Advice: PE FOF -> REPE worth it?

Hey monkeys, I am currently contemplating a switch from PE FOF to REPE.

Reasons for wanting to make the switch:

  • Want more intellectually stimulating work. PE FOF is mind-numbing at best.
  • Want to gain a concrete skillset. At the end of the day, PE FOF work is just about evaluating people. It's not much of a skillset to be honest.
  • Want better exit opportunities + career with longer runway. Speaking to those above me, many find themselves trapped and unable to get out after staying for too long. I understand that REPE is also very niche, but I don't believe the exit opps are as suffocating as PE FOF? I have been trying to get out of my role for the past few years but have not been successful.
  • Can't get into IB / Corporate M&A roles. Have been rejected for all the processes I have been through. 

My question for the more experienced monkeys on the forum.

  • Is the switch worthwhile? Happy to hear from others who have made the switch as well.
  • What other factors should I consider? I know I will have to entertain a paycut to make the switch since the REPE AUM is much smaller.

Thank you

Comments (9)

 
  • Associate 1 in RE - Comm
Feb 21, 2021 - 11:16pm

The way you're talking about it... no, REPE is not for you.

 

REPE is the exit opp. If you're doing it for "exit opps", it's 100% the wrong field. Your exit opps are other RE related roles and other REPE shops. 
 

If you love real estate, go for it. But it sounds like you don't care for it at all and just want to get out of FOF (don't blame you)

 

If you're getting interviews for IB and corporate roles, I would keep at it. You will land something with time

 
Feb 22, 2021 - 9:58am

 

The way you're talking about it... no, REPE is not for you.

 

REPE is the exit opp. If you're doing it for "exit opps", it's 100% the wrong field. Your exit opps are other RE related roles and other REPE shops. 
 

If you love real estate, go for it. But it sounds like you don't care for it at all and just want to get out of FOF (don't blame you)

 

If you're getting interviews for IB and corporate roles, I would keep at it. You will land something with time

Thank you. When you say RE related roles, what do you mean. Like asset managers and so on?

Is it easy to move from an REPE role to other areas of RE? 

Unfortunately, I don't have any ongoing IB / Corporate M&A interviews in progress.

 
Feb 22, 2021 - 9:11am

Why real estate? I mean, I can easily get why you don't like the FOF world, in past jobs I've consulted for equivalent type of funds in RE space, and yeah I totally get what you mean about that work. Still, are you really trying to make real estate a career? I'm guessing you don't want to join the capital markets/IR side of real estate (maybe better than current role), and want to be in an actual front line asset based role for a buyside frim. That is definitely a "jump" so some downshift in title/pay may be required (really hard to say as we don't know where you stand now).

Final point, you need to be super clear about what you are trying to do when applying/networking. Personally, I would think your path to IB/Corp M&A roles would be far easier than into real estate, so if you are seeking this because it easier to get in the door, I would personally expect the opposite (again, without knowing more about you personally and your day to day work exp, this is just a high level guess). 

I say this because firms generally want, look for people with dedicated interests in real estate (the "why real estate" question is one you should expect early in interviews). There are many that will "screen out" people from finance who appear to be looking to jump because they are unhappy in other finance role (in fairness, a lot of us see many of the other coveted high-finance fields/roles as boring by comparison, personal opinion to be sure!) 

 
Feb 22, 2021 - 9:56am

redever

Why real estate? I mean, I can easily get why you don't like the FOF world, in past jobs I've consulted for equivalent type of funds in RE space, and yeah I totally get what you mean about that work. Still, are you really trying to make real estate a career? I'm guessing you don't want to join the capital markets/IR side of real estate (maybe better than current role), and want to be in an actual front line asset based role for a buyside frim. That is definitely a "jump" so some downshift in title/pay may be required (really hard to say as we don't know where you stand now).

Final point, you need to be super clear about what you are trying to do when applying/networking. Personally, I would think your path to IB/Corp M&A roles would be far easier than into real estate, so if you are seeking this because it easier to get in the door, I would personally expect the opposite (again, without knowing more about you personally and your day to day work exp, this is just a high level guess). 

I say this because firms generally want, look for people with dedicated interests in real estate (the "why real estate" question is one you should expect early in interviews). There are many that will "screen out" people from finance who appear to be looking to jump because they are unhappy in other finance role (in fairness, a lot of us see many of the other coveted high-finance fields/roles as boring by comparison, personal opinion to be sure!) 

Appreciate the inputs!

I honestly don't know whether real estate is something I want to make a career in but it sounds lightyears more interesting than my current role. Ultimately, career mobility  means a lot to me having experienced what it is like to work in a PE FOF (which is basically a dead end). If a role in real estate allows me access to this, I would seriously consider it. Please don't take this the wrong way and think that I am going in just to move on into greener pastures. For context, my current firm saw a downsizing and while I survived it I can't be sure if there would be another one around the corner. I tried hard to get out since then but realized how trapped I was. This is an absolutely awful situation to be in and I wouldn't want to be in the same position again. Hence my emphasis on career mobility.

And yes, I tried hard to get into IB / Corporate M&A but never managed to secure anything.

So if you don't mind me asking - what kind of career mobility does an REPE role give you?

Thank you.

 

 
Feb 22, 2021 - 12:54pm

Have you been to business school already? Also, if you're not totally sure if real estate is the end goal, are you in a major city where you can take 1 or 2 RE focused classes, like NYU Schack's Certificate Program. Trying out a class may help you determine if real estate is for you. And if it is, it'll help you sell yourself to firms to prove your interest. 

 
Feb 22, 2021 - 6:18pm

First, a quick point... Many people come to real estate after being dissatisfied or bored with their first chosen role. Some of us do this in college (I wanted to be an engineer first, then got really fucking bored with it, switched major to finance, rest is history). So, if this is becoming you, embrace it, welcome to the club, we hope you stay awhile!

To your "career mobility" question, aka the dreaded "Exit Ops" question constantly thrown around in this forum.....

You actually haven't given enough info to answer! I.e, what job are you getting in "REPE" (a very overused/misunderstood term)....

On general terms, if you work in the buyside of real estate, you should have mobility within similar asset classes, fund types, and otherwise your "world".. and really you can jump around those with some effort. Once you are in, you are in. 

Not too sure what to say about "jumping out", I mean as others say.... "REPE is the exit op" (i.e. what else would you want to do?)... generally people who enter the institutional real estate world don't leave it that often, usually by choice, people work here because they want to. Far more people on the outside looking in than the other way around. You could clearly go to the "sell side" or real estate services/consulting or potentially into development (a unique variety of a buyside activity). 

I'd guess you could "jump back" to other parts of finance/PE/etc. Just usually its a flow in the other direction but people do make such jumps from time to time (generally junior people, as would be too big a cut at mid and senior levels). 

 

 
Feb 23, 2021 - 8:59am

redever

You actually haven't given enough info to answer! I.e, what job are you getting in "REPE" (a very overused/misunderstood term)....

Hey @redever, appreciate the lengthy reply. To clarify on this point, the company is a fund with ~ USD 100 MM AUM, they use the funds to buy over sites and develop residential / commercial properties on it and then flip them to make money.

Yes, agreed about the point that REPE is the exit opp, I just want to be able to move to different areas within RE and not just stuck like how I am in this FOF role.

Anyway maybe I am thinking too far ahead here ... I haven't even gone for the first round interview yet (next week) :P Thanks for your advice!

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