Skills/certification/designation required to stand out.

I am a fourth year student major in finance with residential real estate background of owning one rental property, did an internship as an analyst for six months at a company. My school does not have a real estate program.

I am looking into acquisitions where I want to develop my skills and to eventually set out on my own to do syndication in multi family. I am looking for an analyst role to break in but I am not sure how. 

My grades aren't the best as my GPA is at 3. Although, I was able to generate capital to fund my first rental while in school full time and do some "wholesale" deals in residential real estate to fund my tuition. (Perhaps that can be utilized as an excuse for my poor grades?)

With a low GPA, will I be able to still get into a great firm that focuses on acquisitions? If so what are some acquisition firms in Canada?

Additionally, any courses/designations I can take on the side so I can stand out and help in the long run?

Thank you :)  


Comments (8)

Dec 25, 2020 - 4:20pm

Karl-Dela Cruz


My grades aren't the best as my GPA is at 3. Although, I was able to generate capital to fund my first rental while in school full time and do some "wholesale" deals in residential real estate to fund my tuition. (Perhaps that can be utilized as an excuse for my poor grades?) 

So, I am not the kind of person to say something cannot be done, lots of rule breakers here on this forum (I've broken many, especially around the whole "non-target" joke). 

That said, roles at legit institutional grade principal shops are limited for people direct from UG on a good day. Those that exist are hyper competitive and many may "screen you out" based on GPA, it's not that they are judging you so much as they get tons of applicants and its an easy way to screen. Plus, institutional firms are full of 3.75+ types, nature of the game. You mention a 6 month analyst internship, if you had a shot, it might be with that firm or something closely like it (if you can network in). 

What you can target and get a foothold in is adjacent fields like brokerage and commercial appraisal, there will be a firm (really many) that will like you if you present well. Many will give two shits about GPA, just want to see hunger/eagerness to learn. From there, you can figure the rest out with time. If you can close out your GPA above 3.0, you can still get into many decent MBA/MSRE/D grad programs and leverage up in a few years if you so chose.

As to the resi deals.... personally, I would reference on a resume and talk about, but in very limited frame if at all. The intuitional/commercial side of real estate could care less if you owned rental houses, did rehabs/wholesales, or really anything in that area. Nothing negative about, and it can be useful in showing your entrepreneurial side (to that end, it is a VERY good answer to someone asking "why the low GPA", even if a 3.0 isn't really that low). The brokerage world will be the area that appreciates this the most, the people looking for analysts will not care (and some will see "entrepreneurial" as a negative, if you attempt to conflate resi deals with CRE, you will get laughed at). 

As to courses/designations, I would focus on real estate modeling (excel) and argus certification, these all get discussed on WSO often so search around for info/recommendations. If brokerage does appeal to you, getting a real estate license is not a bad idea, no harm and may help. 

Dec 26, 2020 - 2:55am

As someone 15 years in the game, always bring something different.  Also your reputation for integrity, competence, and judgement will be more most important assets beyond your early years.

Have compassion as well as ambition and you’ll go far in life
Dec 29, 2020 - 10:59pm

Congrats on owning real estate and the internship!

Like many said, acquisition roles want someone who's excellent at modeling but I'd also add that they need someone who's sensible enough to speak somewhat intelligently about those metrics (ex. if your OpEx ratio is too high, if you're buying at too high of a cap rate in the market, etc.) so try to get good at that. If you want to do Acq., try to get an unpaid/low-pay internship at a private syndication shop doing exactly that (not sure if this is what you did for the 6 month internship you had). Then you can pitch yourself to CRE people saying that you did exactly what Acq. Analysts do (underwrite deals, source debt, due diligence, pitch to investment committee, etc.) on a smaller scale, so doing it for larger deals at XYZ firm should be an easy transition.

The rental is great for "why real estate" but like others have said, make sure you know that it's "just a house" and the limitations of it. Also be very comfortable answering any Qs about the property and back it up so that they know you're the real deal. I have a rental too and have gotten questions in my interviews like "why this market? What cap rate did you buy it at? [Trick Q: cap rates are inaccurate to measure residential properties!], etc." 

Good luck! Feel free to PM me if I can be of a resource.

Dec 30, 2020 - 12:44am

I have been going through some quick CRE financial modelling to get the basics. But not sure if that is enough.

Would you have some resources to familiarize myself with the different types of metrics. Any great courses you can recommend.

I really want to get into an acquisition role because I want to own commercial real estate in the future. If I can bring the skills, I'd have a better chance to attract investors.

Thank you!

Dec 30, 2020 - 4:08pm

It's definitely not enough to get the basics. You'll have to go very in depth on what the different metrics are and how they relate to each other. A.CRE has some great resources including a glossary of all the terms CRE professionals use. I'd also recommend what someone mentioned earlier: the modeling courses like BIWS, REFM, and Argus training if you can afford it.

If you can get really good at underwriting deals, then you can find those deals, and then you'll be able to get the capital and do your own deals.

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