Coffee with MRED Alumni

Hello all,

I will be getting coffee with an alumnus of a program I am interested in soon and wanted to ask for advice on appropriate things to ask them.

Questions I plan to ask:

did the program compliment your skills
do you feel like you had access to useful connections / good firms and did you land a meaningful position
in your experience can the loans be paid off within "x" years
did anyone you know of land international positions without having a foreign relative (lol)

Anything else you can think of I could ask?

Comments (7)

 
Most Helpful
Oct 24, 2018 - 4:12pm

Honestly, the first two are the only valuable questions and even then, really only the first one is appropriate. I'm not saying you shouldn't be honest, but asking whether a loan can be paid off in "x" years is so dependent on your work ethic, intelligence, luck, and as a result of those, the actual position you end up in.

You'll probably get more valuable answers, certainly less stock answers, by asking about their particular experience. Which courses do they regret not taking (or taking)? What extracurricular groups were the most valuable networking? Are there particular professors to avoid, or classes to take because guest lecturers tend to be actual RE professionals and thus you can get in front of them?

To be honest, just reading the posts on this site that get shit on versus answered thoughtfully are a good guide. No one likes or respects the kids coming on and asking if they have X.XX GPA from University of ABC can they get into GS M&T. Those kinds of questions are meaningless. So asking a specific question about specific jobs people land, or specific salaries they got, is not going to allow the alumnus to give you real feedback about his/her experience. Plus, the program almost certainly will have stats on average salaries and positions its graduates place into.

Ask broader questions that are specific to the program, and not formulaic ones that exist solely to reassure you that you're making the right decision. Obviously the decision to get a grad degree is highly motivated by future earning potential, but this random person can't speak for your intelligence, ethic, or experience, so ask them about things they will be able to impart some firsthand knowledge of.

 
Oct 24, 2018 - 8:53pm

I would imagine the meeting would be more about you and less about the program. The campus admissions/recruiters/faculty/current students will tell you everything you need to know about the program, and this guy isn't a tour guide so I would avoid treating him like one. I'd be ready to answer the questions as to why this program is a good fit for you, what you're interested in, what you spend your free time doing, deals you've worked on, areas you feel weak in/want to improve, etc. I see it being way more about you than him. If you ask the sort of question like "what do you think this degree opened up for you that you otherwise would not have been offered" then he's just going to dictate his accomplishments because who knows how to really quantify that, and he's not going to short-sell the program he graduated from.
Maybe a better way to ask that sort of question is "how often do you rely on the alumni network in your day-to-day" and ask for specifics of how the alumni collaborate and support each other.
I'm somewhat going through the same process myself, so these questions are on my mind a lot. You likely won't get a second chance at this amount of uninterrupted facetime without bringing a deal to him, so make it count!
I'd also probably ask about the 'fun' things he/she got to do while in the program and how to maximize those memorable experiences. Not sure what kind of projects MRED programs get involved in but for instance MBA's often have excursions and student-managed funds. That sort of thing is easy to ask about and alumni may be involved in those after matriculating.

 
Oct 25, 2018 - 10:36am

Cadmonkey117:
did the program compliment your skills

This is a weird question and I'm not sure how I would even give it a serious answer. A program should expand on skills or teach new skills, but compliment? As in you're good at something and the program pats you on the back for being good at it? Just a weird question.

A better question would be "What skills does this program emphasize and how effective did you find it at teaching them?"

Cadmonkey117:
do you feel like you had access to useful connections / good firms and did you land a meaningful position

This question is appropriate, as it is the point of graduate school, but be sure to word it appropriately. "Did the program allow for ample opportunity to network with alumni, local industry leaders, etc.?" and "How did the internship and job hunt go for you and your classmates? What kind of roles did people get and where were these companies located?"

Cadmonkey117:
in your experience can the loans be paid off within "x" years

This gets back to your first question - it's weird, personal in a non-endearing way, and frankly, for most people, irrelevant. Just run your own calculations.

Cadmonkey117:
did anyone you know of land international positions without having a foreign relative (lol)

Also a weird question. It may not apply at all. The person may not know.

Frankly, if you're looking to work internationally, you should probably be looking at international schools.

Cadmonkey117:
Anything else you can think of I could ask?

Questions that the person can actually offer insight on. Strengths/weaknesses of the program. Class makeup. OCI vs. networking on your own. Specific courses. What other schools they looked at when they were applying and why they picked the one they ultimately attended.

Commercial Real Estate Developer

  • 2
 
Oct 25, 2018 - 11:23am

CRE:

This is a weird question and I'm not sure how I would even give it a serious answer. A program should expand on skills or teach new skills, but compliment? As in you're good at something and the program pats you on the back for being good at it? Just a weird question.

A better question would be "What skills does this program emphasize and how effective did you find it at teaching them?"

I think he meant "complement". I read it as "did the program teach you skills/knowledge which filled in gaps in what you knew" and assumed he wasn't a native English speaker (per the international positions ask)

 
Funniest
Oct 25, 2018 - 1:45pm

Ozymandia:
I think he meant "complement". I read it as "did the program teach you skills/knowledge which filled in gaps in what you knew" and assumed he wasn't a native English speaker (per the international positions ask)

Oh sure. Now I'm the asshole.

Sorry, OP

Commercial Real Estate Developer

  • 2
 
Oct 27, 2018 - 3:35pm

Thanks to everyone this is super helpful.

For added context this isn't an interview for admissions but rather me looking for someone's brain to pick about a program. Also, we decided to make it into a phone call. Some questions:

What's OCI?

Also, what are examples of international schools?

I am looking for the possibility of moving out of the US but I wouldn't be ready to do so for an other 5 or so years and I don't want to be too far down the architecture path for a career switch later on, so my options are actually pretty limited

Start Discussion

Popular Content See all

Life Hacks during WFH | How do you avoid burnout?
+52IBby 1st Year Analyst in Investment Banking - Mergers and Acquisitions">Analyst 1 in IB-M&A
Leaked EY Email
+49IBby 1st Year Analyst in Investment Banking - Industry/Coverage">Analyst 1 in IB - Ind
I’ll never take WSO for granted again
+40OFFby Principal in Venture Capital">Principal in VC
What's so good about Evercore?
+29IBby Prospective Monkey in Investment Banking - Mergers and Acquisitions">Prospect in IB-M&A
Have any 1st year analysts actually quit?
+26IBby 1st Year Analyst in Investment Banking - Mergers and Acquisitions">Analyst 1 in IB-M&A

Total Avg Compensation

January 2021 Investment Banking

  • Director/MD (9) $911
  • Vice President (30) $350
  • Associates (139) $232
  • 3rd+ Year Analyst (18) $155
  • 2nd Year Analyst (84) $153
  • Intern/Summer Associate (89) $144
  • 1st Year Analyst (344) $134
  • Intern/Summer Analyst (297) $83

Leaderboard See all

1
LonLonMilk's picture
LonLonMilk
98.5
2
Secyh62's picture
Secyh62
98.3
3
Jamoldo's picture
Jamoldo
98.3
4
CompBanker's picture
CompBanker
97.9
5
redever's picture
redever
97.7
6
frgna's picture
frgna
97.6
7
Addinator's picture
Addinator
97.5
8
Edifice's picture
Edifice
97.5
9
bolo up's picture
bolo up
97.5
10
NuckFuts's picture
NuckFuts
97.5