What was your path to a Real Estate Private Equity job? Looking for advice

damnthatsWACC's picture
Rank: Chimp | 11

After looking for many hours on the RE forum here, it's become clear that the career path into real estate private equity is not structured at all like the traditional private equity path. It appears people take many different routes but are still able to end up in the space. I'm curious to hear your transition into REPE, what stepping stones you've used, what you've enjoyed, and what you might change. Hearing diverse backgrounds would help me to decide what route would be most direct into the REPE space.

For reference, I am a junior finance major 3.3 GPA at a non-target University of [State]. This spring I've doubled up on internships, one at a small REIT and another for a small VC firm. Going into summer, I've interviewed at both a property management company for a sales-based role and a large regional bank for a credit analyst role in their real estate banking department. Given the choice, which would set me up for easier future success in the REPE space, preferably in an acquisitions role? What might be the logical next step looking into internships this next fall/spring?

I would appreciate any advice and am excited to read your career paths.

Comments (12)

Feb 12, 2020

As you mention in your post, there is no specific path to REPE. While I cannot speak from direct personal experience, as I am currently working as a senior analyst in a debt fund, I do have a lot of friends who are in REPE and each has a different background. I think the most important thing you can do when coming out of school is to find a job where you are going to get good deal flow. When coming out of school, it is key to learn as much as you can from an early stage. If acquisitions is your goal, then underwriting will be a critical skill. Remember that ARGUS experience can go a long way in this industry, so try to land a role where you will gain these skills.

Additionally, if given the opportunity, I'd take the credit analyst role. In my opinion, property management will not give you any transferable skills that will stand out on your resume. Just keep in mind that if you don't get an offer at a REPE firm straight out of school, you can always make the jump once you have some experience under your belt.

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Feb 12, 2020

Got my undergrad B.A.in history. Came from a family where not many of us went to college, so i had no idea what i was doing. Landed a jobas a researcher at a major brokerage making $38k, basically writting office market reports and helping brokers make comp surveys Made friends with the brokers and got them to intro me to their clients/help me find a job on the ownership side. Was able to land an analyst gig with a regional developer. Lateral transition from developer to LP acquisitions team and have moved up the ranks since then.

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Feb 12, 2020

How long did you work at the brokerage firm until you transferred to the analyst role with the regional developer?

Feb 12, 2020

About 2 years. Longer than i would have liked because I was targeting a different city, but ended up working out in the end.

Feb 12, 2020

Network network network. It's really all about who you know in this industry. Try to connect with alumni and ask around your social circle. I found my first private equity role through networking with alumni.

Feb 12, 2020

Fell into it on accident. Worked traditional PE internship at a family office and was contacted by a HH for a REPE position. Networked my ass off to get to the PE internship, but the analyst role fell into my lap.

Don't @ me

Feb 13, 2020
  • Non-target school (don't think targets count as much in REPE, but maybe I'm wrong)
  • Big 4 audit with RE clients
  • Corporate finance/fund management at small PE firm doing ground leases
  • LIFE EVENT: S/O gets transferred to new city where I don't have any contacts/know any recruiters
  • Networked (i.e. LinkedIn stalked) my way to a job. They weren't looking at first, but by the time I talked to a second person at the company, they were.
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Most Helpful
Feb 14, 2020
  • Non-Ivy target B-school, undergrad GPA 2.9
  • Sophomore summer internship at LMM REPE. Started as a research intern, taught myself RE modeling and transitioned into an Acquisitions role. Did so well they kept me on the full year and gave me a 2x raise
  • Junior summer internship at MF REPE. Important to note that no MF REPEs recruit at my school, so this was a cold application through their website.
  • Got a return offer. Currently filling the gap by working at a boutique RE investment/development firm.

My advice to you: always be hustling. Don't take a break if you can't afford to. In my last 2 years of college, I went from a 1.18 GPA to a 3.8 (semester, not cumulative). I worked full time in the summers and part time during the school year just to get experience. Even once I landed the MF REPE job, I still didn't take a break because I know there's a good chance I might not be at the job forever. I'm making connections before I start that role so that there are doors open for me in case I get burned out or I'm looking to start a family with my fiancee earlier than expected. At my current role, I've been crushing it and already have an offer to work here after my term at MF ends.

Real Estate Careers discord: https://discord.gg/cxzJ2mj r/repe subreddit newly created

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  • Associate 2 in RE - Comm
Feb 14, 2020

How common is it in REPE to invest on the GP side of projects with your firm?

Is this the reason everyone has such a hard on for PE on this chat... Or is it just the most prestigious lol

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Feb 14, 2020

Yeah, I'd much rather be in acquisitions/development at a family office or something and have a path to breaking off on my own than be an asset management cog at Carlyle/BX.

In real estate it really is the role and the experience, not the brand and the capital source (although if that brand and capital source affords you better deal reps, all the more power to you).

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Feb 14, 2020
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