Q&A: 2nd-Year REPE Associate @ Carlyle - AMA/Knowledge Dump

Hey all -

Gathered some significant attention when I posted this a couple of months ago regarding my unorthodox journey from a non-target construction focus to my current role. As it turns out, my Group Head found the post and said that it looks "mighty familiar" to someone he knows. At first, I thought I was getting fired but found out he was all for it - provided I don't name drop!

Anyways, I'm a 2-ASO @ CG, currently in the WDC area. I was recently moved over to the CRP IX team, the ninth iteration of our very successful run of United States RE funds. We closed IX in December of 2021, and have evaluated many exciting opportunities in the DMV and surrounding areas, as well as a national outreach. 

That's all I can give on the specifics of my fund, and have had to clear this information with anyone I work with. While I'm not too spooked about revealing personal information, I gotta make it clear that I can't speak anything else that's CG-specific, nor any personal details such as my name (obviously) or any other NPI that could hinder future deals. 

HOWEVER, I am more than willing to talk about anything in this space regarding my transition into the field, breaking in, networking, my day-to-day on the job, WBL, GC/GIS, and shooting the shit about anything else. To be honest, I'm not sure how a Q&A really works on this site, so I'll just respond when I can. 

Please - don't PM me about job offers or solicit information. I'm happy to share what I can publicly, but you'd be surprised about how many people shot me PMs after my last post, which had no PII in it whatsoever. Maybe I'm shooting myself in the foot right now by dropping my firm and fund name(s), but most of you all here seem to be respectful. I would love to answer any questions you all have, however - looking forward to some good conversations. 

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Comments (36)

  • Analyst 3+ in RE - Comm
Mar 19, 2022 - 12:02pm

Can you talk about how you went about networking and how critical you think it is for the role

Mar 19, 2022 - 7:49pm
Stonks1990, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Networking is crucial. I would not be where I am without it. In the real estate world specifically, many deals are brokered from individuals who already know each other, as well as getting into the field. To whoever is reading this - if you're on this forum or somewhere else, you've probably heard everyone say "GO NETWORK RIGHT NOW SO IMPORTANT GO NETWORK FAST RIGHT NOW GO" and it may be tiring. I get it, to be honest. It's not fun throwing your resume to everybody on the block, it's not ideal to constantly have to talk about yourself and how great you are. And guess what? Sometimes, that's not the way to go. Last thing you wanna do is burn some bridges by talking everyone's ear off, but it's a rare occasion that it happens. 

There are times when to strategize who you speak with, and sometimes you just gotta throw shit at the wall to see what sticks. If I can remember correctly, while approaching my MBA graduation I began seriously looking for FT REPE work. Based on my background, it wasn't so easy as landing the first gig I got. I am not exaggerating when I say this - I believe I was in the ballpark of close to 700 applications. I was in Charlottesville - I applied to firms in LA, Seattle, Phoenix, Houston, Witchita, fucking Ithaca - EVERYWHERE. I applied to places I didn't even want to work. To some extent, I don't recommend that, but I got lucky with a few people I knew and ended up getting the REIT gig. That's how my path went, yours may be different. 

I think the bigger point I want to touch on goes beyond getting your first job. Networking cautiously, carefully, and profusely - monitoring what you say, who you say it to, and how you go about presenting yourself & your work is greatly beneficial in building a professional rapport and clientele. Are the guys at your prime bank not getting back to you in time before a team update meeting happens? Not your fault, but that meeting is happening no matter what, and it's gonna negatively reflect on you when you have nothing to say. Oh, look at that! Turns out one of the Analysts over there was someone you knew in one of your MBA classes. You were always nice to him, he respected you. You give him a call - he says "sorry for the delay, let me call over to one of my guys on that deal!" and it comes through. If you were an asshole to him, he wouldn't have lifted a finger to help. This is a real-life example of MANY that I've had through the connections I've built with everyone throughout the years. In my undergrad, I was an asshole to people that I didn't like. Once I got out of that frat kid college boy stage, it's easier to realize that if someone has a 0.1% chance to do you a solid in the future, you better be nice to them. This applies to all positions, all departments, all sectors within finance, all industries outside of finance - just don't be a dick. It goes hand in hand with networking and can benefit you greatly. 

But overall, yes - networking is important as hell. I think of it as putting in the work now so that it can pay off later, i.e., the example I used above. Talk to people, learn about what they like, what they do, and damn - you may even meet some cool people! My three best friends are those that I met through the financial world, always on the other side of the table, but sharing the same amount of mutual respect for one another. Two of them live a plane ride away from me. Doesn't matter - just how it is. Best of luck to you & breaking in. Always here if you need any additional advice. 

Mar 19, 2022 - 2:09pm
xvino, what's your opinion? Comment below:

- What are your long term RE career plans?

- Biggest opportunities you see in the RE world right now?

- How much say do you have in the IC process at Carlyle? How often do you do property visits?

- Obligatory "whats RE comp at Associate and VP level at Carlyle?" quesiton

thanks bro! And say hi to mr rubenstein for me

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Most Helpful
Mar 19, 2022 - 6:54pm
Stonks1990, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Great questions - thanks! Hope I can help:

1. Long-term is tricky at the moment. I'm in a great spot right now and would love to continue working here or at an equivalent firm for all practical purposes. The comp is great obviously, but I can't lie to you - I've learned more in working here in two years than I have my entire UG and PG education, as well as nearly every internship and former FT position I've worked at. While these experiences in the past (primarily the development and REIT gig) have provided me with the groundcover and operational experience needed to break into this role, I can confidently say that this side of equity is a whole other ball game. 99% of the world sees a building or complex go up, and thinks that it's cool and nice. But when looking at it from this side, one realizes how much damn effort goes into taking a plot of land to a functional and successful space. The amount of people who have to coordinate to make it happen, how every last dollar is scrutinized and repurposed, how international trade patterns, weather functions, local economies of unrelated products change - it's fascinating, in a way. Sometimes, it's fucking hell and you end up thinking "now why the fuck do we have to figure this out?", but I believe that under the leadership and guidance I have here, I can stay at a firm like this and learn a lot more about what we do, how it's done, and WHY we do it. 

Now, there's that. But I've also dreamed of running my own business someday, and when I'm in a mental and financial spot to do so, I know it'll happen. You see YouTube videos of guys who look ridiculously wealthy doing real estate, and I think it gives people the sense that the ceiling is that high for every position in this field. Unfortunately, it's not. Even when I get carry realized in the future, one has to think about the scope of the deals that are worked on, and how much of that is actually being trickled down to you. Hypothetically, if I was to take a 1% float from a $50m deal - great! That's a nice chunk of change in my pocket. But I believe the REAL money in RE comes from smaller, more stringent deals that are done by an individual or smaller partnership. Yes, it's easy to look at a $750m complex closing and think "wow, look at that huge project and that huge money" but then you gotta think about how much of that ends up in your personal account, not the cushy corporate slush fund. I think that the "prestige" and "brand-name" of firms may hinder that. Obviously, opening your own shop is going to be risky and take a huge financial and mental strain on you by getting it off the ground, but I think that one day I'll be up for the challenge. Until then, I'm keen to keep learning my way around this incredibly complex space of work and hope that I can make some good coin of my own through it. 

2. Wow - that first question was a lot of words. I'll try to slim it down now. For future RE opportunities? ULI list is always a good place to start, and if I was to open my own shop I'd 100% start with one of those. From a personal perspective, I see national and international growers being in Nashville, Austin, DFW, Atlanta, and Denver (although I'm a bit late to that one). NY/SF/LA is where the big bucks are made, but a) that'll change someday and b) it's hard as shit to start something there. I'd also love to check out some international spots - take a look at South Portugal's mortgage rates. Honestly, gotta say with this market, I wish I had a clearer pinpoint but everything is changing so fast that I'm finding it hard to keep up. I still think that EVERYONE is sleeping on IRE in general. It's by far the most stable, diverse, and hell - it's just less of a pain in the ass, when you consider vacancy rates, refurbish/maintenance costs, and retrofits. Specialized equipment facilities, for one, are also something we've been looking at. High-precision complexes with a very specific market of clients who will pay a premium for the extra dollar, things like that. 

3. In terms of interest-specific cost, I'd say eh. Interest rates are gonna keep going up. A quarter-point isn't gonna do shit for anybody in the near term, but to be honest, I'm not that involved in the property visitation checklist routine that we have, at least not at the moment. If you're referring to residential specifically, we often hire out our management companies who we have good relationships with, pay 'em a buck or so to control operations specifically. Takes away a lot of the headache, but I do know we have reps who pop by to future, precon, top-out, and functional sites just to check-in without prompt. Obviously, if we're notified of an issue, we head our asses over there for the developments I specifically represent, not that much communication. It may sound bad, but hiring out to third-party for management streamlines a lot of the process, and filters out the complaints that don't actually have any weight. If any of that makes sense, LOL. 

4. Ah, there it is! I mentioned this to another user, but my comp index spread was a little "off" of what one would ordinarily expect in straight PE or REPE for that matter. 2-ASO average is around $250 all-in, which is a tad more than I make at the moment, but can you really complain if you're 31 and making that kind of money? Ha! Carry and/or stock options aren't realized until VP as a threshold, but over here it's case-by-case primarily. I know a couple of Senior Associates who have a tad bit of stock options, but that's by comp request only and not added to a bonus as a baseline. Flat-rate carry is 1% for VPs AFAIK, and once you move up from there there's a variety of other funds that one can take advantage of - flat equity pools, KEIP (incentive programs), as well as the generic carried interest and other equity grants. My ears are too young to hear those words, however - maybe someday! I think VP flat (speaking for CRP and DMV-area specific here is around $220, while bonuses range anywhere from $140-250 on a good year. Stock options alone account for some $60-70, but carry is impossible to predict unless you know the person - I've seen VPs who go 3 years without making a dime, then one year they pull in a nice $5m. Funny how that works!

Hope this answers everything. Sorry for the wall of text. I took a Trazodone to help me sleep last night and I can still feel it right now, I'm kind of groggy. Thanks for the question!

Jun 20, 2022 - 9:38pm
BuySideIntern, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Do you mind sharing what sort of sign-on bonuses are offered at the associate level or above? Or is all of that bonus year end?

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Mar 19, 2022 - 7:10pm
Stonks1990, what's your opinion? Comment below:

This one is tricky, and sometimes I've stepped on a few toes when I've said this (looking at you, Reddit), but to be honest? Long-term, I'm not worried. You cannot run a functional company from a video screen. From personal experience alone, I worked from my apartment from my house for nearly a year and a half. It was a logistical and operational nightmare. Missed communication, inability to interpret intentions, tone, and everything in between - fucking nightmare. WFH is trendy right now, and there's a huge push to keep it going for the long-term future. To SOME extent, I get it - I think one good thing about this whole pandemic thing is that we cut down on some flack regarding people who don't ACTUALLY need to be in the office, and virtual communication was streamlined and made some good advances. But I can tell you, from both my own firm, the clients I've worked for, and all my friends - it's not gonna last. 

Office space is in relatively low demand in my specific area. I know personally of many sleek and shiny buildings, both those that we owned as well as those I just know of. A lot of those offices are empty, and I've actually been greatly impressed by the creativity of some folks I've seen - those that are unable to come into the office, how they've turned their own homes into working spaces. Small companies forced to shut down that have made home-office additions, creativity with COVID barriers, and procedures. We're definitely seeing an uptick in corporate leases both around here and from our partners nationally, but it'll be a slow push. BUT, as I said - it'll happen eventually. I'm not gonna sit here and give some "AMERICA NEEDS TO GET OFF THEIR ASS AND GO TO WORK" faux macho-esque speech, but we must return to the office at some point. I'm back to five-day weeks and have some flex time built in. I can work from home if I CAN - often, I prefer not to just because I gotta get the fuck out of my apartment sometimes. But I've seen too many people who think that we're all just supposed to say fuck the office, I'm gonna do my entire job from my 2011 HP laptop. It's just not gonna happen. Initial O/C-RE trends are suggesting that it'll take a couple of years for offices in major metro areas to populate again, but I think that we're slowing the build process, waiting for the market to catch up. When the demand rises again, we'll switch back again. I'm optimistic it'll happen sooner rather than later!

As for niche markets, one thing I mentioned was HSIRE, which is primarily composed of industrial and manufacturing systems labs that have a thin-level market. Whether it's a government contractor or a private biotech firm, you see more brilliant startups and great ideas happening everywhere. That's another good thing that I think has come out of this pandemic - innovation. However, no matter how innovative these guys are, they gotta have someplace to test their products, and we're seeing a massive uptick in their build and creation. 

Mar 19, 2022 - 6:22pm
Stonks1990, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Not bad considering the spot I'm in. If I had to guess, I'd say 60-70ish. Obviously it'll fluctuate depending on the week, but overall I'm very happy with it. I knew that I was never cut out for REIB or just IB in general, but knew that I wouldn't be working the 40 hour week when I entered this field. Like I mentioned in my previous post, I've filled my day with plenty of activities that I actually enjoy, and believe that it's essential to maintaining a healthy relationship with finance. I get the sentiment of wanting to be a machine and having work fill your life, but often see guys younger than me who are completely burned out by age 26, having no idea how to function in relationships outside of their work. 

I like to be in the office early - I can a) fuck around, and b) get a lot of things done without being distracted. I aim for 7a every day, but obviously it isn't always doable. I'd say primarily, I'm in no later than 7:45, no earlier than 6:45. Just depends if I'm able to fall asleep the night before, or if I'm feeling a workout before I head in. The good news about being in this early is that I can be out early too most days, and I take all the sunlight I can get. I'm a huge believer in being outside, and when the weather is warmer I seem to actually go in earlier since there's more sunlight in the afternoon. Kind of weird, but that's the mentality that gets me in so early!

  • Associate 1 in IB-M&A
Mar 19, 2022 - 5:25pm

Why did Carlyle quote me $105k base + $105k bonus for a first year associate if your comp is $175k base + 65k bonus? Seems like an odd jump from A1 to A2?

Mar 19, 2022 - 6:18pm
Stonks1990, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Yep - the base/bonus ratio for the fiscal year 2020 was an odd stack, especially for us. They said it was something COVID-related (which makes no sense if anything guaranteed comp would be less), but I took it and went with it. My 1-ASO comp was split-rated in the more generic fashion - not quite the 50/50 like your offer was, but it was pushing more of a 60/40 gap. If my mental math is still fresh, my TC package is around a 70/30 split which is massive for this field. Can't speak for other firms here, but I know several of my colleagues got a similar ratio. 

To be honest, if I had to guess, it was more of a marketing technique designed to grapple those moving to CRP IX - I'm not sure if you've read anything about what we've done in the past two years, but Stuckey & Adams are more or less running this iteration with a different approach. I wish I could speak more to specifics, but honestly, your guess is as good as mine when comparing the TC spread index. As of right now, I believe the median comp for 2-ASO is around $250 all-in, so more or the less what I've made. Just a different spread. 

Congrats on your offer, and thanks for the question!

  • Intern in RE - Other
Mar 19, 2022 - 6:09pm

I'm looking at getting into development. Currently have a real estate & finance major, did a construction background help you break in? Currently considering, but am wary of the transition from finance to construction

Mar 21, 2022 - 9:34pm
jarstar1, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Not OP, but I did engineering undergrad, then work in construction and to get to development I got an MBA. Most developers usually value a finance background since ultimately the work you are doing is supporting a financial business model, especially for analysts/associates since at that level you're spending a lot of time in models. I came from construction and do project management work, but a developer wouldn't touch me until I got my MBA because I didn't have any finance knowledge. If you are dead set on development, then I'd recommend trying to get work for one or at a REPE shop, just learn all you can about the underwriting/dealmaking process, you won't need to learn construction in too much depth and you can pick up enough to be a decent developer from just working on the dev side without any GC experience. 

Mar 23, 2022 - 10:02am
Stonks1990, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Hey - congrats on your RE/FIN major, wishing you the best of luck. 

Piggybacking off of what jarstar1 said, the MBA will help you greatly in the long run. I would highly advise you to not go into the construction route to get this kind of job, as it's not exactly what they're looking for. If you recall, I had to do the opposite - I was a construction guy, but added my RE minor and had to break my back with connections to get into the developer I worked for. Most of them won't touch you without any sort of finance experience, I was just lucky that I tacked on an RE minor at the end. That's what closed the deal for my first gig. 

I will say that construction allowed me to enter the field from a more holistic and different viewpoint. There were interviews I had where people straight-up asked me "you're not a finance guy, why should we let you work here?" and I had to think on my feet fast. In the first interview I had I was totally unprepared for this question and spit out some bullshit mumble about transition and lateral skills - yeah, didn't get that job. After that, however, I really thought about the question. The way I spun it was simple: they're a real estate group & they develop buildings. I come from a long four years of construction and operations management, a massive part in the building process. I can look at a building and understand how it's built: the materials used and their cost-benefit factors, the way site logistics are properly laid out, my over/under on if that thing falls down based on its concrete and stable core, etc. I said stuff like this and highlighted the fact that I could offer a unique viewpoint on the side of the real estate world. 

Granted, this got me into the developer role - this shit would not fly at any reputable REIT or REPE shop. I only got my initial REIT gig after my MBA, but that put me in a good spot overall that paved the way for where I am now. I had four years at a reputable construction undergrad, with two general contractor internships. I also had nearly three years in a full-time development role, building commercial complexes in one of the West Coast's biggest metropolitan areas, and lastly, I had a 'Public Ivy' MBA that sealed the top on finance. When you look at that stack, I'd like to think I looked pretty well-rounded from that POV. But I'm getting off-topic here. 

Point is, you're in a good spot for any LMM or MM Dev to scoop you up. I would not recommend switching to construction from this point - good luck! Big thanks to @\jarstar1 for his insights as well, I agree with everything he said. 

Mar 25, 2022 - 8:16pm
JoeCampbell, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Thank you so much for this! SB-ing now.

Do you think a Master's in RE focused on Finance and Investment would check the box with those stated employers (like you did by getting an MBA)?

Mar 23, 2022 - 10:36am
Stonks1990, what's your opinion? Comment below:

A tad bit tricky here for a couple of reasons, but I'll do my best. As you mentioned, every group and subgroup will have a different outlook on their job as a whole. A capital markets analyst working for different VPs will most likely tell you another story than an energy assets associate who has a whole different perspective on the job, may work different hours and tackles different sorts of problems throughout their DtD. I'll speak on what I know, but also gotta make sure that I'm speaking from a personal perspective, and obviously silly boilerplate here of yada yada yada these are my own personal opinions and do not reflect those of Carlyle Group, Inc. and their affiliates so I don't get burned - I'm sure my MD is reading everything I say here, HA!

As I mentioned in my previous post, my superiors have been receptive and understanding of my past. This is finance. It's fuckin' hard. You're gonna get yelled at, clients and coworkers are gonna take out their anger on you, you'll feel burned and unfairly treated at times. But it's cyclical, and it in no way compares to some of the stories I've heard. There are plenty of people I work with who I would love nothing more than to hit a quick 9-hole run with while drinking some beers, and there are people who most of the time I would greatly enjoy showing them my recent boxing improvements. The latter, however, is much more sparse than the former - which I am damn grateful for. As I said, I am not a finance macho hardo. I am not cut out for investment banking. At the risk of getting too personal, I suffered greatly in my early 20's from depression and anxiety, never really opening up with the exception of my family and close friends. I didn't know if someone like me could survive in a world like this, as my image of finance was painted 100% through TV shows and ill-represented preconceived depictions of constant pain and suffering. Simply put - this just ain't how it works, especially not where I'm at. 

I guess the best image I can give to you is an average day on the job. Since I don't have set hours I work, I'm not required to be in the office at any set time and I can leave pretty much whenever I want, as long as I don't have anywhere I have to be in-person for, like a meeting, site visit, client brief, or external discussion. Now I say these things, but don't think that I'm not in the office for a long time every day. This is driven by two things: one, I have a lot of fuckin' meetings. There are a lot of things I can access only in-office, which is primarily security-based for no other reason. For instance, a lot of Carlyle's portal is not accessible thru my personal laptop, and I usually have to be on a secure network to pull data and work in an efficient way. Being in the office just makes that a lot fuckin' easier. The other reason is just personal preference. I talked a bit about WFH earlier, and the truth is that I just HAVE to get out of my apartment sometimes. It's great occasionally to throw on some pajamas and get all comfy in my robe, but that's fun for about a week before you realize your life is confined to your living room, bedroom, and home office. 

I seem to enjoy getting off-topic, so I'll try to get back here: let's say I'm in the office at 7:30. Usually, the first 30 min or so is responding to emails, setting up some things in my calendar, and writing day-to-day and week-to-week immediate tasks in order of priority. I have this brown notebook that I've used to fill my days since 2017, and if I lost that notebook I think I'd go ballistic - it has everything! Non-client-facing and internal meetings primarily fill up my AM, which I head to for most of the morning while balancing my ongoing projects at my desk. While we don't have a "lunch break" per-say, I try to eat around 12:30 either at my desk or go out to this Chipotle nearby where every employee knows me by name now. External meetings fill my early and late afternoon, and it's just a time balance at that point - trying to get my own shit done while still meeting everyone I can. Some of my team's clients who I like the most and have broached a more personal-level relationship with come later in the evening - we may go for a drink, hit up the golf simulator, or just hang out and shoot the shit in the park. Those are my favorite parts of my job - hanging out with guys and gals worth nine figures in a more casual setting, while still being business-oriented is a great perk of finance. It's enjoyable to speak with someone on a personal level, and also you feel all super cool in shit in your Midtown Uniform while trying not to think about how much of a douchebag you sound like. I'm only half-kidding!

That's the general day. Throughout the day, I speak with probably an average of 75-150 people, whether they're coworkers, superiors, external people, clients themselves, client representatives, as well as general housekeeping things. I can't speak for the average culture of those outside my organization (and more or less my direct team), but I gotta say that I love the culture here. This isn't Midtown - there's a lot less slicked-back hair and vests here, and more Rhone pants and smiles. The douchebag culture is turned down significantly, and my direct superiors are mostly very nice and easily-approachable people. I won't attempt to shill Carlyle one way or the other, and as I said - I"m sure there are other people on this forum who work for my same firm, maybe even some in my same location who are scratching their heads wondering how I got so lucky. But I like it here. I like who I work with, I like my hours, I fuckin' love my pay (LOL, sorry I had to), and I like working for this team. It's not sunshine and rainbows, and we work hard as shit. But at least here, you get less of the "get 110% on every project no exceptions and even when you do I'll still be disappointed" spiel and more of the "we expect results and performance from you but when you get it we will appreciate you, and if you don't we're not gonna make your life miserable" which I greatly appreciate. I think in general the "Work Hard Play Hard" thing is cliche, but it really applies to me. 

Overall, I think you could probably tell from this wall of text that I fuckin' love who I work with. And I'm lucky that I'm in that position. Coming from my background when I thought I'd never make it brings a new sense of pride and enjoyment from that area also if that makes sense. Like you mentioned, I can PROBABLY guess why you're asking this question and want to let you know that I am more than happy to open a more private channel if you'd like to know more. Happy to help out in any way I can. 

Best of luck to you and hope to see you around these parts soon! Be well.

Mar 25, 2022 - 8:14pm
JoeCampbell, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Thank you so much for this! SB-ing now.

Do you think a Master's in RE focused on Finance and Investment would check the box with those stated employers (like you did by getting an MBA)?

Apr 12, 2022 - 3:03pm
leveraged_cre, what's your opinion? Comment below:

When you say clients are you referring to the institutional investors that invest in the funds? Asking because I was not aware REPE people had clients

  • NA in RE - Other
Mar 20, 2022 - 3:36pm

Thank you for doing the AMA.

How did you cultivate+develop your technical skills to obtain the job and keep the job with the REIT; and then ultimately with Carlyle?

What realistic tips would you give someone going down a similar path to gain the modeling skills you needed to thrive in each of those positions.

I understand you did an MBA and that may have provided an end-run on (some of) those critical skill-sets.

Mar 27, 2022 - 12:11pm
Stonks1990, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Thanks for the reply! Sorry, it's taken a bit. Have had to work a lot this week, and am answering when I can. To anyone else reading this, if you've asked a question & I haven't gotten back to you, just know that it'll come eventually - gotta prioritize my time. 

Anyways, the technical skills question is great. As you mentioned, my MBA did significantly help me pivot from a construction-oriented background to a more financial-related gig, but even before that, I felt that I had a good grasp of the real estate world specifically. My original role at the developer was my first toe-in-the-water experience at the financial side of things, as with the exception of maybe 2-3 finance classes at Virginia Tech I had ZERO financial experience. Those questions were hard then - for many of us, they may not seem like the hardest things but DAMN were they a shock to me at the time. Going from concrete to rebar QTO specifications to 7-cap leverage at 40% with cash-on-cash return while dealing 5% interest questions were not the easiest thing for a construction guy to grasp. 

For better or worse, someone literally leaked the interview questions for my exact position at the developer about a month before my interview. While I wasn't banking on being asked those exact questions (I figured that firm would shuffle them around pretty quickly once they found out), it did give me a much better insight into the things that I would have to nail while jumping into this space. I think a lot of guys in my undergrad are doing development now, but they had 4-5 years of GC Project Manager or Superintendent experience before either lateralling straight into development or having an MBA to help with the switch. I got lucky. I was able to get that gig straight out of undergrad, but it was a very hard learning curve for me. 

Technical skills for the REIT job were a lot easier. By then, I had two years of pure financially-based classes focusing solely on what I'd be asked later in that interview room, as well as three years doing financial underwriting and working with capital markets development teams. I knew a bit more about how the game was played and found that the technical skills were more of the less the exact same as my prior role, but with a more investment-based approach and less of an operations and site prep approach. I like the Calculus theory - 95% of people aren't going to use Calc for a second in their careers after final college class in it. So why do they teach it? They teach it because it's less about the CONTENT and more about testing individuals on how to apply the methods they use to come up with an individual answer - learning how to SET UP the equation, which buttons to push on the calculator, the right steps to take in the right order, and how to ultimately simplify and note the solution. It's the same thing with any technical skill here - the computers will do the grunt work, you just gotta know which buttons to press.

That's how it went from there on out. While I can't lie - private equity is a whole different side of the real estate world, it's more or less the exact same thing when it comes to technical skills and what is done in that field. The content is different. The equations are different. The numbers are different and they're applied in different ways. But it's still testing your competence, drive, problem-solving, and self-discipline skills. If you can figure that part out, you can go literally anywhere in finance. Just gotta know what to look for. 

You mentioned realistic tips needed to form a similar path - OBSERVE AND LISTEN TO WHAT OTHER PEOPLE DO. I did that in every aspect of climbing the ladder in the past, and do it today. Yes, there's the obvious path to cut through - polish your resume. Work on your people skills. Do LBO modeling and practice your IRR, NOI, equity multiple, etc. But if you really want to see what makes people successful in this field, you just gotta take mental notes on what others do and how they go about their process of winning in this game. I didn't come from the standard background, as I've mentioned - I swear half the people in finance think it's ALWAYS T10 Undergrad -> 2yrs IB -> Ivy MBA -> 2yrs PE -> HF/VC/CO. If you wanna see my route it was more like Random UG w/ Random Major -> 3yrs Development -> T25 MBA -> 3yrs REIT -> 3yrs REPE -> Death Soon and it just mixes and matches in so many different places. 

If you want to work in REPE, you'll work in REPE. It may not be the clear-cut path, and it damn sure won't be easy. It'll suck sometimes, and you'll wish you became a gym teacher, but in the end it's worth it. Plenty of ways to touch up on modeling skills, thousands of resources online!

Mar 23, 2022 - 8:51am
SBPref12, what's your opinion? Comment below:

From your view on the acquisitions side, any major concerns with this raising interest rate environment?    I've recently seen a few contracts fall through because the buyer couldn't get the financing they needed when treasuries blew out and proceeds were reduced.  The Carlyle's of the world can afford to bridge the gap and close but curious if you think rates will have an impact on valuations as LTVs come down.  

Apr 19, 2022 - 9:55am
Stonks1990, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Hey - 

First off, sorry for the delay. I do a fair bit of fucking around on this website but often forget I still got some folks that I gotta answer. My bad. Anyways, smaller shops are in a tighter spot here in regards to IR's volatility, and we share the same experiences with seeing deals get murked due to lack of financing. It sucks - it's no one's fault, but sometimes shops just can't keep up with what's going on at the moment. I have a couple of buddies who are at significantly higher positions at smaller shops who have felt this brunt the most. I dabbled with the idea of taking a VP position at a reputable regional LMM so I could get some of that sweet carry float, but ultimately am going to wait it out a bit here over at CG. 

I'm kind of straying here, but I just think the general environment of valuations right now is fucked. So much processing is involved in determining every last number so we can get a solidified bid out, only to find out that yada yada interest rate jumped on the multiple and now we gotta reevaluate. The capital flows are pretty variable in my market, so it's just a chain reaction of interbank lending leading directly to a reduced intrinsic value. Boom, property values are tanked and leverage is lost.

As you mentioned, we can afford these changes but I do feel for the guys at smaller shops who just don't have the capital allocation to make it worthwhile. Can definitely see LTVs having a rate in the future, but I'm healthily optimistic that we'll fight thru this curve. Could take a year, could take five, but Mr. Market is always right. Thanks for the question!

Apr 19, 2022 - 10:05am
Stonks1990, what's your opinion? Comment below:

LOL, yeah that's technically us. From my prior post, however, I'm sure you can see that I'm not the stellar student that they make it out to be. I took the Carlyle gig in the first place due to my SVP being an all-around great guy. They're stringent in some rules that they have, but every candidate has some wiggle room. While my UVA GPA was a factor, I wouldn't say that it was the only reason that I was hired. My stack worked well - I had four years of construction target undergrad, three years of capital markets underwriting in LA at a reputable developer, a T20 MBA w/ a 3.1 GPA, and tied it all up w/ my REIT knowledge & performance in the same metro area as I'm in right now. 

Carlyle is pretty heavy on the front-end facing from a recruiting standpoint, they're intimidating to a degree. I can tell you undoubtedly that if you have a grad degree and they're judging you purely from a GPA standpoint, they won't even bother to request anything undergrad-related. It makes sense - why would they? My UG was a different sector far in the past, and it's just about getting in front of the right people so you're not dinged by the screener. All comes back to the big ole' N-E-T-W-O-R-K-I-N-G.

In addition, I do want to touch that a 3.5 may be a lot more heavily emphasized if you're applying straight out of school. At that point, all they really have to go off of is your academic performance which makes the GPA requirement a lot more concrete. For me, they primarily focused on my transition and performance in my full-time career and wanted to get a better understanding of how I'd laterally transfer my skills to make me worth the hire. I know that this may not apply to everyone, but that was my experience. Will ping a couple of buddies today at lunch and see if they can shed any insight on experiences - IIRC, one of my analysts is only a year out of his MBA. While he has a nice and cushy Columbia degree, his GPA was nothing to write home about (3.0-3.1?) and he had no connections that would have boosted that. So there's that, but he could be an anomaly. Will get back to you. 

Thanks for the question!

Apr 3, 2022 - 6:56am
TheJoker'sAdvocate, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Hi, 

You mentioned that smaller deals/buildings yield higher returns and would be a good spot to be in. 

Can you give us some ranges on the Return multiples? 


I'm a CRE broker and have enough capital to think about doing an investment. I was thinking of buying either low rise apartment buildings, self storage centers, or owner occupied industrial (manufacture, warehousing) buildings. 
I am 2 yrs out of college and have been a broker since 3rd yr in University. 

Do you think it's wise for me to get into it? Or would you say I should spend 1-4 yrs at a REPE shop? 

I ask this because I got my degree in Business administration with a CS minor from a complete non-target school. I am thinking of getting a CPA license to sharpen my analytical skills or an MBA but don't know yet. 



Thank you, 

  • Analyst 1 in IB - Gen
Apr 7, 2022 - 11:45pm

Yeah seriously. I really don't want to have to re-recruit after just 1.5 years as an associate but it appears to be mandatory for almost everyone there. Really tough considering they pay so much less than other 2-year programs.

  • Associate 1 in RE - Comm
Apr 25, 2022 - 11:11pm

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May 23, 2022 - 8:53am
Stonks1990, what's your opinion? Comment below:

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