Working Directly for Principal - will learn/build relationship or based on below not really?

Had an opportunity to work directly for a principal in Acqusitions/Development. Initial discussions on pay were shit ($30k all in). Due to timing (accepted another offer) didn't get far enough to really discuss pay overall team was 5 people - 2 principals, 3 older (30-50s) Acqusitions, asset mgmt, PM. 

In the last year they've bought $250mm in assets and are developing a few $50-100mm projects. Curious if this would have been a great opportunity working directly for 1/2 principals doing whatever they need?

I feel like based on the shit pay it's questionable bc it shows they didn't value my skills (1-2 years our school, can model) but would've got good experience not sure about actually building a relationship with the principal unless there for 4 years+ doing good work which would also be a goal. Be the right hand man of them eventually. 

Bringing this up for potential opportunities in the future if it's still open.

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Comments (28)

Nov 23, 2021 - 1:01pm

So $30k is like a $15 an hour job (assuming 40 hr weeks no less)..... This is substantially below the rate interns at legit firms are making right now.

Personally... I think firms value people based on what they pay them, so if they want to pay you $30k, they think you are worth $30k, and may treat you accordingly.

So, I don't think too highly of these "opportunities" BUT I can't say its not a good deal for SOME to do, all depends what your other opportunities are (clearly, you had a better one!). If you, or anyone, does something like this, treat it like an INTERNSHIP, and stay on the market.

As to learning from "principals"... eh, maybe good, but not sure if that really varies from working for any other firm in all reality (I guess no way to generalize, at least).

  • Analyst 1 in RE - Comm
Nov 23, 2021 - 2:09pm

Obviously wasn't a good offer, I was never going to accept that $30k. My thought was it was a pretty big shop in terms of deals and has backing, since I'm directly working for one of the principals that's a good opportunity. I'm also looking at it as a I'm getting experience now and will obviously be more valuable/ready for this type of role. Maybe I'm too stuck on the shop because clearly they were fine fucking me over on pay. 

Curious in your experience since there's 2-3 other people at the office wouldn't it seem like I'd be working for all the older executives in reality? It was an informal interview and just with the guy I'd be working for so not sure what that means.  Kinda seems like it. 

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Nov 23, 2021 - 2:28pm

So, I'm not sure I understand.... are you saying the "gig" was to be like a personal assistant for a particular partner? As opposed to a general analyst/associate of the firm? 

In small firms, it's virtually impossible for me to guess/generalize... some are like top-down dictatorial organizations with one true "leader" (often who's name is on the door...), and others are true "collectives" with partners being very equal/democratic in decision making. There are also small firms where each "partner" really runs their own franchise like an independent firm, and the firm is really just a collective of shared expenses (i.e. the "law firm" model). So, depending on how this frim fits (and my list there is by no means exclusive), this position and role would probably make more sense. 

Is working for the "top" guy all that great? It's a huge maybe, in a small firm, the "top" guy is really equal to an SVP/MD of a major firm in many instances (same degree of control/span, just with absolute authority as opposed to corporate delegated authority). The bottom line is, this type of role/firm cannot be generalized, so only you can guess what you saw. 

Nov 23, 2021 - 1:37pm

Currently working for principals who've been syndicating value-add deals for over 25 years with 4b+ in transactions between a team of 2-4 (personal funds being 30%+ of the equity stack). That's just to give insight on how seasoned some of these guys can get (unreal learning environment). Getting to play for a team like that gives you priceless insight on managing a private GP operation, and can in a lot of instances give you cradle-to-grave experience very quickly (capital raising, modeling, AM, transactional experience, etc). That being said, for fucks sake have some self respect man. 30k? The lady who gives me coffee every morning at the drive thru (god bless her) would probably turn down that offer, at least she can get overtime. Honestly, if they're starting you that low, there might just not be room in the team for a serious analyst who can grow into the team and provide real long term value. The experience teams like these can give you is real and very valuable, I'd just look for a different one.

  • Analyst 1 in RE - Comm
Nov 23, 2021 - 2:13pm

I get what you're saying so I guess the work hard early and put in the effort to price yourself means nothing?

Idk I have that mindset since I'm new on in my career. Candidly they have prob $1b+ in AUM working on some great projects. Is it worth it to take shit pay ($60k) and prove myself for a year or two? 

It's conflicting because here people easily make $50-100k out of undergrad but also there are stories of x coming in new, some  background in the industry willing to work for nothing and price themselves.

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Nov 23, 2021 - 4:37pm

Dude.... any offer in this industry for $30k is an absolute fucking joke and a massive red flag on these guys. I know assistants that make triple that. I'd run for the hills and not look back the job market is hot right not and if you have a good skillset you'll find something better.


  • 1
  • Analyst 1 in RE - Comm
Nov 23, 2021 - 4:42pm

What assistants lol, I interviewed for an acq analyst role at a top industrial developer and was offered $50k. I honestly don't believe these salaries unless you're working at Blackstone etc. This is in a Tier 1 market.

  • Analyst 1 in RE - Comm
Nov 23, 2021 - 6:28pm

I was offered $103k all in right out of college with one prior RE internship. The firm isn't Blackstone/Starwood, role is not in NY/SF either so the roles with decent comp do exist.

  • Analyst 1 in RE - Comm
Nov 25, 2021 - 11:01pm

Dude I'm getting 90k all in right out of college from CRE lending working 50 hrs a week max. job market is so hot rn you should be able to find a place that pays at least 75k

  • Analyst 2 in RE - Comm
Nov 24, 2021 - 5:44pm

$30K is an absolute fucking joke and a slap in the face to even any new grad. As mentioned above, that is at or even less than minimum wage depending on hours. To me, any knowledge I think I could potentially gain goes out to window because that offer is likely a sign off how you'll be viewed/treated.

  • Associate 3 in IB-M&A
Nov 25, 2021 - 11:33am

I think starting out of college in a larger firm with a real training program would be better for both well-rounded learning and optionality. For every guy who is the mentor of a great principal and becomes the right hand man, there's 10 people out there who work on shit deals, the principal ends up being difficult to work with, or you just generally have a worthless experience.

$30k sounds like a part time admin assistant. Honestly I'd eliminate them at all even if they offered you more down the road, offering someone basically 40% of street is a huge red flag.

Nov 26, 2021 - 8:03am

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