JBG vs. Harrison Street Offers

Received two offers from The JBG Companies in DC and Harrison Street in Chicago. JBG is limited in terms of location (only in DMV area) while Harrison Street is limited in terms of asset types (needs-based RE such as senior/student housing, medical office, storage). JBG seems to be more established with structured training, especially given leadership that consists of HBS/Wharton grads while Harrison Street is more entrepreneurial and aggressively growing its business.

Curious about what the general thoughts are and exit opps etc.? My tentative short-term plan is to gain as much deal exposure as possible then go to a top MBA program and figure out from there.

Really appreciate any help. Thanks a lot!

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Comments (24)

Best Response
Nov 1, 2016 - 8:29am

JBG's principals carefully guard the integrity of their equity and senior positions at the company. It is essentially encouraged that analysts work there for a few years before leaving to get their MBA (ie partner-track type of ascension is rare). That being said, it is one of the best shops in the DMV and you are correct that it one of the only local groups with an established training program.

Be careful about JBG right now. They are potentially executing a huge acquisition of Vornado's DC assets. That stands to create some major opportunties, obviously, but restructuring is bound to occur as well if that happens. Sounds like the deal has a much greater chance of closing than the NYREIT transaction.

Nov 1, 2016 - 2:15pm

JBG - Charles Smith will almost certainly happen. Stuff happens, but they talked about it 18 or so months ago, but they weren't properly motivated yet and now it seems they probably are. I know some of the development folks at JBG are a little skittish about what kind of company they will be going forward. JBG is definitely in the driver's seat post merger, but from what I hear the partners wanted a liquidity event and would figure out the rest after they made that happen.

That being said JBG still has a great reputation and training program, as @RickyRosay said. If you want to get in get some exposure and exit to b-school you could do significantly worse.

Nov 1, 2016 - 3:48pm

JBG SMITH was formally announced yesterday. Not sure how I'd feel with an offer there now. They are now the top real estate firm (by size) in the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area (I would say the class of D.C. real estate at this juncture) but as was mentioned, no idea if that means you'll be "restructured" out of a job in a few months.

Array

Nov 2, 2016 - 7:38pm

I would say it depends if it's as a financial analyst or development analyst at JBG.

Both good roles, but I'd jump at the Financial Analyst one regardless of if merger goes through or not. Not sure about the Dev Analyst - depends on what you want to do after.

Both great shops so hard to go wrong. Both have funds and are putting $ to work. Go where you think you'll see the most and the rest will work out.

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Nov 2, 2016 - 10:54pm
garbageman:

JBG will have better exit opps


Yeah I was gonna say, the JBG 'alumni' out there are impressive. You see former JBG guys in high places, for sure.

OP, you might think this advice is cheesy/unnecessary, but think hard about who you like more. I worked in development under someone who I hated and it made me hate development, but years later, I enjoy being involved w development deals again; looking back on this and other jobs, it was all about the people.

Nov 3, 2016 - 12:40pm
prospie:

garbageman:

JBG will have better exit opps

Yeah I was gonna say, the JBG 'alumni' out there are impressive. You see former JBG guys in high places, for sure.

OP, you might think this advice is cheesy/unnecessary, but think hard about who you like more. I worked in development under someone who I hated and it made me hate development, but years later, I enjoy being involved w development deals again; looking back on this and other jobs, it was all about the people.

This is great advice. I agree with you

Jul 28, 2017 - 10:52pm

Bananas all around. You spend more time with coworkers than family. Who do you connect easier with? Do you admire either firm more? You can make money at many shops, but WHO do you want to have at your wedding?

Nov 2, 2016 - 10:38pm

I would decide do I want to be a developer or an investor. That's the real question.

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Nov 4, 2016 - 4:10pm

Congrats on the offers - two great offers from two great companies. HSRE has obviously been on a huge run lately, has shot up almost every ranking table there is in the PERE world and consistently listed as one of the best places to work. You will see tons of deal flow as they tend to do more asset level transactions ($30M - $125M) versus the larger entity level RE transaction that some of the bigger names focus on. Breaking into PERE with no work experience is very tough so would be hard to pass up a shot to break-in if you ultimately want to be an investor vs. developer (See IRRelevant comment).

Nov 4, 2016 - 8:26pm

Both are top firms - maybe a slight edge to JBG on exit opts. No one will care if you're investing in niche sectors at HSRE as long as you spin it the right way (i.e. medical office is VERY comparable to office, but with a few spins on it such as proximity/affiliation with a hospital... you could do this for student housing, self-storage to other property types as well).

The biggest two questions I'd ask myself if I were in your shoes are 1) do you want to be in DC or Chicago? and 2) which of the two firms had colleagues you liked better. As mentioned above, this will make your life and learning experience incredible or a living hell. I've been on both sides of this equation and cannot emphasize this factor enough.

Sep 15, 2020 - 7:35am

Spoke with a friend at black stone not too long ago and they agree that JBG still runs the show in DC. Will continue to watch their moves given the high percentage of office space they acquired from Vornado especially in Crystal City/National Landing

Apr 5, 2021 - 10:22pm

Brookfield does a good amount of stuff in DC, but JBG is definitely the 10,000 lb gorilla in the DMV.

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Apr 5, 2021 - 3:20pm

My biggest question would be, since it became a reit how has the culture of allowing junior analysts to have a voice changed. Also I would also like to know how much exposure analysts are given in the development process since the firm is significantly larger now. Basically since it's merger is the firm more siloed?

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