March 18, 2021 at 10:14 pm #24497CharlieParticipant
First of all let me state how upset I am that I’m discovering your website now, and not a month ago. It seems perfect for someone in my situation.
A bit about myself:
I graduated in 2018 from a target uni in London (LSE, UCL, Kings, Imperial) in a degree in Planning and Real Estate. At graduation I wasn’t 100% sure what I wanted to do, so I worked for a year at a certain real estate data company (rhymes with crowbar). During that year, and reflecting on the finance modules I had taken at uni, I changed jobs and started working for a very small development finance firm, specializing in mezzanine finance. COVID hit them hard and I was furloughed for a long period of time which lead to me to taking a job at a commercial bank in real estate finance as an analyst, which is where I am currently working.
I recently applied for an analyst program at a REPE firm here in London, mid-size, fairly reputable with £10bn AUM. To my surprise, I have been selected for a phone interview, which is tomorrow. I have spent the last weeks preparing for this and feel that I am in a good place to at least get past this stage. My main concern is the technical side of the process. The program is advertised as entry level and from what I can gather (looking people up on Linkedin) the current analyst pool do not appear to have the 2 years IB or even brokerage experience. They have asked that people have basic modelling skills (as oppose to the usual “excellent”) and there will be a modelling test after the phone interview stage. The program takes 6 analysts a year and is sold as a “3 year structured program where analysts get to work across all disciplines in REPE”.
I was wondering if you could offer me some advice on the following:
1. I have signed up to WSP Real Estate Modelling course, but I am concerned that this is maybe too much info to take in given the time I have. I’m concerned that I wont be able to grasp the basics as I’ll be bogged down in the details.
2. I have a certain level of imposter syndrome, and I recognize that my career background isn’t the standard. I don’t think there is any dispute about my interest in real estate as it is all I have studied and worked in since 2015.
3. If I am unsuccessful in the position mentioned above, what is the best way in your opinion to position myself for a career in REPE, given that a majority of REPE analyst jobs tend to go to ex IB/Brokerage people.
4. Similar to Q1, but if I pass the phone interview, I imagine it will be a few weeks until stage 2 (F2F with recruitment company and modelling test). What advice would you give in terms of what I should be studying and where to look for that (feel free to plug your own courses, I will likely be subscribing anyway.
Thanks in advance for your help,
All the best,
CMarch 22, 2021 at 1:53 am #24502LevKeymaster
Before I respond to your questions in order, I wanted to list off some strengths you seem to have right off the bat. All-in, you strike me as a solid candidate
- Prestige: Went to a name-brand school, which gives you a leg up. This speaks for itself on your resume, not much to actively do but great that you have it. I assume you got what would be considered a good GPA.
- Analytics: Your data analytics background strong, strong analytical background will support you as industry shifts to embrace modern methods of analysis. I would emphasize a “moneyball” approach to real estate investing, could be a nice edge on your competition.
- Hands-On Downturn: Spin your first job as witnessing firsthand the effects of a downturn. Could make you a more prudent investor.
I’d also like to apologize for my delay in response. I realize your phone interview came and went. Yet looking at the above and reading your questions, I’d hope your qualities shone through and you’ve proceeded into the next rounds. With optimism, I hope you still might find the below helpful.
Worried You’re Lost in Details
I cannot speak to the quality or content of the WSP Real Estate Modeling course. However, I understand your concern. You want to speak “big picture.” The REPE Starter Kit is an REPE career development course designed with the candidate in mind who has less than a day to figure out the core information required for LBO modeling. That said, modeling rounds usually come after verbal technicals, which you can better prepare via the technical interview guide.
Imposter syndrome is largely an internal battle against negative self-talk. It also helps to realize that many other people, even in high places with status on their resume, feel the same. It can be hard to shake, but hopefully you find some solidarity in the fact that you’re not alone.
Looking at the issue differently, a lot of REPE is flying by the seat of your pants. That’s to say, you’ll hardly ever know what to do. Investing is quite literally facing uncertainty and putting money on the table. Plenty of REPE case studies attempt to simulate this uncertainty, and test if you’re able to make a quick decision and explain how you managed limited information.
The most effective professionals combine intuition with proven methods of decision-making. It takes guts, and you’ll never have all the answers. So your imposter syndrome, to a degree, reflects a level of skepticism (albeit in yourself) that would serve you well when drilling through due diligence on a live transaction.
Best way to Land REPE Job
If you don’t land a position at a reputable firm, there is no shame seeking employment at scrappier startups. I believe the best REPE gig is one that exposes you to various teams. So if you can’t work at a big fund, you could seek a smaller shop that will allow you to wear many different hats. Importantly, you could always lateral from a smaller shop into a more reputable outfit in a couple years. I’ve found that REPE teams care less about prestige, focusing more on finding the best athletes for the job.
Prepping for Advanced Rounds
I pour a lot of effort and soul into my courses. Years ago, I was a hungry yet clueless outsider eager to break into a dynamic and growing industry. Lacking insider guidance, I got in by the skin of my teeth. I’ve since dedicated this site, and the products I launch, with the hungry outsider in mind.
I always recommend the complete bundle. The best way to attack it would be:
- Knock out the REPE Starter Kit in a day or two. Then repeat it, but don’t watch the video and try to finish the REPE case study from scratch just from the prompts. Repeat until you can build this model quickly and understand each component and how each concept could be expanded to drive finer-grained detail.
- Once you grasp the REPE Starter Kit, move onto Breaking Down REPE. This course goes through a full underwriting as you’d experience it live on the job. But it’d be best to grasp the starter kit fundamentals for embarking.
- While working through the two above, practice the Technical Interview Guide three nights per week for at least ten minutes a session. When you practice the questions, speak out loud to a wall as if you’re responding to a person. Do not look at any cheat sheets, and actually use your voice to speak. You will improve most quickly in this fashion.
I do not yet have an REPE career development course related to behavioral interview questions. You can expect that to launch in a few months. That said, check out the more recent posts on the blog. I’m doing a bit of ideation on the subject and I think I’ve hit some helpful points.March 25, 2021 at 4:59 pm #24519CharlieParticipant
Thanks for all of the advice above. I have purchased the complete bundle and I’m working through it. The phone interview went well, and I should hear back in a week or so. I was told the next steps are an hour-long interview (Zoom) with the recruitment company running the process followed directly after with an hour-long modeling test. Seems quite short, so I’m still trying to figure out what they’re after.
I’ll be sure to let you know how it goes!
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