In this ‘Day in the Life of a Commercial Real Estate Professional’ post, we hear from a Summer Acquisitions Associate working at a Real Estate Private Equity Firm in Atlanta, GA. This professional has been kind enough to share what he/she does on a daily basis as well as discuss what it takes to land a similar position in CRE.
Day in the Life of a Summer Acquisitions Associate
7:00am – Given that this was an MBA summer internship, it was an unwritten rule that we (the interns) needed to be in the office before the senior folks. I’d typically arrive around 7:00am, taking the first couple of hours in the morning to read the news, catch up on emails, or finish up leftover work from the previous day.
9:00am – Our workload – consisting largely of analyzing potential new acquisitions or helping with due diligence on existing acquisitions – came from the various senior acquisitions guys in the office. They’d generally arrive between 8am and 9am, at which time I’d check in with them to see if there were any new deals to underwrite.
9:30am – When assigned a new acquisition to underwrite, I’d be provided the offering memorandum (OM), a broker ARGUS run, and other supplementary materials contained in the “package”. As an MBA Acquisitions intern, my job was to do the first run analysis to determine if it was worth spending any more time on. This involved duplicating the broker’s ARGUS, and adjusting the assumptions based on our company’s underwriting guidelines, CoStar, REIS, CBRE Econometrics data, individual market experience, and my views of the property based on what I read in the OM. I’d model to Cash Flow before Financing in ARGUS, and then export 10 years of NOI plus CapEx to our company’s proprietary Excel model where I’d calculate property-level and portfolio-level returns.
12:00pm – Lunch would either be out with a broker, partner, service provider, or with co-workers; or if I was really busy, at my desk.
1:00pm – I preferred to do most of my heavy modeling in the morning and leave the afternoon to helping with the pipeline. On Monday at 1pm every week, the home office acquisitions team would hop on a call with the various acquisitions folks across the world for a pipeline meeting. This involved meeting in the conference room with the head of acquisitions. Each acquisitions director would tick through their live deals, and the head of acquisitions would ask questions about the specifics of each deal. Google Earth was open on a large screen in the conference room and shared virtually to folks in the field, and each time a new deal would be brought up the acquisitions analyst would find its location on Google Earth.
2:00pm – Other work I performed related to the pipeline included due diligence – reviewing property condition and environmental reports, researching property tax assessments, reviewing leases, etc. The interns traveled about once a month to preview prospective investments, while the full-time guys traveled several times a month.
4:00pm – Besides pipeline meetings, I’d attend investment committee meetings for the investments I was assigned to as well as asset management meetings where we’d bring the asset management team up to speed on deals in the pipeline. Most meetings seemed to be held in the afternoon, while (again) the more heads down work was done in the mornings.
6:00pm – I’d generally head out of the office at around 6:00pm, except on Fridays where things would really slow down by early afternoon. As an intern, I rarely brought work home with me so I’d spend most evenings with other interns.
About the Professional
Name: Prefer not to say
Location: Atlanta, GA
Years in Real Estate: 6
Years in Current Position: N/A
Undergraduate Education: BA in Economics
Graduate Education: MBA
Approx. Annual Income: Prefer not to say
How they found this job: Job Source: Alumni Network
About the Position
Job Title: Summer Acquisitions Associate
Job Type: Acquisitions
Company Name: Prefer not to say
Company Type: REPE Firm
Property Type: Healthcare,Hotel,Industrial,Land,Multifamily,Office,Retail,Self Storage,Seniors Housing,Student Housing
Min. Education Recommended: Masters Degree
Min. Education Required: Masters Degree
Min. Experience Recommended: 3 – 5
Min. Experience Required: 1 – 3
Advanced Technical Skills Required: MS Excel,Argus,MS PowerPoint,Other
Advice for those interested in this position
Landing an MBA summer internship in real estate private equity is a lot about your network. The stronger your school’s real estate network, the easier it is to find that ideal job. I highly recommend connecting with as many real estate alumni as you can as soon as you arrive on campus in that first year. Shoot to do at least one or two informational interviews with alumni each week, always ending the call by asking – “if you were in my shoes, what would you do next to find a summer internship in X.”
In terms of skill set, previous experience in investment banking or some other heavy-Excel analysis role certainly gives you a leg up. Also, having previous experience in real estate is a big plus. However, this is an internship – both you and the employer are temporarily trying each other on for size – so employers are more willing to take a chance on someone who doesn’t perfectly fit the mold if they come well recommended.