Having a terrible experience 2 months into the job. What should I do?..

razir110's picture
Rank: Monkey | banana points 30

Hi all.

I started my REAM investment analyst job at a 50-people AM firm in Europe some 2 months ago and I just hate it.

During the recruitment I was given the impression that I would be learning fin modelling, taking part in calls etc. All I do is meaningless crap tasks such as searching for data online and looking at useless accounting stuff. Other people who started at the same time as I did are doing modeling, taking part in meetings, they work in finance, I don't. I feel rejected, demotivated and I don't see an end to this. Every time I get something to do that involves doing a model, some "urgent task" comes in and I have to abandon the interesting stuff and do the same shit work as always. Just now an interesting project I wanted to work on was archived because "it's not urgent" Well, I feel it is for me because I am going crazy! I need to feel stimulated and challenged... All I feel is that I've been been there for 2 months and learned NOTHING. I worked on a model for like 3 hours and it were the happiest time I had there.

The seniors are not communicative and I can't get a bloody meeting with them to even set my objectives and expectations. They seem to not care at all..
I am also studying for CFA 2, so it opens some more doors as I hope and to learn some more finance, which I love.

I am thinking of:

  1. Resign straight away, study for CFA and search for another job. But I heard that it's better to search for a job while you are employed...
  2. Keep surviving there, preparing for CFA, do it in June and then start searching for jobs in UK, Asia, whatever (after Brexit is over with) - seems ideal solution but I'm not sure I can last for this long. Plus, what will I say on my next interview? "-Tell us what you've learned in the past 7 months" me: "Nothing, I googled stuff all day long", so wouldn't it be better to just resign straight away so this becomes an "internship" and not a failed job experience?

What you guys think of all this? Is this normal?.. I feel I was lied to by the company. They promised me to train me and then just abandoned me and gave all the cool stuff to other more experienced guys... :(

Sorry for the rant, but I really need to share it with someone and have some feedback :)

Thank you for your time!
.

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Comments (34)

Most Helpful
Jan 29, 2019

I don't understand why people emphasize so much on modeling? I have never seen anyone get promoted faster because of better technical skills. It's more about communication and executive presence

    • 9
Jan 29, 2019

This is so true. I've been working in CRE as an analyst at major brokerages in a major market for almost 4 years now. Only one producer I've ever encountered was able to help me out when modeling. Most have gotten where they are because of their communication skills. One debt broker even said to me "Im not a numbers guy" when I asked him a question. I died laughing. From what I've seen, those that focus solely on analytical skills will be in analyst-type roles forever. Those that grow their leadership and communication skills will get higher than that. Granted, my background is brokerage, but I've got friends on the principal side who say the same thing.

    • 2
Feb 1, 2019

Debt broker, not a "numbers guy" that is hysterical, but in all seriousness, most people in real estate for the most part just pass papers around and talk for a living. if you want to learn modeling take a self-study course online, most of the older people are not going to know how to do the more complex structures anyways.

Jan 29, 2019
thhddd:

I don't understand why people emphasize so much on modeling? I have never seen anyone get promoted faster because of better technical skills. It's more about communication and executive presence

Dude, I don't even think my MD knows how to build a model in Excel. It really isn't the hardest or most important part of the job to learn. It's more about understanding the fundamental value drivers in real estate. Learning where your income comes from and understanding the source of it (market participants / tenants) and where you lose value and how to control that. From there, the modeling is more or less just explicitly demonstrating the narrative you're already pretty confident in. Hint: When your PM likes a deal, the numbers tend to pencil in.

If I'm you, I stay 6 months to a year and start sending some apps out after that. In the meantime, embellish your resume, learn what you can, do some extra-curriculars, stay a little later and work on a practice model, find what associates like to preach and ask them a lot of questions, etc. You wont get killed in interviews if you straight up say you have some experience in excel/argus but might need a bit of getting used to the new firm's internal financial model template, etc. As long as you can talk intelligently about real estate on a high and detailed level, I wouldn't worry about not knowing the excel shortcut to create a sensitivity table off the top of your head. The funds that are intense enough to give analysts modeling tests only recruit from BBs, ivy league schools or other MFs anyways. You should be looking at shops in the $500mm - $7.5B range that are more culturally lax and willing to take someone whose a good fit that they trust, even if they'll need some support at first. There are PLENTY of funds out there that fit this profile.

    • 5
Funniest
Jan 29, 2019
LReed:

Dude, I don't even think my MD knows how to build a model in Excel. It really isn't the hardest or most important part of the job to learn.

I guarantee my bosses don't know how to model in excel. They made something like $16 million last year, each.

If you want to jerk off about your excel skills, real estate is the wrong industry to be in.

    • 4
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Jan 29, 2019

what subset of real estate are you/they in? development i'm guessing?

Jan 29, 2019

Yes. You can over over the beside my name "RE" to see details.

I'd say "modeling" is maybe 5% of the deal, and even at that, it's inputting educated guesses into an existing template

Jan 30, 2019

LReed,

Apologies if this question is rudimentary but how does OP go about identifying firms in the $500mm - $7.5B range?

Feb 4, 2019

CapIQ

Jan 29, 2019

Sorry if this comes of dickish, but literally the entire sum of human achievement and knowledge is instantly available at your fingertips via your iphone or computer. If you can't leverage that to find a couple REITs and REPE shops in your local city, you gotta start thinking about getting a gig driving uber or something.

I mean that in a friendly way, because I assume your an analyst and the best skill an analyst can have in his first year/two is resourcefulness. Figure it out, find a way, make it happen. You can't add value if you're relying on everyone else to add it for you, piece by piece.

    • 2
Jan 30, 2019

@LReed I understand how to google, and have done so multiple times when searching for companies to target and people to network with. I was more so looking for a better way of doing so, whether that is looking to see the most recently raised fund, looking on costar etc.

I should have worded my question better. My question wasn't 'how to do x?' it was more so 'how can I be more efficient while doing x?'

Still appreciate all the value you bring to this forum. Thanks.

Jan 29, 2019

Ah sorry, I was having a bad day man. Sometimes you gotta boil the ocean; run a people search on LinkedIn with the key word "Acquisitions" and the location set to your city of choice then click on the profiles that come up and look into their funds, cruise through BisNow and Curbed and look into the funds that you see headlines about (good way to find the more active MM/botiques), etc.

Feb 15, 2019
LReed:

Ah sorry, I was having a bad day man. Sometimes you gotta boil the ocean; run a people search on LinkedIn with the key word "Acquisitions" and the location set to your city of choice then click on the profiles that come up and look into their funds, cruise through BisNow and Curbed and look into the funds that you see headlines about (good way to find the more active MM/botiques), etc.

You first instinct to be a dick was the right one. It's still Google skills, or basically equivalent, from my perspective.

    • 1
Feb 4, 2019
thhddd:

I don't understand why people emphasize so much on modeling? I have never seen anyone get promoted faster because of better technical skills. It's more about communication and executive presence

you are 100% right

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Jan 29, 2019

I think most analysts are not happy with the amount of mindless power point, reporting, finding meaningless statistics to put in reports.

I was concerned by the tone of your post and it was confirmed when you said this,

"The seniors are not communicative and I can't get a bloody meeting with them to even set my objectives and expectations."

Your expectations? Really? I dont think the problem is anyone external to you.

    • 2
Jan 29, 2019

You're two months in. Relax.

I didn't do shit for like the first 90 days.

If nothing changes after say 3 months, have a discussion with your manager and present your concerns (in a professional matter).

    • 1
    • 1
Jan 29, 2019
NYYCRE:

You're two months in. Relax.

I didn't do shit for like the first 90 days.

If nothing changes after say 3 months, have a discussion with your manager and present your concerns (in a professional matter).

This is great advice. People don't realize how reasonable most firms are about this type of stuff. Your managers want to help you develop as a person and a professional. Your performance and satisfaction are often times linked to their pride. Tell your boss straight up, "I feel like I'm deficient in certain technical aspects that are important in this role and I want to at least work on a few side-projects to develop that skill as a professional". They'll likely try to help and if they can't they wont hold it against you as long as your professional and sensitive about the topic.

Jan 29, 2019

Thank you for your replies.
Well in what concerns modelling, this is the best way to learn the technicalities of the business, the flow of the deal, etc. And it's a valued skill set no matter where you are in finance, that's why I want to get it so bad. It concerns me a lot that other people who got in at the same time as I did, are doing it while I get all the crap, it really affects me a lot.

About the expectations, I guess any firm that is concerned about the employees will have a meeting that would set my expectations of what I want to learn and to archive and what they expect of me, so it all becomes objective and measurable. And yes I have expectations, I want to work in a firm that develops its employees, that's why I joined them, because I was told I would learn a lot. So far all I learned was googling and doing graphs, I really have the feeling of not knowing why the hell I was hired in first place, for real.. I don't understand what are my duties, it seems that random stuff, mostly not related to investments is being thrown at me. You see this is not some major REPE firm where it would be worth suffering only to have it on my CV, here I want to learn and I feel that the firm kinda "booked" the shit tasks for me and I don't see it stopping.

Jan 29, 2019

There are shit tasks, until you are not the low man on the totem pole, you will get the shit tasks. If your company is doing cool stuff and you can put your head down and work without having attitude issues, eventually you can do the cool stuff. The problem is if your company is not doing cool stuff or there are not smart people there.

The first company I was at was bad. The people were not bright. I recruited heavily after 8 months and left to a better place after 1 year. I am at a place with smart people and cool projects, I do a lot of cool work, but I do a lot of shitty work because I am still the low man on the totem pole. It is good to be the low man on the totem pole because it means you have the most to gain by learning from those around you higher on the totem pole.

    • 1
Jan 29, 2019

Judge after 7 months. Earn your stripes.

Jan 29, 2019
razir110:

Other people who started at the same time as I did are doing modeling, taking part in meetings, they work in finance, I don't. I feel rejected, demotivated and I don't see an end to this.

This is the part of your post that jumped out at me. This is telling me that it's possible to do the things you want to do at this place, but for whatever reason, your peers have moved onto this and you haven't. You need to do some self reflection/introspection and understand if you're not where they are yet due to a) shitty management or b) something that you are or aren't doing. If you happen to have a different supervisor than they do who happens to be a shittier manager/mentor, then there's not a lot you can do about it, but if not, I would tend to assume it's B. In that case, you need to at least try to find out what, if anything, you're doing wrong or could be doing better, so that you try to make it work there. If you do that and it still isn't a good fit, then at least you'll be more confident going into the next gig. If you are messing stuff up there and it's pigeonholed you there (or some similar situation), better figure it out now or it will probably happen to you at the next place. I'm not in any way judging your character or work ethic, but the reality is that a lot of people look externally to place blame before taking a look in the mirror. Are you working as hard as the others? Are you taking the time to check your work? Are you volunteering for extra responsibility? etc.

    • 3
Jan 29, 2019

Wtf is modeling. Chill out bro deals aren't done with complicated excel functions. You should take a step back and learn how decisions are made on a big picture point of view.

Jan 30, 2019

Hello,
I know this is not the subject of your post but I will finish my end of studies internship at the end of the semester and I will start looking for a real estate job,
Can I pm you?
Thanks a lot!

    • 1
Jan 29, 2019

Hi everyone,

First thank you for all your input, it's great to see that there is a lot of inter-help among RE guys :)
Second, I talked to loads of people from the company and it seems that it's the company culture to essentially not give much f about employees' development :( So I think I'll pull the plug pretty soon.

There is no point to explain all the details, but I have enough info to see that I won't learn much there and will end up with months of experience and nothing tangible to present.

Ones again, thanks a lot and I will be asking more questions on this forum pretty soon :)

Best!

Jan 29, 2019
razir110:

First thank you for all your input, it's great to see that there is a lot of inter-help among RE guys :)

Second most popular forum on WSO for a reason

razir110:

Second, I talked to loads of people from the company and it seems that it's the company culture to essentially not give much f about employees' development :( So I think I'll pull the plug pretty soon.

I would at least try to wait until 6 months. I'm as much of an advocate for job hopping as anyone, but you don't want a 2-3 month full time stint on your resume this early on.

    • 1
Jan 31, 2019

Dude, stop being a pussy.

Any opportunity is what you make of it.

Don't move on until you put on your big boy pants and voice your concerns to your superiors. Prior to voicing your concerns, which mostly consist of a "lack of modeling", here is an idea, learn to model. Take a course, play around with internal models, etc. It literally takes one weekend (if that) to become half decent at building RE models. Put down the bud lattes and pick up an excel model.

Obviously the modeling duties are being passed on to those that KNOW modeling. If they aren't going to teach you then take the initiative.

Yes it is screwed up that the firm pulled the ole bait n switch, but here we are so make the best of it. Frankly, I don't care (and you shouldn't either) what your idiotic colleagues think of the firm's tendencies to develop talent. That is nonsensical. If you are good and smart WHY ON EARTH would they let you walk / not develop? Akin to what some others have said this may be a you problem, dude. Oh, and P.S. Cathy from property management doesn't know shit, I'll tell you that for free.

If your first option is to keel over and die then this is not the industry for you.

I apologize for the tone, but tough love is still love...

    • 4
Jan 31, 2019

Real estate is a boots on the ground business. Its more entrepreneurial than anything and thus requires very little excel skills. The most complex modeling you'll do is waterfalls and thats about it. The real analysis is actually qualitative. Whats the average daily traffic there? Whats the demographics? Can we push rents based on future economics? The smartest and wealthiest in this arena are those that hustle on the ground, not in Excel. My two cents.

Jan 31, 2019

Although absolutely true. In order to rise up the ranks and attain a "big picture" type role where the analysis more boots on the ground / geared towards economics, one must almost always serve their time as an excel Monkey.

The trajectory is rarely (at least in the current environment) Qualitative Junior --> acquisitions/investment lead and is almost always Quantitative Junior --> acquisitions/investment lead.

Put differently, if OP's current firm is going to promote a junior guy to an acquisitions role, who do you think they'll choose? OP or the guy who has lived in excel/authored investment memos/dug into multiple deals?

    • 1
Jan 31, 2019

1000000%

Jan 29, 2019

Thank you for the comments!

As mentioned by some (most) of you, I will take my decision based on my talk with my senior, which is still to be scheduled :) .. This company has been around for some 20 years and they hired an HR lady (part-time).. ..6 months ago, because according to the management "it was an unnecessary expense" - their words when we joined.
I agree with what you guys said about staying for longer and trying to learn at least something, it just has been impossible to get through to the seniors to give me some decent tasks. However I am not here to whine all the time, so as you advised I will take a model home, dissect it during weekend and next time some modeling comes up I will force myself in, like really insist on it to see if I get to do it. It's just that the models we use here are quite crazy, they are full of scenarios and options, etc so some formulas are like 3 lines long, it's not easy to just understand it without some guidance, trust me, but as you advised I'll give it a go, cause honestly I have nothing to lose if I give it a shot for one more month.

Thank you for your inputs :)

    • 1
Feb 15, 2019

Judging by the way you write your posts, you are definitely unhappy. Try to change your attitude. I guarantee that you are giving off a negative vibe in the office that your peers/managers can feel.

Funny thing about those formulas that are 3 lines long: They are probably for S-curves and are all guesswork bullshit anyways.

This is a great idea. Take the model home and do some learning on your own time.

Feb 1, 2019

the formulas that are 3 lines long are probably understood by no one. Its likely overly complicated for no reason. You can trace each part of the formula to see where the numbers are coming from, but dont memorize it. Know why the inputs are going where they are and understand the logic. Dont get intimidated.

Feb 1, 2019
Feb 15, 2019