Landing a job in PE, VC, IB with no college degree - your thoughts?

Hey all,

The older I get the more I realize: YOLO. I have always wanted to live in NYC so last week I went up, met with a real estate broker and signed a lease. What I want to do, however, is my next issue to tackle.

My dilemma is, I do not have a college degree nor do I have any experience working for a company as I have been self-employed since high school. As the saying goes: the harder you work, the luckier you get. Fortunately, my hard work has paid off and has afforded me the luxury to do something that I have always wanted to do: move to NYC. I am in the construction industry and have a medium-sized real estate portfolio consisting of large commercial properties and industrial parks up and down the East Coast. With that said, I have plenty of real-world experience and connections, many of which who sit at the big boy table.

Is it possible to leverage my capital, credit and connections to land a job in PE, IB or VC or will I have a hard time due to a lack of education and corporate experience [or rather, working for someone else]? I can forgo benefits: retirement, healthcare, etc. as they will not be needed. I also do not need a competitive salary as it won't be my primary source of income; instead, it's just to keep two parties honest.

Though I have been pretty successful at what I have done, I believe that I am leaving a lot on the table by not becoming a more well-rounded individual in the business world. It's easy to put together 2 plus 2, but I feel like there is a lot more to learn that will ultimately advance my [as well as others] life. My goal is to further give back, especially to aspiring entrepreneurs and single mothers (Ex.: Big Brother Big Sister).

I'm struggling to figure out how to approach companies. Do you guys (and ladies) have any advice on how to go about finding a job?


Comments (10)

Aug 30, 2019

Man you have no shot at ib or pe

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Aug 30, 2019

I'm in PE/VC without a degree but I also founded/sold a few companies and am using my own balance sheet to make investments/built my own firm. Without a very strong track record it's extremely unlikely.

VC you can get into easily if you're a founder with a good track record as a great operator. I mean founding a company and getting rev up past $10M - $15M a year.

If you have a bank account, I would recommend you start your own firm and seek out partners or hire people that have the knowledge you want. I had the opportunity to work closely with several amazing people with tons of PE/IB experience who helped me learn how to do deals/best practices/etc...

Maybe seek out a partner who has good IB/PE knowledge, but is not an executor/operator and then teach each other the skills you need!

Also if you've had success as an entrepreneur, I'm not sure there's any point in working for someone else unless you have real equity upside. If you've found a business that works, focus on it and just hire people smarter than you.

Aug 30, 2019

Thanks! Yes, I have surpassed that dollar figure, considerably. One real estate deal is that much and more, fortunately. I don't want to come in as a cocky, know-it-all, but at the same time, I want to show that I am willing to put in the work and most importantly, am competent.

I have experience in buyouts as I am now a monopoly in my niche. I'd like to, as you said, potentially start my own fund. However, to be 100% honest, I am kind of scared. I have two heavy-hitters in the insurance industry (Who I'm sure you all know) who I have considered mentors and friends and they're pushing me to open a fund. But first, I'd like to get my hands dirty with someone else's money. If that makes sense. As I mentioned already, I really only have experience in one field, and in terms of business, I know I can't spend more than what I make. Other than that, I just wing it. I guess you can say I have been living by the KISS method (Keep It Simple, Stupid).

I'd rather not share my balance sheets. However, I would be more than happy to share my portfolio, job lists, customer references, etc.

Thanks again for taking the time to respond - I greatly appreciate it.

Aug 30, 2019

Drop me a PM with your number. Happy to talk you through my experience moving from founder -> investor/operator if you'd like!

Aug 31, 2019

This morning, I got thinking: could I pay a recruiter / headhunter to help find a fund? Or would that be a conflict of interest with their [The Recruitment Companies] customers [The Funds]? I'd consider this "tuition," and it would most certainly save me a lot of time, which translates to money. I'm not too familiar with how this works other than the fact that the end company typically pays all fees.

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Aug 31, 2019
Aug 31, 2019

Why would you want to do this? Everyone on here would rather be you...
If you want more "formal" experience the only thing that would make sense is to leverage your connections in the real estate industry to join a real estate firm.

Sep 1, 2019

I know real estate. It's easy to buy, develop and leverage property. I want to shift towards PE or VC as an end goal that would ultimately supplement real estate. I don't know. I never understood these life-long schoolers who have fifteen degrees, but the older I get, the more I am starting to appreciate learning new trades/experiences to become a more well-rounded individual. It's not always about the money. Life is short, why not enjoy it?

Real Estate is very competitive, sure, but I have gotten to the point where my current company portfolio has created a monopoly. I am bored, as odd as that sounds. The grit and hustle of NYC, especially while trying to break into an industry where the odds are stacked against me, sounds like a fun undertaking. Anyone you speak to who is successful in construction will tell you that they no longer compete against competitors; instead, they compete against regulation, policy and tax changes. That however, is in any industry.

@RandomWalkTheory Thanks for that article - great read!

Sep 5, 2019

May I ask how and when did you start with building your RE portfolio? Also, how old are you?

Sep 5, 2019