Best advice from a 37 year old Private Real Estate Managing Director
Today I had a chance to speak with a Managing Director from my firm’s Private Real Estate team. It is not every day that I get to speak with someone of that level on a 1:1 basis, so I thought I’d share some of the highlights from the conversation.
He has been with the firm for over ten years and at 37 years old, he has attained what most people strive for: the role of a Managing Director (MD). At 37 years old, he is considered one of the youngest MDs out there.
He is an Investment Professional on the Private Real Estate team, primarily in-charged of sourcing deals and underwriting them. I had worked with him on two separate occasions where he helped us with fundraising activities. (FYI, at my firm, Investment Professionals are required to help Sales Professionals to fund raise as well as they are the subject matter experts in that field.)
Source: Finance and Toast
He started the conversation by asking me how were things lately. We were supposed to meet in the United States for our firm’s Annual General Meeting, but unfortunately with COVID-19, all our travel plans were cancelled.
I then asked him what are some advice he would give to me / the junior guys on the firm and here are five of the best advice he gave.
A. Do not quit your job hastily. If you have a bad year whereby you did not get remunerated well or if you were not put up for promotion, don’t just quit! Look in the long-term, stick around long enough, and see if you achieve what you set out for in the next 3-5 years. If the firm does not meet your expectations or career progression in the next 3-5 years, leave and find a better place.
B. No bosses will know what is on your mind if you do not speak up. You may be the hardest working person on the floor and you may have bring in the best results. But when it comes to year end reviews, your promotion may not be on the top of your bosses’ mind because he is JUST. TOO. BUSY. Bring up this conversation early, show that you want to achieve great things in your firm and ask him what are the checklist you need to fulfil so that you can progress to the next level.
C. It is important to learn how to manage your boss (upwards) and also people under you (downwards). Learn to say no if you are overworked to prevent burnt out. Few people say no to request for fear they may offend their boss or colleagues. The last thing you want is to get burnt out from a job you love. This will make you resent even the slightest of things. I think it is only fair for you to voice out that you need more time to complete a particular piece of work if you have been consistently performing well. Read this article which says that rates of employee burnout in Singapore is amongst the highest in the world.
D. Show results and build up your credibility. This definitely will come with time too. Show your boss, your team, and your colleagues that you can bring in results. Once you plant your foot firmly in your company, people will start to respect you and help you along the way. Your quality of work speaks for itself and word will spread for you.
E. Speak up in meetings and let your voice be heard. Many a times in an Asian culture, we are told to be cautious in expressing our views and avoid confrontation. This has negative repercussions when it comes to the working world. People may think that you do not have an opinion (or worse still merely a follower) and step over you. One thing that I learned from my European and American counterparts is to speak their mind no matter how insignificant the impact may be. (Disclaimer: please also exercise some discretion of course! You don’t want to come across as foolish or ignorant!)
Source: Psychology Today
Once he shared with me the important pieces of advice, I then asked him what has been some of the memories he had with the firm so far.
He told me being in the Real Estate team, he had the opportunity to travel around the world to see assets and meet with fund managers. One distinct memory he has was back in 2011, when he was on a business trip to Russia. He took a plane from one of the European country and landed in Moscow’s Domodedovo airport. His plane was delayed and when he landed, he immediately received texts from family, friends and colleagues asking him if he was okay. To his horror, a terrorist attack happened in the airport just 40 minutes before he landed. It was a crazy time of his life because the bomb attack had killed at least 35 people and injured more than 100. He was taken into a bus from the airport to his hotel and had passed through debris with fires all a round.
It was such a once-in-a-lifetime encounter which he wished it would never repeat again.
Last but not least, he also told me that he liked real estate as an asset class because it is interesting and part of our every day lives. It is an institutional asset class and over the longer term, US core real estate has generated better returns than fixed income and much lower volatility than equities, while consistently providing diversification benefits to both asset classes. This is why it is a core component for most institutional investors within their portfolio.
Share with us what are some of the best advice that your mentors or bosses have given you!
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