AMA: 2nd Year REPE Associate

MonkeyWrench's picture
Rank: Neanderthal | banana points 3,232

Wanted to do this since I have recently seen a trend of more CRE posts in general, and quite a few about REPE specifically. Brief background:

-Not really sure if there's such a thing as a 'target' tranche for CRE/REPE in undergraduate schools, but I went to what would probably be grouped as a semi-target, majored in finance/econ, got a 3.6+ GPA. School didn't really have much of a RE program at the time, but did take a few classes.

-CRE hiring market was not great when I graduated, so worked in F500/corp finance for a couple of years before making the jump to CRE. Was networking literally the entire time I was at said F500 before I got a few interviews at different firms. Don't want to expand on this that much as what I was doing at the company was really specific/niche, so it would be hard not to out myself.

-Networking finally paid off and I got a gig at one of the large brokerages as sort of a hybrid generalist/econ/research analyst. Did this for a little under 1.5 years, worked my ass off and got offered to join an investment sales team at the same firm as an analyst. Worked in that capacity for two years, got promoted during that stint.

-Had a 'come-to-Jesus' meeting with the team at the end of the stint, the option was to a) stay on the team, which I considered because I genuinely liked them all and the job itself was not too shabby; or b) go to a buy-side shop. Obviously chose the latter since it was better for me personally. Interviewed a bit and ended up as an acquisitions guy at a REPE firm. Been doing this for about 1.5 years now. Ask away. This might be a pretty busy week so I apologize in advance if there's a delay in responding to anyone.

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Comments (75)

Nov 14, 2017

EDIT: Meant this to be a reply to @pourts below:

First of all, thank you for your service. Additionally, I've always thought being a pilot is pretty impressive, so congrats.

They are OK as far as enhancing your resume to an extent, but I wouldn't recommend any of the formal/university excel courses to be honest. A lot of these are academic only and don't teach a material that will be most useful in a professional setting, whether it be data analysis/aggregation, high finance, or stat modeling. Most people I know that are good at excel either learned it on the job or 'taught themselves'. There are a lot of good (free) online resources like Mr. Excel. Not sure how advanced you are/aren't to begin with, but I recommend starting with something that you can relate to in your life and then building from there on the raw excel skills. Example: instead of using premade apps/software for budgeting or checking on your personal finances, download the raw data from your bank/financial institution from your checking, saving, credit card, etc. and come up with some data points that you want to track/analyze. Or, since you're a pilot I'm sure you are privy to a bunch of cool data that the average person can't access or wouldn't know how to read, so you could start there. This is important, because you have to understand the information you're looking at in order to see if it makes sense/you're doing it right. Once you do that, which should teach you things like vlookup, offset/match, pivot tables, if statements, sumifs, charting, etc. you can move on to cash flow/financial modeling. For that, you can look online for several samples of finished products of DCF's, waterfalls, etc. then try and recreate them.

And of course, if you have any specific questions feel free to PM myself or other users on here that I'm sure would be happy to help.

"Who am I? I'm the guy that does his job. You must be the other guy."

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Nov 15, 2017

Coming from someone that just did that, know excel like the back of your hand, ask smart questions, try to learn as much as you can about real estate investing, and try to be someone who the people at the firm want to spend 10 hours a day with in the office. I came from a target school with previous real estate internships and a good gpa. If you can show you them you truly want to do real estate, that will give you the best opportunity to succeed.

Nov 15, 2017

So what will your title be? I'm curious what compensation jump is like from analyst (fresh out of undergrad) to associate (3-4 years of experience) in REPE. Hypothetically, if an analyst is making 100k all-in, what would you expect that analyst to make in 2-3 years all-in? I'd assume about a $25k - $35k bump?

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Nov 14, 2017

+1 on the advice to learn how to use excel. Might be the best recommendation I've seen on here. The modeling course helps a lot to learn some of the key real estate concepts, but learning how to model well and how to use new functions properly just comes with time and trial and error experience. To really analyze the data you're looking at properly and be able to derive meaningful outputs from it, you must first understand the data and what you truly want to do with it. Once you know the end goal of what you are trying to do, you will be able to figure out how to do it in excel by looking up the functions you need. Then you do it a few more times and it becomes second nature.

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Nov 15, 2017

My title isn't changing at the moment unless something unexpected happens at year end. The comp levels are very difficult to peg across markets and roles since everything is not like-for-like. There's a good thread going on the site right now about comp in CRE, would recommend looking at that. As far as the bump goes, it could be anywhere as low as 10k all the way up to 100K from analyst to associate. Again, it depends on a ton of different factors.

"Who am I? I'm the guy that does his job. You must be the other guy."

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Nov 13, 2017

In terms of interviewing and on the job responsibilities/performance, how was the transition from investment sales to REPE?

What asset classes do you focus on and which asset class have you found the most interesting?

Rough compensation range?

Nov 13, 2017

From a technical perspective, it was a breeze transitioning. If the investment sales team is worth their salt, the volume you will see going to the principal side in general is a lot more manageable. Sometimes you'll go into a really complex rabbit hole, but its nothing that you wouldn't be able to handle. There are a lot of experiential things that you learn coming over to the principal side, but again, that just comes with time.

I'm a generalist, so everything. Personally, I love multifamily and industrial just because in my experience they 1) are less brain damage financially, 2) there are some really cool projects in both of these spaces at the moment (CBD/urban high rise MF; high-tech industrial like Tesla, for example), 3) I generally gravitate towards the markets in which these two have been thriving, 4) I like getting the 'resi' component that multi brings (albeit small) and the big business/logistics component that industrial gives. Retail is 'meh' for me for obvious reasons, and I really don't like office all that much tbh. It's a lot more work for the big core stuff, and for the smaller value-add stuff I just can't get excited anymore about spec'ing out a bunch of creative tenants with gaudy TI's and way-too-high rents, and the rehab/re-positioning that comes with value-add office.

I'm relatively confident that the floor will be in the ~$170 range all-in, but won't know for certain til the end of the year.

"Who am I? I'm the guy that does his job. You must be the other guy."

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Nov 13, 2017

Would you say it's easier to get a job at your firm as a REPE analyst at a boutique shop (over $1bn in AUM) or as an investment sales analyst at CBRE/JLL/HFF/C&W/Eastdil?

Nov 13, 2017

The latter, for sure. I've discussed this with other posters, but I'm of the opinion that the boutique shops on the principal side are usually more of a mixed bag as far as skillset, whereas the investment sales analysts are thought of as more commoditized/standardized. I.e., as a hiring manager I roughly know what I can expect, to a certain degree. So while there are juniors on the principal side that crush it, there are also those on the flip-side. There's a chance that I might get a rockstar with buy-side experience, but the person might also not know shit, whereas if I hire someone from a formal sell-side program/shop, I at least know what I'm getting.

Another thing which doesn't get discussed as much is that a lot of times (as is the case with me), the brokers on the team placed me with my current shop (or at least provided the intro), so in a lot of cases they will open doors that otherwise wouldn't be available since they have direct access to all of their principal/buy-side contacts. This benefits them as well because it places a 'friend of the firm' at one of their clients, thus strengthening the relationship.

"Who am I? I'm the guy that does his job. You must be the other guy."

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Nov 13, 2017

Interesting take. I see where you are coming from. But is it concern if an IS analyst doesn't know how to model JV/waterfall/promote structures/complex financing, etc.?

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Nov 13, 2017

This would be a concern, but I can tell you from personal experience that I give an excel test when hiring that involves JV/waterfall/building a sources & uses schedule, and you would be shocked the percentage of people that can't do it that are juniors on the buy-side vs. the sell-side. But, bottom line is just know how to do these things.

"Who am I? I'm the guy that does his job. You must be the other guy."

Nov 14, 2017

Is it easier to transition into a shop like CIM, CBRE GI, Walton Street, Hines, Related, etc. if your shop invest in operating entities with real estate components as well? Or is that redundant?

Nov 14, 2017

It's not entirely unrelated, but acquiring REOC's/doing re-caps of portfolios is a different animal than buying properties/groups of properties at the asset level. Gives you a good baseline knowledge but the experience is not 1:1.

EDIT: you've got to keep in mind that these companies are in the business of investing in real estate itself, so the focus on their acquisitions hiring is going to be centered around that rather than investing in entities.

"Who am I? I'm the guy that does his job. You must be the other guy."

Nov 14, 2017

What if your have experience in doing both? Will that give you an advantage?

Nov 15, 2017

It might give you a leg up from the perspective that you've had more experience (theoretically) modeling things like complex financing, JV's, etc, but I think it would depend on the hiring team. If you're being hired into a firm that has people at the top coming from other 'high finance' realms then they would probably view it as a positive, but might not necessarily resonate otherwise.

"Who am I? I'm the guy that does his job. You must be the other guy."

Nov 15, 2017

What is the best resource to teach yourself the ins and outs of waterfall modeling? I am on a very similar career track to you, and want to be prepared in the event I start interviewing for REPE associate positions (IS investment sale associate with prior experience as an acquisitions/development associate for a GP/operator).

Nov 15, 2017

The best way to learn that specifically is to give yourself different scenarios and structures and try to model them out, then try to break the model. Example: if you have a 95/5 PP split up front between the LP and GP up to an x% IRR, then going to 85/15 up to x+y% IRR, then 75/25 thereafter. Then, throw in something tricky like having the cash flow be negative one or more years, which will effect the hurdles and distributions/contributions accordingly. Another thing I recommend is making friends with a developer and asking them for some different structures they've seen. I did some independent consulting on the side a while ago for a couple of developers I met and they gave me some crazy scenarios to model/advise them on.

"Who am I? I'm the guy that does his job. You must be the other guy."

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Nov 20, 2017

Thanks, I appreciate the reply. I have a variety of templates, but I am struggling to self-teach. I feel like I need to build practice models from scratch to truly understand like I do the operations side of the business...

Nov 21, 2017

Yeah I would agree you need to build the models. If you use the templates, you will miss some of the nitty-gritty/nuanced stuff. You'll understand the high level info but to master it you need to build them. A hint for you would be to use max/min functions in excel for the different buckets. Doesn't work in every scenario but it's a pretty good starting point.

"Who am I? I'm the guy that does his job. You must be the other guy."

Nov 16, 2017

Interesting. How helpful was it to have brokers on your team making intros for you? I understand that's how you found your current role, but outside of that, did it create a lot of interviews? And did you find it helped your case beyond just landing the first interview? Thanks.

Nov 16, 2017

Extremely helpful. Hard to remember perfectly now but probably got 3 interviews that I wouldn't have been able to get without that. For this one that I ended up taking, they hadn't actually posted it online or anywhere and did it all through similar networking. I think it did help my case because the guys at the firm knew how the brokerage team operated and assumed I knew my stuff because of it. I'll never know if this is true or not but I was told later by someone that I ended up beating out a guy that they were literally a day away from offering from before I started interviewing, so I think it definitely helped to an extent.

"Who am I? I'm the guy that does his job. You must be the other guy."

    • 2
Nov 13, 2017

What are other routes to get into REPE (moreso AM than Acquisitions) aside from being in IS?

What are your typical hours like compared to brokerage?

Nov 13, 2017

I'm not sure I'm understanding your question - do you mean you want to get into REPE on the AM side?

They are significantly less, maybe 70-75% of my previous hours. You work harder when you are in the office, but you are in the office less.

"Who am I? I'm the guy that does his job. You must be the other guy."

Nov 13, 2017

Yeah sorry for miswording.. AM on the REPE side

Nov 13, 2017

Got it. It's a little less formal recruiting usually, although in some cases if it's a portfolio management/Asset Management combo role it can be modeling heavy as well. I'd say if its a traditional AM role though, you could probably come from property management, leasing, research, accounting, etc. and still be competitive 9 times out of 10. But again, I'd say it's firm and role specific.

"Who am I? I'm the guy that does his job. You must be the other guy."

    • 2
Nov 13, 2017

What do you mean by "traditional" AM?

Sorry, not trying to derail your thread btw.. I know you're in Acquisitions but just kind of figured you can shed some light on other areas in REPE such as AM.

Nov 13, 2017

Different firms run their ops differently - i.e., some firms have 'Asset Management' roles that are really more portfolio management, some firms have it where both the roles overlap in the same job, and some have even different structure. By 'traditional' asset management, I mean a role whereby you have a person responsible for the leasing, operations, and performance of an asset that's already been acquired by the firm.

"Who am I? I'm the guy that does his job. You must be the other guy."

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Nov 13, 2017

Thanks for doing this.

Other than networking, and maybe something else that would reveal too much about you, what were some ways you differentiated yourself when you made the initially made the jump from F500 to the large CRE broker, and then switch internally? Is there an alternative to investment sales that you could have chosen to get a similar skillset that would help on the buy-side? I'm in sort of a similar position to where you were several years ago and am strongly considering this.

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Nov 14, 2017

When I was jumping from F500, what I was doing was extremely econ/stat heavy, so I was pretty good at excel at that point which I think was a differentiation vs. people I was competing against just given I didn't have all that much FT experience at the time and I was going for entry level roles. Then when I got to the CRE firm, I made sure I mastered almost everything about excel - after this point, I would tell you that there are probably only 1-2 people I've met that know how to do as much/more than I do with the software. I don't mean that as a bragging point but the reason this is relevant is that it allowed me to do things more quickly than my peers, which allowed me to move on to other tasks/pet projects that made people at the firm notice me. Also, once I made up my mind that the career was for me, I made sure I was the last person in the office almost every night for 1 year +. So short answer, is a combo of technical know how/curiosity coupled with the willpower to put in long hours.

"Who am I? I'm the guy that does his job. You must be the other guy."

    • 3
Nov 14, 2017
MonkeyWrench:

When I was jumping from F500, what I was doing was extremely econ/stat heavy, so I was pretty good at excel at that point which I think was a differentiation vs. people I was competing against just given I didn't have all that much FT experience at the time and I was going for entry level roles. Then when I got to the CRE firm, I made sure I mastered almost everything about excel - after this point, I would tell you that there are probably only 1-2 people I've met that know how to do as much/more than I do with the software.

For someone who is not currently in the business (military pilot), do you have any suggestions on what courses to take now that will boost my excel skills for a future REPE job? I am taking a Coursera course right now on modeling from Wharton, but there aren't any homework assignments or practice sets to do, so I don't feel like I am getting any better.

Nov 14, 2017

Whoops - I don't know why my reply posted above instead of down here but please see above......

"Who am I? I'm the guy that does his job. You must be the other guy."

Nov 13, 2017

Thanks for doing the AMA. How did you handle networking once you had a full time job? I had no issue cold calling or emailing people as a student, but now that I'm working full-time I feel that people are less willing to help out.

Did you reach out to associate level people or senior people? Did you stick to alumni of your school or focus more on emailing companies you could see yourself working at regardless of the persons background? Just curious how you went about it. Also I'm asking as someone who is currently in RE but wants to work on the private equity side in case that changes your response.

Nov 14, 2017

I had a pretty regular routine when I was networking once FT. I got on a pretty good schedule with respect to cooking, working out, etc., so I also added about 45 min-1 hour a day of scouring online sources as well as reaching out to people I knew in some capacity. LinkedIn, online apps, personal connections, you name it. I even took vacations and flew to other cities for interviews a couple of times, although I tried to avoid this for obvious reasons. I had more luck when someone made a connection for me, but wasn't actually at the firm I was trying to connect with. I think this is a sweet spot when you get in with a good reference/connection, but you aren't necessarily too close to the situation for comfort, if that makes sense.

"Who am I? I'm the guy that does his job. You must be the other guy."

    • 1
Nov 14, 2017

I'm in the same boat as you 2nd YR associate at a small <1bn AUM shop.

What in your mind is the timeline to move up to senior associate/VP?

Is carry part of your compensation yet? Have you had that conversation with your firm?

Nov 14, 2017

The timeline in my mind would be probably 1-2 more years for me personally. I think by that point I'll have enough of a handle on how to work the relationships both internally and externally, as well as have a good enough pulse on the markets I'm covering. But again, this depends on a lot of factors.

Carry is not part of my comp yet, but I will say that the place I'm at has a rep for taking care of the juniors better than other shops in my region. The other selling point for me with this place was that it's lean, so after you get through the analyst/associate phase, you have the chance to become the main person in your market(s) without having to go through the AVP/VP stage, which can shave some time off of your 'pathway'.

One sidebar, when the time comes, make sure you clarify wherever you go if the comp package at the upper echelon is true 'carry' or 'participation'. Others have touched on this, but CRE is different on the acquisitions side in that some firms offer straight up carry similar to traditional PE, and some offer the ability to put up your own money/invest in the funds that your firm manages. Some do both. Both are good, but just make sure you go in with eyes wide open.

"Who am I? I'm the guy that does his job. You must be the other guy."

    • 3
Nov 14, 2017

Does your firm higher undergrads? Any advice for undergrads hoping to work in REPE, specifically acquisitions? What might you look for in an undergraduate candidate pursuing an analyst role in terms of schooling, experience, intangibles, etc?

Array

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Nov 15, 2017

My firm does hire undergrads, but not on the acquisitions side specifically. The reason for that is there's definitely a level of poise and savvy you need to have in this job that would quite frankly be next to impossible to have out of undergrad. I know that if I was thrown in to the role I have now fresh out of school I would have been eaten alive. Acquisitions people set the tone for the performance of a fund for years down the line, so there's little room for error in the work. You have to heavily vet each deal and market, otherwise it will be a source of recurring pain.

As far as what you can do, there's the obvious stuff like get good grades, etc. You have to have a really solid technical background. What I mean by that is you should be able to get an OM or call from a broker about a deal, and without needing to ask questions to your superiors, be able to underwrite it from start to finish, defend all of your assumptions, be able to speak to the market, know who the other owners/investors/sellers are in the area, know the construction pipeline in the area, demographics, and most importantly be able to sell it to the investment committee and understand why you're buying it. Spoiler alert: the answer 'the returns look good' is not acceptable. So if there's a way you can demonstrate on your resume or in interviews that you are a thoughtful, creative person that can figure out the answer to the question 'how-do-we-make-money-on-this-deal-while-also-covering-our-asses?', that would be ideal. It's easier said than done on a resume, and full disclosure, I never really had to present myself this way once I got my foot in the door, because I just did everything I could to demonstrate it at work.

Hope that helps a little.

"Who am I? I'm the guy that does his job. You must be the other guy."

    • 4
Nov 16, 2017

What are your long-term goals with the firm (or the industry)? How do you plan on making those things happen?

What has been unexpected about working in REPE? What would you do differently knowing what you know now?

Any examples of big learning experiences from deals so far (even if from watching how Managing Partners in your firm think about/approach a deal)?

Best Response
Nov 16, 2017

Thanks for the questions. Aside from the obvious answer of hopefully becoming a partner and getting a pretty good carry/equity/comp package, I think I see myself being the main deal/acquisitions guy in my market(s) at my current firm or one like it. I've also thought of eventually going on my own with a few other guys in the industry and doing a combo shop where we do the usual REPE stuff (value add, reposition, etc) in one fund and then have another pet project fund where we invest as the LP in smaller local developments. Between these other guys and I, we know enough about development to be dangerous and are interested in it, but don't have all the relationships to do everything ourselves, so this would be an interesting route. On the side, I was pretty disciplined with saving the first few years of my career (read: eating ramen & cereal way too much) so I'm in early stages of creating a (very) small personal RE portfolio as a side hustle. My goal with that is to have at least 10 units as soon as I'm able that can give me some relatively stable side income.

I don't know if it's necessarily unexpected, but two things I have come to appreciate even more are: 1) just how difficult it is to actually win a deal in this business, especially in the current market climate. The senior guys in our office have stellar reputations (which is one of the main reasons I joined) and even they lose out on deals more often than you would think. I've seen some pretty gnarly things that other shops have done to get awarded deals (like make bad concessions or agree to bad terms in the negotiation/offering process) so I'm glad I ended up where I did. This is largely a roll of the dice though unless you are able to do research beforehand or know the firm well going into it. 2) How much time is spent fundraising vs. actually executing deals. I mean don't get me wrong, I always knew that the capital raising is one of, if not the, hardest part of being on the principal side, but even at a shop like ours which has a good track record and long-standing, healthy relationships, so much of the seniors' time is devoted to going to conferences, investor events, etc. It's not unlike brokerage in that regard. Don't think I'd do anything differently necessarily, but I definitely want to get exposed to this aspect of the business since it's invaluable if I were to decide to ever go out on my own.

Yes, this has been the biggest learning curve, just learning how to think about this stuff. It's way different switching from the sell-side to the buy-side just from the standpoint of how the deal is viewed. It sounds obvious, but its a very intricate process. Without revealing too much, I can tell you a funny story about a time where we were pretty deep in the woods on this one deal, and then when we were about to throw out an offer to the brokers, a few of our senior guys had a conversation and said something to the effect of 'wait, doesn't [one of our competitors] own this deal?' and one of the other guys was like 'yeah I think you're right' and everyone in the meeting just starts sighing and cursing, and then I was sitting there with a perplexed look on my face, and one of the head honchos asks me to tell him how much they purchased it for back like 7 years ago when they bought it, and after I told him the #, they go 'well shit, that's like a 2x multiple - do we really want to make them look like heroes? How will it look to our investors if we buy this deal from our competitors? They might come back and say "why didn't you guys buy this deal 7 years ago instead of now at a mark-up from one of your main competitors?" and then go invest their money with them next time.' Sorry for the long winded response, but you can see an example of the schemes-within-schemes that everyone engages in for the sake of optics and perception. This had nothing to do with the deal returns itself - by all measures we still would have made good money on the deal, but we opted to chase another asset which we were then awarded and closed about 1.5 months later.

"Who am I? I'm the guy that does his job. You must be the other guy."

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Jan 10, 2018

Thanks for doing this! I am currently working in multifamily in the UK which is a relatively new market compared with the US and not seen in the commercial sense. I am trying to break into the commercial sector, offices/industrial and become more of a generalist but I am getting turned down because I am too "residential focused".

As such, I am trying to tailor my CV to demonstrate my transferable skills/experiences in each deal I've worked on. So jumping to the question....................

Having spent some time in the industry, what kind of skill sets/experiences would you recommend someone on the sell-side demonstrate in their CV? (aside from modelling/excel as that's a pre-requisite) Having some input from someone who has made a similar jump would be great!

Nov 21, 2017

This isn't the ONLY thing you could do, but I'd recommend trying to play up other parts of the deal process that you've been involved in (ex: bid process, calls with prospective buyers, helping organize the DD, fielding calls from buyers about DD, working with the debt team to structure the loan/come up with the assumptions, go on property tours, do some market research, maybe even go to a pitch or help create the pitch, etc.) Each shop is organized differently so some of these functions may be done by others solely, but to the extent possible, try and be involved in as many aspects of the deal as you can.

"Who am I? I'm the guy that does his job. You must be the other guy."

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Nov 22, 2017

+1

Jan 10, 2018

How did you keep yourself motivated and what did you do for money during your unpaid/ underpaid years?

Jan 10, 2018

I don't think I did anything that extraordinary beyond just continuously looking out for new interviewing opportunities and networking connections. If I had to break it down... When I was making no money, the motivation was to start making money (I also had a meaningless job managing the books for a friend's company making very little but he gave me complete flexibility do network and do anything related to the internship). When I was unhappy at the startup getting into finance regardless of the pay was the answer. When that sucked, more money was the answer. Interviews are exciting so that kept me going and I'm a people person so the networking aspect isn't hard. I had plenty of time at that job to send emails to relevant contacts during my days.

Finally at the trading and analytics firm the money was catching up to what I wanted, but the job wasn't fulfilling in that I didn't go home thinking about it most nights. I had always wanted to work at the firm I'm at now and really liked the networking connection I had there so staying in touch with him was natural. It wasn't something where I was just constantly poaching him, but rather just staying in touch and keeping him updated as to what I was doing.

Jan 10, 2018

Please comment on comp/hrs/culture/size of fund to whatever extent you feel comfortable.
Also more details on what happend with your brief career as a poker player would be interesting. Thanks

"Truth is like poetry. And most people fucking hate poetry."

Jan 10, 2018

This question will be a bit hard for me to answer because I'm joining the fund at an odd time. The hours at the fund were very typical 40-45 hour work weeks unless you wanted to be around longer to do things in effort to stand out. There are times when this would change of course, but that was the norm. Compensation is hard for me to compare because I haven't spent a lot of time interviewing or researching other firms, but think analysts at 70-80, associates at 85-110 plus ~100% bonus. Funds in total are larger than $2B but less than $15, investments have widely varying check sizes and portfolio is a mix of ~60% office, ~10% exotic hotel, ~15% retail, ~15% multifamily all across the country/Caribbean.

Re the poker, care to ask anything more specific? I got started playing right after high school and fell in love with the game. Began playing online when I moved into the dorms as a freshman. Dropped out as a sophomore even though poker wasn't going great at the time. Eventually focused on heads up no limit hold em' cash games and was making low six figures for 4-5 years. Played the WSOP main event twice. Played in countless underground poker games chalk full of shady/interesting characters. Eventually went back to school while still playing online poker professionally, until it was taken away in 2011, at which time I was almost done with college.

Edit: Since I'm new to this and learning the space, I work more like 60 hours a week for now, sometimes more but a lot of it is just on me to be learning on my own.

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Jan 10, 2018

Did you quit poker or do you still play on a recreational level? If you were making low six figures, why did you decide to move on to a different career?

Jan 10, 2018

Online gambling became illegal in the US

Jan 10, 2018

Whoops, didn't see this. Monopoly nailed it though, online poker got taken away on 4/15/2011. I was trying to move on from poker anyways because the writing was on the wall that it was getting a lot harder and honestly I didn't work that hard. Unfortunately though, I was in the midst of a rekindled love affair the last couple of months online poker was around where I was really really enjoying it again and grinding pretty hard. In the 10-11 school year I really only focused on poker and school. The school part of it just meant going to every single class, I didn't have to do much work beyond that. As for poker during that time, I was probably playing 40 hours a week (along with the 15 credits at school) and was doing so before class, in between class and on nights when I have to study, I'd often sit at empty poker tables and only study school when I had no poker action going on (waiting for heads up opponents).

Jan 10, 2018

I'm not a poker player, but there are some great documentaries on the collapse of online gambling.

Jan 10, 2018

Have any of the skills you acquired playing poker subsequently aided you in the investment world?

"Look, it tells time simultaneously in Monte Carlo, Beverly Hills, London, Paris, Rome, and Gstaad." - Louis Winthorpe III

Jan 10, 2018

I have a very tough time relating to my ignorant self, so it's hard to say because once I learn things I take for granted what it was like not knowing them. I think poker helped me a lot with people reading skills in all social situations, whether it be analyzing someone's voice tone on the phone when you're asking investigative questions or reading someone's face while they're talking to you.

Beyond that, poker taught me that most skills you want can be acquired if you follow a solid formula and put in the work. I would say I'm not really a hard worker, just persistent and attentive, so I think anyone can do this. Poker also taught me to constantly be thinking of things in terms of expected value rather than constantly being a results oriented thinker.

Jan 10, 2018

Congrats dude, did you do anything modeling classes or self taught to prepare yourself for your job?

Jan 10, 2018

Thanks! No formal class besides a financial modeling class in college. Mostly self taught I guess, some lynda stuff years ago.

Jan 10, 2018

Congrats! How are you liking the gig so far? Have you always been interested in real estate?

Jan 10, 2018

The work has been enjoyable so far, I feel like I'm learning a lot and I have to be ON every day which is exciting for me.

I wouldn't say I've always had some type of crazy passion for real estate, no. In general I'm a very curious guy and there is plenty of appeal in this space for that. Most of what drew me to this firm was the contact I had here.

Jan 10, 2018

Thanks for the post - congrats on finally getting in - i'm impressed by your resilience! I'm interested in why you wanted to work for that REPE firm in particular and what you did differently the 3rd time (if anything at all). Also, looking back, do you think you would you have done anything differently in order to get the job without having to go through the other jobs/internships (or are you happy with your organic growth as it made you appreciate the position you're in now)? Any advice would be great!

"Average people have great ideas. Legends have great execution"

Jan 10, 2018

Thanks! Compliments about resilience are always so flattering to me.

I think I mentioned it above, but was mostly drawn to the firm because of my contact here. When you ask about what I did differently the third time, that's a complicated question to answer. I've always had a unique way with people, but it was very polarizing. As I've matured and become more social over the years (this took work and was definitely not all related to job searching) interviews have become a lot more natural and I shoot myself in the foot less than I used to as my anxiety for this sort of thing has greatly fallen over the years due to experience I guess.

That's a hell of a question as to whether or not I wish I could have just gotten an analyst spot here straight out of college. I guess I'd be in a better position financially and professionally if that had worked out, but I like the story of how I've refused to take no for an answer and got here anyways. I get pumped up watching that Lebron James I'm not even supposed to be here commercial as I feel it's very metaphoric of my life in general, from high school to poker to work now.

If I could do it all again, there are some interviews where I'd take back some choke job moments I had, but those help you grow and I can laugh at them now.

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Jan 10, 2018

Can you describe your networking approach? Did you just reach out to alumni?

Did you have amazing modeling skills which landed you an offer or did your networking and ability to sell yourself on your passion/motivation mainly land you yourgig?

Jan 10, 2018

My networking approach was legitimately all over the place. I reached out to any family & friends who were in the business or who knew someone who was. I reached out to all of my poker contacts trying to access their networks. I went to an alumni event my college did in NYC, networked through professors (I'd introduce myself to them during office hours AFTER the first test, tell them my story and my goals). I tutored a kid who's dad was CEO of a large public company in the area ($20MM+ salary) and tried to network through him. I would cold connect to all sorts of people on LinkedIn, mostly alumni, but not all, with a message about my unique background and desire to break into high finance (I'd be more specific with them based on what they did). Basically, any time I met anyone who I thought could help, I was networking. I tried to do this in such a way to not bother the living shit out of them and think I did pretty well at that, but calibrating here can be tough. Alumni is definitely the easiest way but it's far from the only way. If you're a good speaker who is capable of making people believe that you're intelligent/trust worthy/respectable, you can take it a long way - just don't be shy.

No amazing modeling skills to sell and was not interested in trying to bluff anyone there. I basically just never stopped selling myself as a curious and interested guy who would work hard and be a good colleague.

Jan 10, 2018

When it came to networking, how did you keep in touch with your 'strong' connections throughout your unemployment and job searching?

Was it as simple as sending relevant articles, congratulating them on a position? Or was there more thought put into it?

Jan 10, 2018

I updated them on everything I was doing/trying. When I got interviews, I'd let them know, then I'd follow up with an honest take on how I thought I did/where I could improve. I tried A LOT of things during those years, so this wasn't very difficult. Also, when you meet these people, see if there is anything you can help them with. As an example, I met an associate at a local venture capital firm and hit it off after he was impressed by my poker background. At the time, he was doing early research on launching a fund that invested in peer to peer loans. I was able to help him with that because I asked and it was good experience even though it didn't directly amount to anything. All of these things are just efforts to buy yourself more lottery tickets. Any individual ticket is unlikely to win, but if you accumulate enough of them, your odds aren't so bad.

I've never sent someone an article to talk about (have mentioned a few when chatting in person over coffee), nor have I ever congratulated anyone on a promotion or position unless they were already a friend or colleague. I think it was as simple as trying to meet interesting people and then attempting to convert them into friendly mentors. From there, you'll see which ones have time for you and stick around.

Nov 22, 2017

Thanks for doing an AMA. I was wondering if you could elaborate on the "come to Jesus" moment. Was I sort of expected/communicated that you would possibly leave before that moment? I currently
Work as an analyst on an I-sales team and feel like the team is hoping I stay with them long term given how much their investing in me. In your opinion, is this team dependent, market dependent or commonplace industry wide? It's interesting because one of the beat places to prep future buy side analysts is brokerage shops, but I feel like the churn at these "sell side" type roles isn't nearly as high as other industries.

Nov 24, 2017

You're correct that the churn isn't as high. I hate to sound like a broken record but a lot of it is firm/team/market specific. At some spots (shops like Eastdil, for example), the promotions/bumps are fairly standard, as in you spend a couple years as an analyst, then it's either up-or-out, similar to banking - they usually make it very clear whether they want you to hang around or not. At other shops, there's more of a gray area between the analyst and associate/junior broker level, and you have to essentially force your hand with the brokers you work with to signal to them that you want to continue on as a full-fledged broker, otherwise they may not know/plan to move you (think CBRE, JLL). In the latter case, you have to be prepared to leave in the even that the conversation doesn't go well (i.e., have some other irons in the fire) and you have to have some semblance of what you're asking for (pay structure, job function, etc.). Some of this will be dependent on current head-count (is there enough to go around for another junior broker, is there an opening for one, etc.). After I had the conversation with them and thinking about what was said, I made it clear that I wanted to move-on (in a nice way) and then went from there. For me specifically, there was a spot open or at least I perceived there was one, so I had the conversation with them accordingly. I would definitely urge you to have the conversation prior to leaving, however, as that will avoid any bridge burning and also ensure that you haven't left money/a better opportunity on the table.

"Who am I? I'm the guy that does his job. You must be the other guy."

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Nov 22, 2017

Can you talk about what sort of modeling do you do? Do you use ARGUS at all? What's the day to day like? And what sort of questions were you asked in the interview process? I have an REPE interview coming up and not sure what to expect. Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

Nov 24, 2017

I do or have done pretty much all type of modeling as far as type of deals/structures if that is what you mean. Basically, if one can buy it, I've looked at it (ground leases, fee simple dirt, development deals, core, value-add, opportunistic, etc.). I do use Argus often, with heavy excel use depending on the product/deal type. Day to day depends on if there's a live deal or not and whether I'm traveling. If no live deal or travel, usually breaks down to about 30-40% of time on the phone/meeting with brokers looking at or discussing new deals, 30-40% analysis (deal underwriting, market data, news, research, preparing IC briefs, reviewing junior work, etc.) and the remaining 20-40% allocated to internal meetings/work, industry events, dinners/lunches/drinks with brokers, and ad hoc/miscellaneous things that come up, usually having to do with investor relations/presentations. If there's a live deal, reduce all categories by about 10-15% each and throw them into DD/closing/'administrative tasks' for closing. Obviously if traveling, it's made up of mostly the travel itself, touring, and meetings.

For interview questions, it's a mixed bag as I've mentioned, but know how to do a DCF, waterfall, sources and look at some comp metrics for the markets you'd be covering and you should be OK if there is a test. I've had a couple places give me a test where you have to model either a development deal or one of the things I mentioned above from scratch, and I've also had some where they just do it based on fit. For my current role, there was no test or technical portion, mainly due to the fact that they knew the team I was at previously and were confident that I knew my shit.

"Who am I? I'm the guy that does his job. You must be the other guy."

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Nov 23, 2017

Hey Mate

Nice Story! Eager to get some advice - 2nd yr UK target with completed spring weeks and a summer offer for Google (think sales / consulting style roles) but still going for buy side AM internships. Looking around at various shops, I see a load of real estate internship opportunities however they all require previous experience; common across all firms. My thinking is, fewer people have the relevant exp for RE and so less competition.

Given that I myself dont have any relevant exp; in your view, what should this experience consist of? Local estate agents or ??? Hard to get anything as all RE firms all require exp. Initial attempts at networking with people organising calls etc hasn't worked and targetting smaller shops hasnt worked either.

Would appreciate your thoughts.

Nov 23, 2017

Hello,

Where did you find all those internship offers?
You may try abroad maybe?

Nov 23, 2017

Network, reach out to people and see if they would consider an intern. Also, consider working unpaid if you must... I worked unpaid, but it was the best thing I ever did because I got great experience and the guy I worked for helped me get my next internship at a PERE 50 firm

Array

Nov 24, 2017

Please, please take this with a grain of salt, as I unfortunately have 0 experience in Europe or the UK, but assuming that the landscape there is anything similar to the US, I would urge you to try and get some type of CRE modeling or market research experience, whether part time or as an internship, co-op, etc. If that doesn't work, you could try getting some type of client service/marketing/sales assistant role on a commercial investment sales team and parlay that into something down the road. If by local estate agent you mean residential listing agent, I would advise you not to start here if you want to get into commercial eventually. You can make a killing in residential, but it is a pain in the ass to switch over to commercial at a later date.

"Who am I? I'm the guy that does his job. You must be the other guy."

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Nov 25, 2017

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Nov 27, 2017

"Who am I? I'm the guy that does his job. You must be the other guy."

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Nov 24, 2017
Nov 24, 2017

"Who am I? I'm the guy that does his job. You must be the other guy."

    • 1