Quick background: I am 35 and was previously a hockey player chasing the dream. Injuries sidelined me and its at this point I got serious about an alternative career path (age 26). I never graduated UG (big mistake, especially with 1480 SATs before the format change), which, after attending elite private schools from 7-12th grade and being from a family of Ivy League types, left me struggling to find a career where I could earn just as much, without going back to school.
Quick Career Summary:
07-09 (Residential Real Estate), 10-11 (Residential Loan Officer), 12-15 (VP Sales & Acquisitions w/ Regional East Coast Commercial & Residential Developer)
In late '15 I started to panic. All my prep school buddies were becoming VP's & MD's at top ibanks and top CRE firms and making a killing. I started networking my ass off and along with 2 mentor types, devised a plan that could get me into an Associate level ibanking position with a MM bank or boutique shop, even given my old age. I would re brand academically at an ivy-non-traditional program (Columbia, Brown, Yale's Eli Whitney).
While in this process, I was contacted by a CRE IS shop, on a friends recommendation. They specialize in STNL & Multi-Tenant retail and had recently broken off from a top national brokerage. They blew me away with their office and also the deal volume (in the multi billions over a few years) and they are a great group of guys. It would be 100% comm, but they guaranteed I would be making $250k-$350k/yr by my 2nd/3rd yr. I would be the only one without a degree. Thinking there would be considerably more modeling, underwriting, deal structuring, etc I took the job, thinking I could get back in school and use the experience to my benefit. Long story short, hours are preventative of school and I am drowning financially, trying to build my network and business.
I am at a point now where I realize I need a degree, as the options without it are horrendous. If I were financially set, I could keep on this path and eventually bump to a REPE shop after obtaining my degree and having 5-6 years in a specialized area of IS.
My question, at this point, is a bachelors a complete waste or should I stop everything and focus on that? What sort of banking/finance/CRE positions would I realistically be considered for, if I finished at say, 37-38? I have no doubt I can get into one of the 3 previously mentioned programs, but would my eventual salary warrant the $250k at Columbia? I have a work ethic second to none, and pick things up very quickly. I have read every book on investing you can possibly imagine, I have taken numerous modeling courses online and consider myself very good with excel. If i had a degree RIGHT NOW, my network would be able to get me a few Analyst/Associate interviews (have been told that pain-tolerance will be key, as I would have bosses 10 years younger. I don't care) but without it, I am dead in the water. If this is even a remote possibility, I am willing to give 100% and make full commitment. No wife, kids, etc. That can come later. I am playing catch-up but l just need to know if I am wasting my time.
Please be as realistic and as blunt as possible. Thanks in advance for any feedback. Sorry for the novel, just felt the background was important in this case, to see my thought process throughout.