Investment Banking to Acquisitions

Recently came to the realization that I will not last long in IB for a variety of reasons. My original goal was to stick it out in IB for ~2 years then exit into a decent RE firm. 

Is it possible to make the jump from investment banking to an acquisitions role <1 to 1 year into banking? For context, I did a prior internship in CRE and would aim for firms lower on the PERE 100 list (not Blackstone, Starwood, etc.) Am not worried about the marginal decline in pay either as I see it being a fair trade-off for working in a more interesting industry + free time. Long term, I would like to build a career in investing in institutional real estate and don't see myself coming back to traditional finance, which is why I'm considering an early career switch if possible.

Apologies if this comes off as naïve or short-sighted, just want to see what near-term options are available. Any advice / similar stories would be super helpful, thanks! 

Comments (6)

  • VP in RE - Comm
Nov 30, 2021 - 9:58am

Yea - why are you even hesitating. This happens all the time. Just make sure you know the model/technical aspect of RE, as you will likely enter into a non-producing (non-VP) role, given lack of experience, thus almost likely will be tested on the technicals.

  • Analyst 1 in IB - Cov
Nov 30, 2021 - 10:37am

Exactly that...the fact that I am still relatively new and don't have the relevant deal experience (hopefully that changes in the next couple months or so...). Not sure if that'll hinder my ability to land a decent acquisitions/investing role at a somewhat decent firm I can potentially build my career in. If it does, I may have no choice but to stick it out in banking for a while before getting decent reps.

RE-specific technicals and modeling, I am proactively learning / practicing on the side so hopefully no issue there. Can you elaborate on "non-producing?" I was under the impression that any analyst/associate acquisitions position would be "non-producing." I'm fine with running analyses on potential investment opportunities and coming up with investment recs (I actually find the investment analysis aspect of real estate to be quite interesting).    

Most Helpful
  • VP in RE - Comm
Nov 30, 2021 - 11:00am

People are aware you lack property level experience coming from IB. But the positives of your IB experience are plenty as well: work ethics, endurance, ability to work under pressure, smarts, corporate-level modeling/PPT experience etc..My point is, you have to spin your story somehow to convey your interest in RE and ability to hit the ground running on the job. Will you be less desired than an investment sales analyst with 2-3 years experience from CBRE/Eastdil/JLL? Not necessarily, we've seen some bad testing from candidates coming from brokerage shops as well.

As for non-producing roles. I'm assuming you're looking for a job on the acquisitions side. It will be hard to enter into a VP role because VPs are expected to constantly source deals, connect with brokers/sellers/developers etc... - aka "produce". You won't have any of these network/rolodex to do this job, given you have not spent any time doing any of those things. That is why if you move to a RE company, you will likely be in a more senior support role (associate-level) doing the underwriting and support work for those "producers". At a more senior level in RE acquisitions, the job becomes very sales-y and takes a lot of smooching. But it sounds like you already have the right expectation, so that's good.

Dec 8, 2021 - 1:47pm

I came from a IB / CorpDev background and this was exactly the feedback I got. Learn as much as you can about the basics, but they will be expecting to teach you the real estate aspects of the job.

Intellect, work ethic, and delivery of a polished work product were all cited as reasons my current employer hired me.

  • 2
Dec 6, 2021 - 4:35pm

In a very similar situation. Actually posted about the same thing earlier prior to seeing this thread. Have you been proactively recruiting for acquisitions roles and if so have you been having any luck? Would love to PM you about it to exchange thoughts.

Dec 8, 2021 - 3:09pm

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