Post-MBA to REPE

I'm currently a Big 4 consultant with around 2 years of experience interested in transitioning into real estate private equity. I've had a lot of conversations / interviews with smaller / mid-size shops but keep getting told that I would be a good fit but right now they need to hire someone with a real estate background already (and that they would keep me in mind if an entry level analyst role comes up).

As such, I decided to go out and apply to a few T20 MBA programs. I'm a little concerned that coming out of the MBA, I either won't be competitive for REPE roles or I'll be slotted back into a pre-MBA entry level role, since I'll only have 2.5 years experience upon matriculation. In your experience, have you seen hires from T15 (NYU, Cornell) or T20 schools (UNC, UTA, USC, etc.) make a jump into real estate private equity without prior real estate experience? And is that at an analyst or associate level with lower comp? I'm just concerned that if I go to school, I could end up on the low end of the spectrum that some of these schools put out (70 - 80k which would be a pay cut).

Alternatively, I could wait it out for the market to pick back up and try to transition without an MBA or apply again to some of the M7 in a year or two (I have the GMAT / GPA but the work experience killed my applications). Thank you!

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Comments (6)

  • Analyst 2 in Consulting
Feb 26, 2021 - 3:56pm

Yeah, I definitely think that makes sense. I'm pretty interested in one of those T20 programs, but I'm a little concerned about the quality of the students given the much lower score averages. Also at such a specialized school, options other than real estate aren't so appealing if anything changes. I think the big differentiator is going to be the ability to come in at the Associate level (since I think I can get an analyst position if the market picks back up).

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  • Works at Jones Lang LaSalle
Feb 26, 2021 - 12:39pm

Have you searched on LinkedIn anyone who had your current role and is now on the principal side? I'd suggest to start there and get their thoughts.

Not sure if an MBA would be the answer here, maybe an MSRE/D if you know RE is what you want long term, otherwise MBA offers optionality, but costly and not needed for most RE positions. However, I do not know anyone with an MBA who came in as an analyst. I see a lot of people with MSRE/D come in as analysts though, but the quality of shops vary. I think with 2 years post UG experience, you are a fit for most entry level RE analyst positions (not really entry level, 1-3 years exp usually).

Can't speak on associate recruiting since I am an analyst as well but I think you would need more work experience and probably an MBA if you're gonna target the true PE shops where MBA grads go. Two years at Big 4 doesn't scream " REPE associate-caliber". But overall, there are so many buyside firms where you do not need a grad degree to work there. The higher caliber the shop, sure, but for MM/LMM firms, you definitely shouldn't and usually the principals at these firms are hustlers as well.

I would recommend for now just continuing to target specific firms and roles that interest you and keep pounding pavement with networking. Principal side recruiting should pick up as spring/summer is near and investment activity should ramp out during that time as well. 

  • Analyst 2 in Consulting
Feb 26, 2021 - 4:00pm

Yeah, this definitely makes a lot of sense. I've networked pretty extensively, but unfortunately have seen very few people make the jump with such little real estate experience. In the job market now, self-taught financial modeling doesn't seem to cut it either. I'm just hesitant to take a step back from consulting and look at non-PE real estate roles if the real estate goal doesn't materialize.

Feb 26, 2021 - 12:52pm

I just started as an analyst at an small ~$1.7B AUM REPE focused on the middle market. Graduated from state school and worked as a CRE broker for a year made basically no money and was recruited for this role. Honestly not sure how I got here but I am happy to answer any questions if you DM me

Feb 27, 2021 - 12:25pm

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