Moron Manager!! What to do???!

Mike-Bozzuto's picture
Rank: Chimp | 15

Would kindly appreciate your feedback.

I recently joined a boutique real estate firm after 4 years on the debt site to do acquisitions and development. it's a small shop with three principals, an acquisitions manager (aka moron from hell) and me as acquisitions associate.

Here is the problem, the guy who is acquisitions manager is a complete moron. he is friends with the owner and he has been with them for about 4 years. His knowledge of real estate is CAP RATE, LTV and charge higher rents, reduce expenses and charge a lot for other income. not sophisticated at all in his approach. It takes this guy about 5-6 hours to make basic fixes in a model that should take 20-30 minutes max.

Two examples: 1) I made a bunch of tweaks to the in-house model and this guy wanted to get the credit he helped me out and all he did was change the color scheme from navy blue to light blue (very laughable) so he can show he did something to the owners. 2) on a deal the firm was looking to acquire, i discounted some cash flows at a discount rate than capitalize the cash flow because there was an end of life to the cash-flow after 5 years (assume you have 100k each year over 5 years so I discounted that stream of cash flows at 8% and the guy was lost and had no idea WTF was going on (had to show him time value of money in excel). 3) he had no idea about MIN, MAX, offset, of basic functionalities in excel

I know way more than this guy and I have only been at this shop for 6 months. He also tries to micromanage, always asking me what I am working on which is just fucking strange!

I want a good relationship with this guy he should be fired!!! I feel like a rising analyst to senior analyst from CBRE, JLL will crush this guy. the owners are picking up on me going directly to them for shit but I am worried shit will blow up soon. any advice or guidance??? THANK YOU!

I know you don't buy deals in excel and owners will say IT'S KNOWING real estate and the RISK & UPSIDE but the first thing people look at is the numbers. Part of why I joined this firm was to see deals from cradle to grave... now I am worried that I will not grow because I am dealing with a moron!! thoughts? How would you deal with someone like this at a SMALL SHOP.

Comments (39)

Nov 2, 2018

Dear god....why would anyone go with the light blue over navy blue?!

If the situation is as you say, just have patience, someone up the chain will notice.

Funniest
Nov 2, 2018

VAN PATTEN: Good formatting.

BATEMAN: That's #0000B2. And the lettering is something called Century Schoolbook.

McDERMOTT: Century Schoolbook?

VAN PATTEN: It is very cool, Bateman. But that's nothing.

He uses the command line to open his .XLS file.

VAN PATTEN: Look at this.

They all lean forward to inspect it.

PRICE: That's really nice.

Bateman clenches his fists beneath the table, trying to control his anxiety.

VAN PATTEN: #000099 with Bodoni type.

(Turning to Bateman)

What do you think?

BATEMAN (barely able to breathe, his voice a croak): Nice.

PRICE: Jesus. This is really super. How'd a nitwit like you get so tasteful?

Bateman stares at his own file and then enviously at McDermott's.

BATEMAN (voiceover): I can't believe that Price prefers McDermott's formatting to mine.

PRICE: But wait. You ain't seen nothin' yet.

He opens his own file.

PRICE: Highlighted variables, #000066...

BATEMAN (choking with anxiety): Impressive. Very nice. Let's see Paul Allen's file.

BATEMAN (voiceover): Look at that subtle navy blue coloring. The tasteful column spacing. Oh my God, it even has named cells...

    • 19
Nov 3, 2018

Well done

But there is a special place in hell for people who name cells

    • 5
    • 1
Nov 2, 2018

Your goal as an analyst or associate or whatever is to 1st..above everything...make your boss look good.

This day and age, you will need a reference should you choose to move to a different job, it only pays for this guy to think that you really helped him out.

Nov 2, 2018

You couldn't tell this guy was an idiot during the interview process?

    • 2
Learn More

Side-by-side comparison of top modeling training courses + exclusive discount through WSO here.

Nov 9, 2018
Esuric:

You couldn't tell this guy was an idiot during the interview process?

You'd be surprised. My office has a token moron too not to dissimilar to OP.

Nov 2, 2018

just a comment on the "what are you working on" boss: i'm sorry, i have been there, it was hell, and looking back from a more experienced/older/wiser perspective i now see what a sad fucking person that boss was.

having said that, i did get through it and i made some adjustments to please that person. be careful because you could be playing with fire. some day you will look back on it and chuckle, trust me.

    • 1
Nov 2, 2018

I am being extremely patient but my goodness...I have noticed so many mistakes in this guys model that I had to write a page long email to the owner sharing all the mistakes I found in the model. This guy was taking broker expenses and rents as is to determine value but luckily for him, the mistakes in the model kind of saved his ass from making a really terrible purchase as they got into a new space.

when I go to meetings with this guy, he usually doesn't have questions prepped in advance of the meeting to discuss and just wants to WING everything. I am not smart but I know a fucking dummy when I see one.

hard to tell a dummy during an interview because the guy could talk about the market and how he has grown with the company. also the owners seem like smart dudes, this guy is just a complete fucking moron and hard to respect him.

Nov 2, 2018

is your username actually your name and a photo of you? If so, i'd argue you are the moron for posting on a public website shit talking your boss

    • 5
Nov 2, 2018

haha, not my name or picture :)

created an account for this post and i have more than 4 years experience.

Nov 2, 2018

4 or 40 years doesn't matter if it was a photo of you ;)

    • 2
Learn More

Side-by-side comparison of top modeling training courses + exclusive discount through WSO here.

Nov 2, 2018

Sorry you're dealing with this. A couple thoughts on office politics based on what you shared:

  1. If this guy "knows" the market but sucks at Excel, go out of your way to take it off his plate. Sometimes people micromanage others because they're afraid someone is going to ask something they don't know and they'll look dumb. The more you own the modeling from the beginning, the fewer opportunities he has to muck it up. Then just assume he will want to take some credit for looking it over and be okay with the ridiculousness of it all. It's a win-win: you know the modeling is solid, he gets to pretend like he did something.
  2. This is weird but if, in the office, you give yourself a sticky nickname like "the Excel guy" or "modeling man" (I'm just making this up as I go) the principals will think of you in that way and will go directly to you for everything technical. Soon the principals will bring you with them to their meetings instead of the manager.
  3. When he asks you what you're working on, it's because he's insecure. He's probably worried the principals will ask him the same question and he won't have an answer. Not saying it's right, but in my experience that's what lazy colleagues do--ask what busy people are up to so they can use the answer for later.
  4. "...so many mistakes in this guys model that I had to write a page long email to the owner sharing all the mistakes I found..." This is not smart. Perhaps you communicated eloquently, but don't put these things in writing. If it's dire, go to the principal that seems to like you the most and explain few things in person. Don't attribute any mistakes to the manager. Remember, the flip side of speaking poorly of Person B to Person A is that now Person A knows you're capable of speaking poorly of them to Person B, C, D, E...
  5. Corollary to 4 is that if you're seen as the guy building up Person A to Person B, and B to A, you will quickly build goodwill and trust.
  6. "the owners are picking up on me going directly to them for shit" don't do this either. Let them come to you for info (nickname trick), but if you're proactively leapfrogging the manager, his insecurity is going to motivate him to crush you.

This guy is probably not going to be a long-term asset to the firm, but getting along with him is your first of many interpersonal challenges.

    • 3
Nov 2, 2018

Modelling Man

Worst superhero ever.

    • 9
Nov 2, 2018

Haha admittedly this is not my best work.

Nov 2, 2018

great feedback! I will do less talking and just keep crushing things! will give an update in 3 to 6 months. until then.

MIKE MOTHER FUCKING BUZZUTO... buying at 3% cap and selling at 10% cap... BUY HIGH, SELL LOW!! GET THAT IRR in the IRR and level up using debt funds to 85%. crushing deals since the GREAT RECESSION. BA DA BING!

    • 2
Nov 2, 2018
Mike-Bozzuto:

great feedback! I will do less talking and just keep crushing things! will give an update in 3 to 6 months. until then.

MIKE MOTHER FUCKING BUZZUTO... buying at 3% cap and selling at 10% cap... BUY HIGH, SELL LOW!! GET THAT IRR in the IRR and level up using debt funds to 85%. crushing deals since the GREAT RECESSION. BA DA BING!

Make sure your DCR is 0.4 or lower I/O. And everything should be recourse. Recourse loans are the best.

    • 4
    • 1
Nov 2, 2018

I dont know why you are so worried. If the founders of your firm are smart people, that is all that matters. Smart people like making money, and that is done best by having an effective organization. If what you say is true and you can make the founders more money by being in your bosses spot all you have to do is put your head down, shut up, and prove it. Talking gets people in a lot of trouble. If the founders are not smart, get a new job.

    • 1
Nov 2, 2018

Let's just get something out there for all I've never come across a model either in IB/PE that did not have errors in it (in IB it's common ALWAYS to plug the BS to make it balance...), albeit not always major errors to throw off a deal's returns but no model is without errors and I guarantee yours have errors in them too.

There's no shortage of idiocy in REPE given the varied backgrounds people get into the industry especially coming from investment sales/brokerage...

Most Helpful
Nov 3, 2018

You think this is crazy, but I have seen it worse. So I used to work in acquisitions for a REIT, which is public now. I won't name names, but the CEO, who is still there currently is the dumbest motherf**ker around. He doesn't even know LTV or anything. Only reason he is CEO is because his very wealth HNW friend started it and put him in charge since thats his friend. He BSed to his HNW friend that he knows what hes doing. I still remember our weekly meetings. One of the first meetings I had with him, I mentioned to the room that we got some solid term sheets with good LTVs. He said is the "LTZ" good. I pause for a sec to think wtf he just said. I said yes its at 70%. He's like so how much % equity do we put in. I was thinking this was trick question or something. I said uhh 30%. He pondered over it. He then says, is there anyway the bank can do like "90-95% LTZ". At this point, my head was gonna exploded, not only did this dumbf*ck not understand basic underwriting criteria, but he kept saying LTZ.

Oh there was another time, I had to fix all his grammatical mistakes since he is dyslexic. Oh then he claims he is well-connected in politics and told his HNW founder that his connections will help the REIT. Nobody and I mean nobody would even take a meeting with this guy. I caught him in so many lies as well. He claimed in one meeting that he raised half a billion for another public reit. I said oh cool, which REIT. He said well you probably havent heard of it. I said, but you said its public so I am just curious. He then changed the topic.

I was truly amazed that the CEO of a large publicly traded REIT didn't know anything. You put an undergrad from a community college that took some basic real estate classes, they'd be better qualified to run this thing. I quit there, but I am not revealing names due to an NDA, otherwise I'd tell everyone to short the stock. After this experience, I realized that the C-suite execs for RE companies may not all be that smart. They are just friends of founders/owners who BSed there way into these positions. So in short don't let it get to you. You may no doubt be smarter, but he just happens to have wealthy friends.

    • 6
Nov 2, 2018

He said well you probably havent heard of it

She goes to a different school.

    • 6
Nov 2, 2018

In my experience, I have come to realize that there are quite a few senior folks at especially bigger firms who have slipped through the cracks and somehow landed in roles that they should not be in. I know I cannot be the one one who feels this way given your comment and also Sam Rothstein's comment below me. We all know "VP" or "Directors" who are just so poor when it comes to understanding the basics of real estate finance, excel and just things that a college student should know. But the question is how did they become a VP or a Director? I know that in real estate there is massive title inflation where everybody is a VP but how did they get promoted? My theory is they are the ones that will be at the same firm for 20-30 years and ride their luck all the way till retirement because they cannot interview at any other firm because then during the course of the interview their poor knowledge will come through. So, their best bet is to continue to stay at their current firm. They can get away with it when you have analysts doing all the work and associates checking the analysts work, so your job essentially becomes reviewing the associates work but you know jack shit so you just pretend to review the work, make a few suggestions about formatting and then be like- "all good to go!, send it to the credit/investment committee!" Or your job is so far removed from the granular minutia of excel modeling and you basically have "high level decisions on strategy" all day along.

Can this happen in any other industry? Can you imagine stuff like this happening in medicine? Incompetent folks are often let go at the very early stages in other fields, they dont get to slip through the cracks and get promotions like they do in real estate. And what is amazing is that people will continue to get away with it as real estate is not rocket science. So that idiot CEO might be an idiot now, but with just sheer exposure he would get to real estate every day for years, eventually- might be a decade from now, he will be at a point where he would have picked up on stuff and learnt things along the way that would made him atleast somewhat competent and not a liability. But that is awful because he is still in a role that he should not be in and took an opportunity away from some other deserving candidate, but such is life and it's not a fair world.

Nov 2, 2018

Incompetence is everywhere, there are retards at harvard and geniuses at SUNY Stonybrook. It's not where you go/who you worked for it's what you know/how intelligent you are (both bookwise and street wise, can't do a deal without street smarts especially in CRE). I wouldn't use medicine as an industry that weeds out the retards, most doctors today are garbage practitioners who turn to drugs as the only recourse for treatment, spend 5 minutes or less with the patient and are grossly focused on early retirement and how to invest their earnings than on true patient care. And if you think this is wrong, simply goto 5 doctors, and you will get 5 different diagnoses. Variation when there is 1 right answer implies idiocy.

I'd say CRE from what I've seen having worked with a # of different firms has a lot of morons in it because of (1) nepotism and (2) the "it's real estate" attitude that no matter how bad you fuck up a deal, you still have a brick and mortar building at the end of the day + land that has intrinsic value instead of a company that has all intangible assets, so you're ability to fuck up a deal is floored at the intrinsic value of the RE even if it's generating no income.

    • 1
Nov 3, 2018

This thread is full of comedic gold, from the actual stories (especially "LTZ") to the banter. Lmao @Edifice with "She does to a different school." You guys probably haven't heard of it/her. Lmao.

I spent a few years in a role that involved real estate consulting. Beyond a doubt, there is no industry that has a wider breadth of intellectual horsepower or moral fiber within its ranks than the commercial real estate industry. There are some absolutely brilliant, hard-working people in CRE that I loved interacting with, but there are also some complete and total morons who are too dumb to understand how dumb they really are. And the latter types are usually the most arrogant as well.

I don't know if it's the nepotism, or the late-night infomercials about making millions flipping houses, or those factors plus others, but there are all these people who seem to want to be in real estate so they can say they're "in real estate" while harboring delusions about all the millions they're going to make.

I never met so many people who are in the financial world but have no fucking idea how it works. They barely know what The Fed is or how it works (some don't even know) even though interest rates are such a key factor in any deal. They'd just be like "the cap rate survey says the cap rate should be 6.5%" and I'd be like "Okay, well do we want to think about whether that cap rate is really applicable to this property or whether some of the assumptions we're making here might not necessarily be sound?" No, we don't. We don't want to think. In fact, we don't even conceptually understand what a cap rate is, we just know that the survey says to use this number.

It was truly astounding. I think that, more than anything else, drove me away from ever wanting to specialize in real estate. I do asset management now and real estate is a factor in some of the deals I look at, but I'm thankful that I'm not at a real estate firm. I don't know how you guys do it.

I guess the root of my animosity is that I like people who actually like finance, at least to some degree. I like people who are intellectually curious about markets and understanding how everything works. I don't like working with people who clearly only got involved in the financial world because they wanted to get rich quick. and have no passion for investing or economics. It's usually fairly obvious who those people are, and there is an inordinate number of them in the commercial real estate world

"Now you's can't leave." -Sonny LoSpecchio

    • 3
Nov 4, 2018

I don't have a RE background but this thread confirms by worst stereotypes about the industry.

    • 2
    • 1
Nov 2, 2018

There is a bit of truth to all the stereotypes., nobody can deny that. And they just get amplified more in smaller shops.

Nov 9, 2018

Ha, this sounds like a similar experience I had; luckily it was a hired acquisitions person. He was gone after a year due to not being able to close a deal.

Nov 14, 2018

I too, can feel your pain. The prior job I came from who relocated across the country was the best leadership I ever worked for. Young guys who were brilliant and very hard working. Perfect balance of humor and hard work made for a serious environment that you really wanted to put your all in to. Then I jumped ship to your typical well known small town local developer - family owned and operated. I was a financial analyst, the CEO was definitely more of a marketing/operations mindset, thus relied heavily on the CFO/SVP to run with any analysis (did not want to be bothered with compound vs non-compounding pref rates, etc.). Simply, the new manager was just 'off' from the start. Took a demotion from his prior job to work here (which is also a much smaller company). Huge micro-managing issues and was very hypocritical. Never at the office, and came off very abrasive and scatter brained during meetings. I will say, he was from the area, and was connected to many of the managers and their circle. Deep down, did the leadership sense the tension he caused and the issues I explained? I would think of course, as it was extremely obvious and regularly vented by others at the company. However, there is no way the outcome is going to be "let's get rid of a senior manager who is socially in our circle, and have an entry level analyst steer the ship until we find a replacement he better meshes with". That is stating the obvious, but you get the picture. Essentially, you need to move firms. It doesn't sound like it's going to get better....and if he's tight with the CEO, you will likely be the one who gets the axe as he WILL end up going behind your back to complain, which you do not have the luxury of doing yourself... just my two cents.

    • 1