I'm opening up about my struggle breaking into CRE as it has become a desperate situation and I'm seeking any advice or words of encouragement I can get. Here is my story.
Attended a large public state school in the southeast. Changed majors a few times, decided to pursue a career in urban planning
My first job out of college I worked at a major, publicly-traded telecom tower company in the southeast. My job was to source opportunities to acquire rooftop space to build antennas and facilitate the acquisition and due diligence process - i.e. legal, regulatory approvals, etc. I enjoyed this work but started to get interested in finance and investment and decided I wanted to try to parlay these skills into a commercial real estate career. Started applying to some real estate analyst jobs around the end of 2016 without much success. I realized I had a lot to learn and decided I would pursue an MSRE to assist in my career pivot.
May 2017- May 2019
I left my job in May of 2017 and moved to NYC to attend NYU's MSRE program in the fall. During the program, I held internships with 3 different boutique real estate firms; two on the principal side and one debt brokerage shop. Graduated in May of this year.
I started my job search in back January. Since then I have applied to over 700 jobs. I have had interviews at 21 different companies and only received one offer (I turned it down because it only paid $65k which would have made it very difficult in NYC especially with student loan payments - in hindsight I should have taken it, but I didn't know I would have this much difficulty finding something). Some of the interviews went on to final rounds, but I didn't receive an offer. I had phone interviews with another 25 companies that didn't lead to anything beyond a first call. I largely concentrated my search in NYC and the surrounding area, but there were a handful of applications I submitted out-of-state. I looked for analyst and associate roles for all types of real estate firms: owner operators, LP firms, banks, debt funds, development firms, brokerage shops, etc.
After 5 months of joblessness after graduation, I was unable to afford the cost of living in New York and ran out of money. I'm back home living at my parents house in my late 20s, with hefty student loan payments bearing down on me - feeling lost and dejected. I've been reflecting on my approach and why things have gone the way they have. I have a few ideas:
1) I'm in a weird in-between scenario where I am not qualified enough for associate roles and I'm competing with people who have a few years of full time experience as an analyst, but for Analyst roles I'm a bit of an odd case and I'm competing against people who are coming out of undergrad and are more traditional hires for Analyst roles.
2)Maybe CRE is much more competitive than I originally anticipated. Real Estate teams are mostly lean operations and only hire one analyst at a time, and there is a great degree of scrutiny that goes into each hiring decision.
3)Maybe being in ultra-competitive NYC didn't help my situation either. Perhaps I would be better served in a different market.
4)Maybe I just suck. I don't think I'm super awkward or anything - I have a pretty normal personality and I feel like I have been doing ok in interviews - perhaps there are some things I can work on, but for the most part I am comfortable with my interview skills.
5) Maybe I didn't do a good enough job of networking. I had a couple of coffee chats with VPs of large firms, but nothing really came out of the meetings. I had a couple of connections lead my to jobs that I ended up getting interviews for. I could have done more in this area.
My plan going forward is to spend the next couple of months at home through the holidays and work a part time job, stay sharp on my modeling, and apply for jobs. I'm considering hitting the reset button in January and using my savings to move to a new market and start from scratch - I really like the idea of living in LA for the lifestyle but understand it may have some of the same negative qualities as NYC (competitive; high cost of living). I'm also considering Chicago, Dallas, and Atlanta.
I would appreciate any comments, questions, and advice on what I should do from here. It has been a long, stressful, and exhausting process. I'm trying to stay positive and keep pushing for the hope that something will eventually go my way.