!

No pain no game.
 

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