Thanks in advance to any CRE professionals who read this and can share wisdom. As my forum title said, I'm looking for advice on how to make a mid-career switch into CRE. I'm at a crossroads and thought this might be a good place to come for insight.
I spent the past 10 years working in Consumer Packaged Goods (CPG) analytics and research, supporting the large manufacturers that everyone is familiar with. My work was consultative, strategic, & analytical in nature, but what I was measuring (sales metrics, price elasticity, correlations, consumer behavior, etc) was much different than typical financial measures (Cap Rate,, NPV, etc).That wasn't my first job, so obviously I'm not a fresh undergrad, and I know that my options are more limited at this point. Plus, the closest financial experience I have is from taking MIT"s commercial real estate finance & investment short course.
About 5 years ago, I had opportunities with JLL in their HQ but passed because my wife was getting recruited for an out-of-state job. Given that I was comfortable with numbers & research, they thought Capital Markets could be a good fit which I was interested in. Our new city was a top 10 metro area and JLL didn't have the same breadth of opportunities there, so I stayed in my industry. A while later, I was introduced to a few guys at HFF who could get me an interview if I was interested. But at that point, my wife had been promoted to a C-level job, she had a crazy schedule, was the breadwinner, plus we had a one-year old. Being realistic, pursuing a job in Capital Markets wasn't going to mesh with my family life.
My family has since relocated to Orange County California and the kids are a bit older, so I started exploring CRE again. Honestly, my wife has a great job and I don't need to work, but I want a life outside of home and genuinely liked real estate since I was a kid. I haven't had much luck generating interest over the past 1.5 years though: I've gotten no traction with research-related roles. Capital Markets always piqued my interest from being close to deals, but the reputable shops seem to require logging considerable hours. I'm not allergic to hard work, but have to be realistic about balancing family commitments (ie I can't be at the office from 7-7+ because of daycare drop offs & pick ups). Brokerage seems like it has a relatively low point of entry, but I get the sense that it's more critical to join a strong team (and landing in those positions can be difficult). I also toyed with the idea of finding smaller/ mid-size developers, say that I want to learn the industry and will work for free for a bit (since my family is in a fine financial position, and having any type of experience in CRE seems to be very important).
At this point, it seems like Brokerage and the development strategy I mentioned might be my best options to make a transition. Based on my experience, are there other areas of CRE that I might want to consider? You only know what you know, and I'd love some other points of view