Requesting career advice as an analyst

Hello, I see a lot of folks in their 20s and early thirties pulling down 100-200k+ and I’m wondering how did you guys find those roles so young in your career? I’m currently making approximately 70k all-in in AM at a decent sized shop (2B assets but no official fund structure yet - coming soon though). 1.5 YOE (and late 20s). My firm is located in Atlanta so I’m not expecting NYC level income but. I’ve been told I’m killing it but the work is so easy and not that challenging, plus other analysts seem to stay at that junior level for 4-6+ years here before seeing any potential for chance for associate responsibility (and pay), when I’ve seen other shops that is as little as 2 years. I’m leveling up my modeling skills after hours with online resources to move into a more hybrid Acq/Am but the market is so dead right now it’s hard to stay focused on that when the market seems at a standstill (less hiring even for experienced hires). Anyway how are you guys finding these positions as I’d like to be more strategic in my attempt to level up. Did you just start really young (like 21-22?) and thus have 5+ YOE already or something? Or did you just ride comp up in a red hot market the last few years before rare hikes? Grad school seems like a poor ROI too so if that’s the answer to higher income, I think I’d rather slog it out for a couple more years getting real money and experience. Willing to relocate. Any insight and perspective is appreciated as I am just trying to learn. 

Most Helpful
  1. What is your current title, role, and what is your day to day, broadly?  It looks like you're currently an Analyst, Asset Management at a sizable firm.  What is the firm doing?
  2. What is your background?  How are you only an Analyst in your late 20s with 1.5 YOE?
  3. $70k is your salary or your compensation - cash plus incentive?  $70k all-in seems very low.  Have you tried to interview around to find other opportunities?
  4. 4 to 6 years as an Analyst is a long stint.  That probably says more about available opportunities to move upwards at the firm and not broad market based opportunities.
  5. Asset Management is a great position to be in as many firms are staffing up these roles.  Not so much for Development and Investments.  So wouldn't sweat your ability to move to another company in a similar role, but with expanded opportunities.
  6. MBA at a top tier school is not a poor ROI.  Even for a solid regional school has a solid ROI.

Really need some more information to attempt to give you some guidance.


These are good questions, thanks. A bit long answers but I figured others who can relate might find value in the details too so I'll expand.

1. Asset Management Analyst, role is assisting the head of AM with basic day to day AM. This includes running and analyzing various reports on cash flow, property income & expense, all things tax and insurance, light review of legal docs, managing capital calls and reserve draws, preparing investor cash distributions. Basic AM. All in an analyst capacity though, I would like to do more and have more ownership within some of these areas but the head of AM (understandably) controls the output from anything I do at the end of the day and I can only push so hard for more responsibility as a junior. Unfortunately I do not get much exposure to modeling either (think: hold/sell/recap decisions) since our acquisitions team handles that - and they're (acq staff) currently overstaffed since transactions are down so for the next year or so there isn't any work I can help on that our seniors wouldn't want the acq staff time spent doing instead of AM. (otherwise they said they'd love to have me assist). 

2. I spent the first few years in management consulting (non financial), then a startup that didn't work out. However I majored undergrad in RE finance - guess I just too a detour? lol. I like CRE more than consulting which is why I switched, even for a initial pay cut.

3. 70k is all in. The people are great but yeah I will probably start interviewing if there aren't any internal opportunities opening up. I heard the market is bad right now though at least for Acquisitions, so I don't want to come across as 'grasping for more' in a time when business is contracting, you know? And my ideal is a hybrid or even heavier acquisitions (I want more exposure to putting the deal together vs taking over afterwards) so I feel taking a job even it is higher pay in AM, might pigeonhole me for a later pivot, but that could be a naive take. I wouldn't mind working and growing in AM throughout the downturn but don't want to "start over" in the acq vertical when the market picks up. I may be thinking about this wrong though. what do you think?

4. True. 

5. See last part of #3


Something still isn't adding up to me.

  1. You graduated 6 years ago, worked in management consulting, and then switched to real estate asset management - but couldn't negotiate better pay?  I would assume you made significantly more in consulting?  We were starting first year Analysts at $72k - $78k (base + incentive) over ten years ago.  I don't know what it is now (but now am going to check), but imagine it is higher.
  2. You work directly with the head of Asset Management?  How big is your team?  I would have assumed you'd have a larger team with that size of AUM.  Weird that you wouldn't get exposure to modeling to at least update operating and capital expenditure assumptions going forward.
  3. Right now is a bad time for any Development or Investment roles.  But it is a great time for Asset Management roles.  Start interviewing.  Get your foot in the door with a firm that will be active when the market turns in a year or two.  Perform well in your Asset Management role, make friends, and new doors will open over time.  If not, you can later jump and leverage your experience into an acquisitions role regardless.
  4. Your MBA analysis is ridiculous.  Honestly, for someone in your position investing two years and grabbing a MBA from USC is a good investment.  You should seriously consider it.  If you were already an Associate at a larger firm with room to grow, maybe I'd reconsider.

Dude, this analysis is borderline psychotic. If you don’t want to go to grad school then don’t go to grad school. Trying to play something out 8 years is a fool’s errand. Did you ever consider you could go to grad school, get a sweet ass job, catch an up market and be making $500k-$1mm/year. What’s the break even time on that. My god, think bigger.


Think bigger is not even the right word for this.

you sound like you don’t love your job and realize you are living a live of mediocrity. “What’s the point if I’m just going to end up in the same place in 8 years?”

how about not giving af where you are in a decade and just committing to an adventure. Committing to getting into the best school you can, committing to trying as hard as you can while in school, commuting to preparing to interview w the best real estate companies in the country. One foot in front of the other and just see where it gets you. If you bust your ass with that much consistency, something good is guaranteed to happen.

or don’t, I could care less. This is not even an endorsement to go to grad school — it’s a wake up call to change your attitude.

whether you think you can or can’t, you are right. 


Lol I mean I did preface that it’s an over-analysis didn’t I? But I didn’t mean “why bother” in an existential way, I meant strictly in a strict financial ROI way. A grand adventure sounds great and all but I was trying to be practical and look at data, literal ROI. Strict dollars and cents. But you make a good point, there’s a higher likelihood I can meet someone in/after grad school with a broader and bigger worldview and pocketbook to execute on a bigger vision, than if I were to stay in my limited-scope role at my firm. But 200k+ can be good seed capital for something big as well and throwing it all at school is a big choice.

Thanks for your input. 


$70k for Atlanta is about right for an analyst salary right out of school, but if you're late 20s you're both under paid and under promoted. Forgive the armchair psychoanalysis, but it seems like you got into an easy gig and then kind of gave up. Go look for a new AM job at a higher level. You could literally double your income in a month. 

Commercial Real Estate Developer

Well I spent a few years in a different industry so it’s not like I am sitting complacent as a 6 yr analyst or anything (currently 1.5 years in). I just happen to have gotten in later in my mid-late 20s. I agree with you though it’s too easygoing and I need to find something more challenging. Going to start digging around asap. Thank you


Ah - my mistake then. Still, yeah, it's time to start looking around. $125k-$140k is not unrealistic. 

The only thing to keep in mind is that right now, $70k is better than $0k. I assume companies still need asset managers though. 

Commercial Real Estate Developer

I'm in the same spot! Had a quantitative master's degree and worked in a non-real estate financial firm for 3 years. I'm older than you but still an analyst too. Our company also tends to be under paying and under promoting people. We hired people with 6/7 RE experiences as senior analysts and people with almost 10 years of experience as associates. I guess I can't complain. Do note that one has overseas experience and the other works in valuation elsewhere but transitioned to investments at our firm. 

Following for advice too!!!


I'm not sure if this was addressed yet...

"Hello, I see a lot of folks in their 20s and early thirties pulling down 100-200k+ and I’m wondering how did you guys find those roles so young in your career? I’m currently making approximately 70k all-in in AM at a decent sized shop (2B assets but no official fund structure yet - coming soon though). 1.5 YOE (and late 20s). My firm is located in Atlanta so I’m not expecting NYC level income but ..."

  1. You are making $70k/year in Atlanta
  2. You are asking how others are making $100k to $200k+/year.

In many cases, those who make $150k+/year, tend to be working in NYC; and the difference in comp is often directly tied to that location/market difference.

In many cases, making $100k to $150k in NYC (depending on specific shop/role), is effectively around the starting pay for many roles -- it's entirely due to location.

However, keep in mind, working in NYC does come with significantly higher expenses, higher taxes, etc. Taxes alone will consume much of the higher pay. 

Consider this:

  • Based on online tax calculator, making $70,000 in Atlanta = $52,780 after taxes. Then, consider your Atlanta expenses, all things considered.
  • Based on online tax calculator, making $100,000 in NYC = $68,843 after taxes. Then, consider your rent (~$4,000/mo, or more), and whatever expenses... $50/Ubers, $20/drinks, etc  and whatever else; and suddenly, that $100k job doesn't seem as attractive, as your expenses would likely provide you a lower standard of living at $100k in NYC, than $70k in ATL.

It's all relative to the location, and comp can't be considered in a vacuum, without considering the bigger picture.

Location is largely the difference that changes your $70k job --> into a $100k+ job, for a similar role.

Also, to compare a different market... consider that, based on standard of living, etc... making $150k in NYC is like making $70k in Florida -- it is a similar resulting standard of living, and the pay often matches (approx.) that difference in range, for the same/similar position.

If you look at jobs, you'll find that some jobs in Florida for XYZ position, are paying $150k+ for the same job in NYC. Location directly impacts the comp.

I don't know about Atlanta specifically, but in much of the South (e.g. Florida), the comp is significantly lower.

Meaning, if you are asking how/why you are paid $70k - meanwhile, they are paid $100k+ - you have to consider the variables impacting the difference in comp.

I can tell you that at least in some roles, the difference in comp really is just about location, etc.

My firm has a NYC office, and a Florida office, (and while slightly different roles) the comp is not the same. 

I am not discouraging to seek higher roles, or higher comp. (Not at all).

Rather, I am only trying to add something very relevant to the discussion: location.

Just something to consider.

Investor (30+ years); IB/RE/PE/Corp. Exp (MD level); currently, head of boutique private equity firm; principal of family office.

I figured location had a big factor, but i still posted because I wasn’t sure if there was more. some grads may start at 60-90 in 2nd tier cities or correspondingly 100-130 in those VHCOL markets. But then a few years later make significantly more than that, and I was hoping young people making those really high comps for their markets would chime as to how they got their comps so high so young (like 150k+ in MCOL, 250k+ in VHCOL, while under 30 or early 30s) while still relatively young. Are you just working 80 hours? Did you just have a generous boss and home run investments? Did you add a ton of value (and how?) while still relatively new and thus got a huge bump? Did you start your career at 21 and at 29 you’ve got 8 YOE which pays more? And also to know how common or uncommon it is to hit that comp while 5 or so less years into your career. What’s your secret sauce (without revealing too much). Stuff like that. 


I think part of the answer to your question is that a lot of people who start off in these higher paying roles have background in CRE.

For example, I started off in a M/HCOL making TC of ~95, and part of getting this was prior real estate internship experience but also luck of fitting in at a good company. Other people i know who studied RE/Finance in college and had relevant internships landed in roughly the same spot + made jumps upward since then. Easier to jump from 90 to 110+ than from 70.

To your other question about internal promotions/ moving up - anecdotally - a friend worked his way up from Analyst to Associate (and a higher comp) in ~2.5 years by as you say “adding value”. Part of it was luck: there was work to be done and a vacuum of people to do it at the time. But on top of that he was consistently saying yes to additional tasks and taking on more responsibilities. He also had a great manager that did a progressive overload of his responsibility so that while he was often busy, I don’t think he ever had to work more than 65 hours max. But again, it’s not always that there’s work to do and someone willing to give you that responsibility so luck can be a factor again.

TLDR: Having an early start in the industry doesn’t hurt. Get lucky or engineer yourself into a role that allows you more responsibility which will lead to better pay.


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