RE Developer Career Path

I'm a sophomore in undergrad w/ 3.6 gpa at a non-target school. I'm a RE Finance major. Eventually, I'd like to own a development shop. Is it better to go into something like REPE first out of college to get your feet wet on the financial side or is it better to just try to find a spot with a development shop? Would you suggest grad school. If so, MBA or MSRED?

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Dec 29, 2020 - 2:50pm

I went to community college for 3 years, then night school to get my bachelors for 2 years, graduated both with a sub 3.2 gpa. Started as a residential agent for 6 months, moved to a commercial broker role in a major city for 3 years and about a year ago joined a very lean, but very successful, development shop that develops all around the Country. There's no right answer and everyone's path looks different. Know where you want to end up and work to get there. 

Dec 29, 2020 - 3:01pm

First, use the search function. A lot of these topics have been covered pretty in-depth on this forum. Lots of good content out there. 

The best "first real estate job" out of college is one where you have access to experienced mentors willing to teach you the ropes. This could be in any aspect to the industry (REPE, development, asset management, brokerage etc.) The key is being at a reputable firm that is known in your markets(s). Does not have to be a mega fund/developer, it can be, just has to be a place where you get good exposure to the industry. DO NOT focus on pay. Don't chose one job over the other because it pays $10k more your first year.

Keep in mind REPE and development are the hardest/most competitive roles to break into as a college grad. A strong GPA, while a plus, is not what will get you in. It's all about your connections. Get involved in your schools real estate club and start networking with real estate alumni to build connections.

If you want to be a developer, you'll probably want to work for a development firm at some point. Does not have to be your first job out of school. Good development jobs are hard to get when you're 22. A lot of alums from my school worked in brokerage for 2 years and then used their network/basic modeling skills to break into development. That's just one path, but there are many.

I can't comment on MBA/MSRED much, but I would not go directly out of undergrad. I would gain a few years of work experience first. 

Dec 29, 2020 - 3:53pm

If you are not able to get into an national institutional or working for a local area big shot developer, I would focus on the next best thing in terms of experience, which would be the people that work with developers.

So that would be brokers and lenders if you want to take the finance path. This way you will have more relevant experience that you can bring to the table when gunning for a development position. An MBA or MRED is always helpful, but not 100% a necessity unless you are dead set on getting experience at like Hines before you go out on your own.

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