4th Interview at Boutique Retail CRE PE - Negotiating Salary Plus Preparation for the Job [Need Advice, Please]

Happy Friday Everyone!

I posted in the PE sub-forum and I think perhaps this forum might be more relevant seeing as I did not get any replies from yesterday.

Background info:

I graduated with a B.Comm in Finance, minoring in economics this June 2017. I ended up getting the chance to interview at a small Canadian RE asset manager that invests and owns retail/mixed use properties out west (Alberta, Saskatchewan). They currently own about 30 properties ~$20m each.

The position itself is a bit unique. From the words of the founder, he wants to do what, at one point, 120 people working under him did with a team of about 10 people. What I would be responsible for is creating research and investment reports (which includes financial analysis and valuation), creating marketing package material, social media networking (I know, wtf?) as well as investment sales in international markets (Hong Kong, Singapore, Bangkok, etc.).

The interviews were slightly technical - meaning I was only asked about what cap rates and IRRs are and industry terminology. Nothing intense. For the most part it was behavioral since the person who was interviewing me was the founder and GP of the firm and in his words he would like to "mold me" (this was after the 4th time meeting with him, I explain more further down).

The first interview he gave me an investment report that the firm created for its prospects on a $21m property out west and told me to "pitch it" to him the next time I saw him. I ended up creating a 2 page economic, operational, and financial overview of the relevant market and property, and attached a simple comps spreadsheet and a "hypothetical" debt servicing schedule (hypothetical because the cash flow statement that he provided me was before debt servicing costs). And I can't even credit myself for creating it, I got help from an industry insider who does CRE debt financing.

I had a second interview with him in which he looked at the report and then concluded the conversation by asking me to get back to him with what I think is an appropriate compensation for a person with no experience at all in the industry. I came back with $80k (I know this figure is high but at this point if he wants to mentor me and if I will be selling to high net worth investors then I had to show him I had balls) and he told me to come back to his office. He told me that not even his MFin associate is making that much right now. He told me to think about it again and get back to him.

Now I am here. I have a 4th meeting/interview/whatever-you-want-to-call-it with the founder next week. I'm left with negotiating with myself at this point. On the one hand I know that this is an extraordinary opportunity for me since I come from a non-target B school with average grades and no experience, so any pay should be fine, theoretically. Yet, on the other hand, my ego is telling me that I shouldn't make less than a recent grad my age is making doing marketing work for some tech startup.

I should also say that I'm a little bit overwhelmed by the situation seeing as I did not expect to get this far in the interview, and neither did I expect to actually get the chance to work at a CRE PE boutique.

As a side note, since it is relevant to my question, I also consider myself intermediate at excel. Meaning I can put together a dcf or a comps and have just started learning about equity waterfalls. I am familiar with many shortcuts and how to structure IF AND OR statements, drop down menus, conditional formatting, and separating input from output data. I can also create charts but admit that I could improve that aspect of my excel skills. I am weak in HLOOKUP and VLOOKUP, INDEX and MATCH, as well as OFFSET and CHOOSE functions.

My question is in two parts:

1) What is a reasonable salary to re-negotiate with this founder? $65k and get brought down to $55 - $60k? Or should I just drop it and put my head down and ask for $50k with specific benchmarks in which my salary goes up after a year by a fixed amount, with talks about bonus after proving myself after a year?

2) If I get this job I will be starting effectively Nov. 2. With this month that I have (32 days), what are the absolutely most essential excel skills that I must master that are relevant to this position so that I do not show up and underperform on my promises? I would be responsible for analyzing the financials of existing investments and valuating prospective ones as well.

For those of you that got this far I thank you for your time. Bananas to you.

Comments (9)

 
9/29/17

Lol you dropped $80k? That's pretty outrageous, he is definitely thinking $50k... I would say $60k + bonus.

All the functions you just mentioned are pretty crucial. Not because they're super important but they make like a lot easier. Also learn pivot tables.

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9/29/17
@RealDonaldTrump:

Lol you dropped $80k?

Yeahhhh I knew it was going to rub someone the wrong way here. I had to come in strong. I think if he sees me negotiating with sellers and clients in the future then I would want to come off as someone who has a certain amount of chutzpah.

Thanks for the advice. I'm highly considering in going in ~$60 - $65k with my bottom being $50k. I'm willing to go that low because of the huge growth potential within this firm.

 
9/29/17

Ask him what he expects to pay. It's wrong to make you guess. If he doesn't give you an answer, tell him you can't negotiate against yourself. For all you know, he wants to pay you $40K. You might be wasting your time even asking for $60K. You also don't know that he's telling the truth regarding the associate's pay. Imagine working for someone who isn't straight forward with you, it won't be fun. Talk to him again, ask for what he is thinking so you can have a knowledgeable conversation, and go from there. If not, hold firm and say you can't negotiate against yourself.

 
9/29/17
pudding:

Ask him what he expects to pay. It's wrong to make you guess. If he doesn't give you an answer, tell him you can't negotiate against yourself. For all you know, he wants to pay you $40K. You might be wasting your time even asking for $60K. You also don't know that he's telling the truth regarding the associate's pay. Imagine working for someone who isn't straight forward with you, it won't be fun. Talk to him again, ask for what he is thinking so you can have a knowledgeable conversation, and go from there. If not, hold firm and say you can't negotiate against yourself.

Thanks for the solid advice. My brother (who's been in RE in a diff. capacity for 10 years) told me something similar as well.

If I still hold firm perhaps I can take the hit and meet him somewhere in the middle after re-negotiating around $65k, I don't mind taking in $55k I just don't want to be doing high level work (that I find interesting) while someone else is making the same, if not more, doing some low level job. Or I might just concede and put my head down and look at the bigger picture (where I can have a serious, more involved, role within the firm).

Thanks for the solid advice.

 
10/1/17

Not really answering your question, but how did you get the interview?

 
10/2/17

It was through one of my brother's colleagues. So the president of this firm is a 3rd connection.

 
1/15/18

He ghosted on me.

Oh, well. Could be a myriad of factors that led to this, I'm thinking perhaps I fucked up but who knows.

On to the next one!

 
1/15/18

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