RE Prospect Seeking Advice

Good day guys and girls,

Currently in UG studying finance. Have always been shooting for IB but randomly got into a RE investment internship in hospitality. Was a pretty positive experience.

Before that I've always wanted to get into RE as a side hustle when I have some savings. After the internship I decided to do some homework on how I can leverage my experience for my next step, and found out about how lucrative a CRE career can be. 

From my understanding, those CRE careers are in development, brokerage (saw in another thread ppl start to clear $200k - $1m/year after 5 years?!), and REPE or PERE (not sure what the difference is). 

Would love some input on:

  1. How to get into these 3 areas and what skills and personalities would help one to thrive in each (i.e. Does REPE/PERE require IB experience?Typical career path?)

  2. As a UG, what can I start doing right now to get ahead and set myself up for a great career in RE? and what would you guys done differently?

  3. What types of CRE internships should I be looking next? (firms and roles)

  4. Are there any other forums/websites/resources on RE that you'd recommend? Feel like WSO mainly focus on IB & PE

I did look into the RE forum before making this post, given that the housing market in Toronto has gone insane in the past years, figured I would make a post on the new Canadian CRE market. Insights from the US are welcome too. 

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Comments (10)

Jan 23, 2022 - 6:38pm
Fred Fredburger, what's your opinion? Comment below:

1.) If you already have an RE investment internship, then your chances of breaking into one of your listed target jobs is pretty good. The hardest part is getting your foot in the door and you've already done that. The most important hard skill at the junior level for these roles is financial modeling. So be able to build those from scratch. Most firms probably won't require a modeling test for someone out of UG, but it will help you on the job and for future interviews. No REPE doesn't require IB. But working at a reputable bank in their REIB group certainly won't hurt you.

2.) Sounds like you are already on a solid track esp with the internship. As mentioned above, practice financial modeling and network for the jobs/companies that you want to get into.

3.) I think you've answered this for yourself. You seem pretty set on REPE so look for jobs in this vertical. If you want the highest pay as a UG grad, then you will likely get that from the largest institutions, but expect the long hours that come with it...everyone can work 90hr weeks until they actually do it.... Just search for the largest REPE funds on here.

4.) Other than financial modeling resources like BIWS, none that come to mind. I feel like the WSO real estate community has some very knowledgeable people that can comment on posts and answer questions esp when it comes to working for an institution.

  • Intern in RE - Comm
Jan 23, 2022 - 9:09pm

Thanks. You made the internship sound huge lol. I might have been unclear so just to point out that the firm I interned at was  <$5B CAD. We are the in-house real estate investment and development team (<12 heads). Not sure if this changes anything because I applied randomly and landed this gig with 0 networking and its not even one of those RE investment firms. 

If you want the highest pay as a UG grad, then you will likely get that from the largest institutions, but expect the long hours that come with it...everyone can work 90hr weeks until they actually do it

Honestly didn't know CRE can have 90hr weeks, is it only for some REPE sweatshops, or should I expect this at some development and large sellside institutions (CBRE, JLL, etc.) too?

re:4.) RE modeling is certainly on my to-do list. Been eyeing the BIWS RE course for some time. Have you done it and do you recommend it over the other course providers? 

Jan 23, 2022 - 9:34pm
Fred Fredburger, what's your opinion? Comment below:

The internship is huge. That internship will make you stand out compared to your peers esp if you are an underclassmen. Real estate cares much less about prestige than ibanking, consulting, PE, but it doesn't hurt to be at a well known shop. If you are an underclassmen, you can very well leverage that internship into a job/internship at a "prestigious" shop. Your internship is at a multi-billion dollar fund...that's huge. Is blackstone bigger? Sure, but if the firm your interning with is in the billions, it must be reputable, but more important than reputation is the work that you do there. Try to get as much experience as you can, not only for talking points for an interview, but because you want to learn as much as you can to have a successful career.

I've never worked 90hrs in my life mainly because I know I can't and therefore don't pursue jobs that would require that. I have gotten an offer at a MM REPE shop a couple years ago and was quoted ~60hr weeks...but at firms like blackstone/starwood 80-90hrs is probably the norm. Perhaps someone who is in one of those shops can confirm or deny. Hours in development are usually a lot better (50-60hrs), but I hear they can exceed 60hrs/week at the big guys like Tishman. I imagine investment sales at places like CBRE/JLL can get bad during live deals

Most Helpful
Jan 23, 2022 - 6:49pm
redever, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Not trying to throw cold water on this post at all... it's actually very well written and thought out! But, wow, is it broad! I mean, basically every point you ask about is like multiple threads on WSO's real estate forum often. I'd spend time looking at some past threads, then maybe come back with more targeted (personalized) questions as needed.

I'll drop a few quick points (but in no way gonna try an answer all this!).. To each point..

1. The skills for buyside CRE (development and what you call REPE, you can find more posts as to why that is a silly/meaningless term...) are just like buyside finance/investments... analytical ability, business acumen, ability to write/research/communicate. Sellside (brokerage) is similar to IB with lower grade analytics, but similar work styles, and hustle... As to career paths... just start CRE world gives way less of a shit about names, prestige, or even pathways (its just a messier world here!).

2. Get into CRE!!! Join the real estate club if your school has one, join industry orgs as a student (like NAIOP, ULI, ICSC, etc.), get an internship in CRE, network with people in CRE, read CRE trade journals (like firms look for UG grads who legit want to be in CRE, and discount resumes of random finance and b-school applicants who are just shotgunning their resume everywhere (like a simple ULI membership on a resume may legit be reason for why one resume gets pulled for interview over another!). GPA/school ranking can matter to some firms, but way less to CRE industry in general. Target does not mean what means in IB/PE in general in CRE

3. You identified three areas of CRE you want to work, intern there....

4. See answer with clubs/orgs, get out and talk to real people, better than any website including WSO

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  • Intern in RE - Comm
Jan 23, 2022 - 10:11pm

Thanks, a LOT of great resources you mentioned.

Here is my concern, I really like like alternative investments. But something at the back of my head is telling me I should choose the optionality path (IB), just in case if CRE doesn't work out, and I am afraid that going into CRE would pigeonhole myself. So realistically, how hard is it to switch from CRE to, lets say infrastructure, or any other alt asset class.

Sellside (brokerage) is similar to IB with lower grade analytics, but similar work styles, and hustle... 

I am guessing its easier to jump from brokerage to REIB, but how about from REIB to other coverage groups?

Jan 24, 2022 - 9:59am
redever, what's your opinion? Comment below:

So, just for a quick reply... 

I gather you are very IB/finance centric, just from your use of lingo, this is pretty normal for most in a finance/b-school program and how a lot of us (the vast majority of the WSO crowd, myself included) enter real estate. It is also far more diverse/interdisciplinary with people from engineering, construction, law, gov't, and other random areas. 

Personally, if you get recruited into a BB I-banking analyst slot, I would say take it (unless you have some equally cool real estate analyst gig to take). Those are great training grounds, period! If you get on a REIB team, then moving over to the institutional buyside will be very easy, if you don't still doable with maybe a jump to some form of sellside CRE (including another I-banking type firm). If you want the optionality, not crazy at this stage of your career.

A lot of people in CRE started elsewhere and found they hated their job/industry, then found CRE and loved it. That might be you, your post kinda sounds like someone on that path, but really until you get that first "real" job, hard to tell! Personally, I'd say go where you want to go, and have fun. Worry about "pigeonholing" can lead to taking some really really shitty jobs (that may pay very well in fairness). Specialization leads to great success, albeit with some risk! 

As to your final question.... what do you mean REIB to other coverage groups? Like within the same I-bank? Or are you meaning "coverage group" in some other broader format? 

Jan 24, 2022 - 10:01am
redever, what's your opinion? Comment below:

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