So things just got VERY hairy at my work

So things just got VERY hairy at my work. I am an analyst at a multifamily real estate development firm. I work on underwriting potential opportunities as well as project MGMT related tasks. My coworker (superior) just got an offer at another firm. His position at our company is called Development Associate. His job is much more intensive and requires more in depth knowledge as it pertains to project management. He gets paid significantly more than me and there may be a play to take on his responsibilities and bump my pay considering we run incredibly lean (Principal, Development Associate, Analyst).

Is there anybody who can shed some light on how I can prepare for this Development Associate position? How can I take on this learning curve? Are there are any educational resources you can recommend? I only have a couple of months to prove myself or my boss will find somebody else. Below are some examples of my responsibilities as well as my colleagues. Any help would be super appreciative.

Analyst role in a nut shell
* Evaluating offering memorandums, underwriting potential opportunities, conducting market research, negotiating term sheets, pitching to potential equity partners, coordinating with consultants such as architects, and processing due diligence materials.

Development Associate in a nut shell
* Assist in coordinating tasks associated with the analysis, planning, and development of projects, including creating project concept & vision.
* Assist in the design phase to meet project objectives
* Coordinate pre-development schedule, budget, and cost estimating with consultants during pre-development phase
* Work with the GC to address construction issues, costs, and addressing change orders
* Provide project updates to certain stakeholders
* Develop and maintain proforma models. Analyzing return metrics and tracking budgets and assumptions to meet return thresholds
* Managing new deal flow; facilitating due diligence and transaction closings

Comments (22)

Oct 4, 2018

how many years of experience do you have?

Oct 4, 2018

Thanks Chekastack for the reply. About 3 years

Oct 4, 2018

sounds like most of these responsibility can be learned on the job, but you will get thrown in the deep end. The main question is if your principal is willing to teach and guide you through the uncertainty vs him hiring someone who has direct experience.

    • 1
Most Helpful
Oct 4, 2018

hairy?? sounds awesome! congrats! you'll learn!

    • 13
Oct 4, 2018

Agreed. Not hairy, exciting!

    • 1
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Oct 4, 2018

Look at this as an opportunity. Timing is everything. Fake it till you make it.

    • 5
Oct 5, 2018

+1. Anytime I have been able to 'Upgrade" my role/position/pay, you get outside of your comfort box and indeed 'fake it' till you make it. Sink or Swim!!

    • 3
Oct 4, 2018

Yep. In 2000 when I made a firm switch from residential to commercial, I created a company name with commercial in the name. I had only closed one commercial deal in my career at that point, lol. Sometimes you just have to double down on yourself.

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Oct 4, 2018

Unfortunately there is no easy/go-to resource for development execution stuff...it's all picked up live on deals. I would just recommend getting as intimately familiar with the projects he is working on as you can. Stuff like:
-getting familiar with the architectural plans, unit layouts
-become expert with site issues/constraints--easements, utility problems, code issues. Read your due diligence memos
-know the zoning approach inside and out--entitlement timeline/process, variances you are pursuing, etc.

At the end of the day it is usually easier for the senior guys to promote someone with clear expertise of the intricacies of a project than it is to get someone brand new completely up to speed, depending how far along you are.

    • 3
Oct 4, 2018

How much do you know about construction and development?

Oct 5, 2018

With three years of experience, I would think that you've observed enough of what the Associate does to be able to do it yourself. Sure, there will be a learning curve, but if you can already describe their responsibilities, I think you have the potential.

Start taking on some of his work now so you can leverage him for help. The Associate should be more than willing to delegate. You'll have to take over on some level anyway. Even if the Principal decides to hire someone else, there's gonna be some downtime between the old and new associates, during which time you'll have to step up.

    • 1
Oct 5, 2018
StrictlyBusiness:

Analyst role in a nut shell
* Evaluating offering memorandums, underwriting potential opportunities, conducting market research, negotiating term sheets, pitching to potential equity partners, coordinating with consultants such as architects, and processing due diligence materials.

Development Associate in a nut shell
* Assist in coordinating tasks associated with the analysis, planning, and development of projects, including creating project concept & vision.
* Assist in the design phase to meet project objectives
* Coordinate pre-development schedule, budget, and cost estimating with consultants during pre-development phase
* Work with the GC to address construction issues, costs, and addressing change orders
* Provide project updates to certain stakeholders
* Develop and maintain proforma models. Analyzing return metrics and tracking budgets and assumptions to meet return thresholds
* Managing new deal flow; facilitating due diligence and transaction closings

This can be hard to give advice on because almost every development shop does things a bit differently, but nothing in your "development associate" description is rocket science. With your three years on the job already, you can more than likely figure it all out.

Most of it sounds like an expansion of what you already do - keep a list, stay organized, ask tons of questions from your professionals, keep pushing things forward, keep checking things off the list, etc.

    • 3
Oct 5, 2018

Came here for juicy office drama and gossip, I am utterly disappointed. This is a situation that many young analysts would want to be in one day and its a dream scenario, this is not a negative thing.

    • 2
Oct 4, 2018

Haha same.

Oct 5, 2018

Congrats on the opportunity! Sounds daunting, but is also very exciting and a way to really streamline your development.

Oct 5, 2018

Congrats - sounds like there is a promotion there for you to lose only! Have you not been able to shadow the Development guy while you have been there in an analyst role? If so, I would guess you have seen him execute on all of those responsibilities. That is the best way to learn anyway. If you want to take the next step, I would vouch for myself and tell the Principal that I'm ready and ask them to let you at least cover this work for a while before deciding if they want to hire a replacement for the Development Associate. Ask for your chance, or better yet if he leaves, just start doing it, and take the reigns. Be a little aggressive about it. Good luck.

    • 1
Oct 5, 2018

Kaizen, my friend. When you feel overwhelmed, you need to remember to take everything in bits. Every day go in, learn as much as you can, then get gradually better. You shouldn't look at it as gradually drowning, but gradually getting better. If you make a mistake, learn from it, don't do it again. When you inevitably make another mistake, learn from that one, don't do that one again. After a while, you will have seen enough where you know where you could have a pitfall, and will know to avoid it. The most important thing you can do is learn, be thoughtful, and try not to make the same mistake twice. As others have said, this is a good opportunity, view it as such. There's no pressure on your end - you already have a job. Worst case scenario you keep said job, best case scenario you get a better version of same job and more $.

    • 3
Oct 8, 2018

SB for the Kaizen reference.

Oct 8, 2018

Huge opportunity for you. That said, you will be much more challenged in terms of responsibilities. Some advice (I used to have this same role).

  • Fully understand the pre-development process with the municipality. Keep a detailed timeline with critical dates.
  • Develop a close working relationship with the main point of contact for the architect, civil engineer, and general contractor. These players will all be looking at your team to quarterback the development. Make sure that your are commanding them to do things by a certain date and holding them responsible. Calling is better than emailing - make sure you are proactively following up (almost but not fully to the point of annoyance).
  • Have a very clear idea of what the municipality needs for different submittals, how long it takes them to review, and how much it costs for all fees. These fees can pop up out of nowhere and quickly change a project's forecasted returns.
  • Spend time at the site. Get to know the Superintendent personally - this guy can make or break the project. Make sure he is commanding the subs and rigorously keeping deadlines. If he is not, have the GC replace him. He is the most important third party contact during this whole process. Better to go straight to the Super than dealing with Project Manager who spend most of their time in the office.
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Oct 8, 2018

Adding on to this - if the Superintendent is a stereotypical Super, bring him a nice bottle of whiskey or some cigars as a little appreciation gift. This guy fighting day in and day out for your schedule goes a longggggg way.