What is Your "System" to Complete Work in CRE?

jkl123's picture
Rank: Senior Monkey | 80

I was watching this excellent video where a Goldman MD talks about the skills necessary to work in a transaction-oriented role. At 8:53 in the video he mentions how important it is to have a system in place when completing work. At 12:10 he goes into a little more detail regarding building a system.

As I'm about to start my first job in a month as an acquisitions analyst at a REPE firm, I'd be curious to hear what systems you guys have in place to get work done whether it be underwriting, drafting IC memos, emails, etc.

Comments (5)

Most Helpful
May 10, 2019

Re: building a system, I would (a) seek out best practices, (b) work hard to internalize deal roadmaps so you learn where problems can pop up next time, and (c) to make checklists out of the previous two things. Sounds like that's what the speaker did, too.

Thank you for sharing the video. It's always good to be reminded of the fundamentals. Some notes I took (nothing you haven't already read here on WSO but delivered concisely by a late-career professional):


  1. interpersonal skills (convey to client that they should have confidence in you)
  2. quantitative skills
  3. interest in business (front page of WSJ 2-3 days/week)
  4. be discrete
  5. be comfortable with conflict
  6. be able to put the client first


  1. be a student (find someone who does this job really well and study that person, learn as much as you can from them)
  2. have a system
  3. take control (clients want you to tell them what to do, you have the expertise)
  4. empathy (think about what's important to client and what they're going through, emotionally and professionally, articulate that understanding)


  • the more transactions you work on early on, the more readily you're able to deal with curveballs when you experience them
  • have the right attitude, don't become wedded to a particular outcome early (don't even become wedded to the transaction itself)

RELATIONSHIPS for changing jobs

  • after transaction over, keep relationship going with professionals
  • later you can call them up and say I'm really interested in potentially working in X, I like what you do, and I'd love to have lunch and talk about it

SAYING NO to a client

  • "if you give me this deadline, I will not be able to deliver the work product that you want me to deliver. I will not do a good job. I'm not going to do that to you."
  • "you're too important to me, to do that to you and your company"
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May 10, 2019

1) Wake up next to gf and try to get some before work

2) Drink cold brew mixed into breakfast shake (DM for recipe) but not watered down, jet fuel is necessary to succeed in this business

3) Jam until a coworker convinces me to leave the office to get lunch, unless I have a lunch meeting. In that case I leave 2 mins before the meeting and arrive 15 minutes late.

4) Complete other tasks and/or wrap up morning task until 3 pm rolls around...time for coffee!

5) Phone calls typically end after 3, which means its prime time to get focus work done before the sun goes down and the city lights are visible out the office window. By 7 pm, the admin and I are making jokes about who's staying later, but she's 65 and obese so don't get any ideas prick.

6) Gf has dinner made most nights, which is a godsend. A bottle of wine later, you hit the sack and your brain continues thinking about complex deals you're working on--melatonin is key here.

May 11, 2019

That's Jim Donovan. He was nominated to be Deputy Secretary of the Treasury by Trump, but withdrew his name from consideration. He seems normal, but he is embroiled in a wild lawsuit in Massachusetts. I don't use the word 'wild' lightly. His dad claimed he hired Russian hit-men to shoot him, but it turns out, his dad shot himself and was attempting to frame him. I mean--it's a ready-made Netflix movie I want to see go into production tomorrow.

May 20, 2019

to be able to live life at such a high level with a father like that... he's earned my respect.

May 12, 2019
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