Is a career in REPE post-MBA viable?

J Kant's picture
Rank: Chimp | 8

Hi, long time lurking monkey here, first-time posting. I would have posted more but honestly, I don't have a great deal experience in the corporate world and there's little I can productively contribute (though I have learned a great deal from WSO). Hopefully, that'll change in the coming years.

I've just started out as a first-year MBA student in the J-term at CBS. I come from a family business working in the real estate sector in India (a mix of investment & redevelopment). Spent 5 years there, mostly focused on the residential segment. Very small scale (total assets <$15M). And I really don't want to return to it, at least in the near future.

I interned for a few months in an international RE brokerage, in its corporate leasing and capital markets divisions. Turned down a full-time position in leasing and applied for an MBA because I wanted to join a major REPE firm but I didn't have an IB background (which I understand is typical for REPE hires).

Joined CBS because it offered a Jan-entry program that would allow me to graduate a full year earlier than any other M7 program though it meant skipping the summer internship (a decision I'm starting to regret more than a little bit). I have two very very different options open to me at this point (or maybe not) -

Option A; Be ambitious: Stick with the plan, enter the Real Estate Program at school, scout for REPE firms willing to sponsor me, and start praying every day.
Option B; Be cautious: Junk the plan, switch to a strategy track, look to sign with a management consulting firm come recruiting season, and join the case prep club.

So... I have three questions for you guys -

i) Should I be concerned about my prospects in the mgmt consultant market. I'm at a target school for MBB, have good verbal, analytical & interpersonal skills, and a decent GMAT (770) but also a mediocre GPA (3.0) and no summer associate experience?

ii) Given my relative lack of relevant experience, is breaking into REPE, as an international without the summer tryout, a viable ambition?

iii) Assuming I'm personally agnostic to the actual job, how do the two options compare? Both in terms of the financial incentives in play as well as the work-life balance.

My understanding was that the pay starts out about the same at the start (perhaps a bit higher for the top consultancies) but that the prospects for growth in REPE are far greater. But I'm not sure that applies to me. The industry spans a large space, from the top PE firms to your local RE developers without a similarly vast gulf in their function. To paraphrase Groucho Marx - should I sign with a firm that would stoop so low as to make me an offer?

P.S. Yes I know there is a wealth of resources here at CBS that can help me make a decision but I have a great deal of respect for the WSO community and would really value your input.

Comments (1)

Jan 28, 2020