Better entry role into commercial real estate: Asset Management or CRE Credit Analyst (MM Bank)

First time poster. I've been trying to make a career pivot from consulting into commercial real estate. I have two very different interviews, and was hoping to get insight from individuals who are/have performed in similar roles, and the better exit opportunities.

Given that I'm currently pigeonholed, I want to make sure my next move opens the most doors. Ideal track: I'd love to work in RE investment banking, but ultimately want to work in acquisitions (PE or RE owner/operator). Any thoughts on a "best position"? Obviously, an acquisitions role is the best, but that's not in the cards I'm currently dealt.

Both roles in NYC.

Interview 1: Asset Manager at a small affordable housing investment company (approx 10 properties in the portfolio). Sell on the job, growing company with lots of exposure and potential cross-over to acquisitions.

Interview 2: CRE Credit Analyst at a middle market bank. Avg. loan size $5-$50MM. Sell on the job, MM bank on resume.

Side note: I'm enrolled in a MS RE program, so that should add some value down the road, but not the main point of the post.

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Comments (7)

Jan 28, 2018 - 6:34pm

AUM: unclear. They do a lot of joint ventures, not-for-profit deals/LIHTC deals. LIHTC is complicated enough, I'm not sure how to decipher their AUM as it's not listed on the website. I'd imagine this would create better exit opps into acquisitions, but don't want to get too niche in AH.

Also, I guess I should add I have looked at all areas of RE. Had an interview with HFF, small PE shop doing senior housing, REITs, other RE development/investment companies. No luck to date - biggest push back has been lack of pure real estate experience/acquisitions.

Jan 28, 2018 - 8:03pm

I would avoid the LIHTC asset manager. You would learn a lot about property operations, but AM for LIHTC properties is NOT fun. I was previously in acquisitions at a LIHTC syndicator and the asset managers have to deal with all of the crap that comes along with LIHTC properties (poor on-site management, developers violating operating agreements or completely disregarding the agreed upon cash flow waterfall, and of course tenants not paying rent). It's a tough job and I felt bad for them everyday. In my opinion, the credit analyst would be a much better position for your long-term goals. More hands-on modeling experience and REPE firms will at least give you a look after 2+ years there. Good luck in your search.

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Jan 28, 2018 - 8:31pm

First off, you mentioned you just had interviews not offers, so I would focus more on preparing for them instead of weighing which would be the better opportunity when there is currently no offers.

Besides that, I would say the bank is the better opportunity, however, that is not to say a transition into REPE would be easy. I know of two NYC MM banks currently hiring for Analyst type roles (assume its one of them I'm thinking of) and I would say if so, a straight exit op to a REPE would be extremely difficult. The better route would be to do 1-2 years at the MM bank, lateral to a WF/JP type lender, than after 1 year or so try and move to REPE. The thing with RE is, it is not as structure as say traditional PE, where guys who go the MM IB route are still shoe ins for at least MM PE role. In REPE, even with small shops, you'll have Analysts who have come from the likes of Eastdil, top lenders, REIB, top IS teams, etc. My point basically being that ANY REPE job is an extremely coveted role and sought out after. You are also pursuing an MSRE (NYU I am assuming).. I would focus heavily on networking and maybe trying to secure a quality internship in say REPE. You may be better off waiting a bit and securing better opportunities.

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Jan 28, 2018 - 8:47pm

Thanks all for the posts so far. Seems my thinking is at least on track with the AH being intricate and niche.

NYYCRE...very valid point. No offers in hand, which could make this post moot. I guess the better question would have been, since they are two completely different roles, which would you focus on more given two in one day.

That being said: yes, NYU. Curious which two MM banks you're thinking of. I might add my next role doesn't need to be PE - just a longer term career track. I wouldn't mind a few hops that ultimately got me into PE.

All in all, still very good advice and has at least given me some focus areas (in my mind) for the interviews and other potential job postings to pursue in the future.

Best Response
Jan 29, 2018 - 10:00pm
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