1st Yr Associate IS - no UG degree - need advice on possible career change & school


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 GS, 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.

Comments (13)

Jan 26, 2017 - 11:42am

I've seen this discussed on 1 or 2 forums here and on M&I, but never saw any posts from folks who actually went this route, chalked it up to bs/hearsay. I did inquire with a cpl executive MBA programs but all had an UG prerequisite. I would certainly be open to this, especially considering most of my credits aren't transferable, as the're over 10 years old. Do you happen to know of any schools, off the top of your head, that offer this? I'll look into it today, thanks.

"Patience, Persistence, Perspiration..." -NH
Jan 26, 2017 - 12:00pm

I have an undergrad degree and do not have an MBA so I am by no means an expert or even qualified to give this advice, but I'm pretty sure MIT has a program. Without an undergrad though you will for sure have to get a great score on the GMAT. For the most part I think it's a case by case basis on who they let in. Also it's not like you just didn't go to college, you were attempting to become a pro athlete and definitely have something to show for that and have years of relevant work experience. Most Executive programs look for people with 7-10 years of work experience and it's worth a shot to at least reach out to some programs and see if they would consider your case.

Jan 26, 2017 - 2:37pm

Just did. I knew lexis would eventually come in handy, outside of stripping properties. Quite the story from what I can gather. I kept it very short and to the point, basically an elevator pitch for my current situation looking for strategic advice. Thx

"Patience, Persistence, Perspiration..." -NH
May 8, 2017 - 1:52am
I had a flair for languages. But I soon discovered that what talks best is dollars, dinars, drachmas, rubles, rupees and pounds fucking sterling.
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