Senior Financial Analyst (Male, Age 26) in Chicago, IL

This is a REAL-LIFE job profile written by a Male aged 26 who works as a Senior Financial Analyst in Chicago, IL. This professional kindly spent a bit of their time to complete our job profile survey so that prospective job seekers like you could read their insights. Please excuse any punctuation or grammatical errors in this profile.

At a Glance

Current Job

Basic data on your current job

Job TitleSenior Financial Analyst
Salary$75,000
Other Compensation None Set
Hours/Week60
Company Size(not answered)
LocationChicago, IL
Years Experience1 year

Career Ratings

Opinions on your CAREER overall (i.e. not just your current job)

Years in Career0
Education(not answered)
Income Rating0 / 10
Interest Rating0 / 10
Work-Life Rating0 / 10
Fulfilment Rating0 / 10

Table of Contents

Current job Q&A

Describe the type of organization you work for.
My company is a real estate investor/developer that specializes in adding value to high-end residential, resort, and commercial developments. The company typically acquire raw land and puts it through the necessary entitlement strategies, ultimately putting in the vertical improvements and selling to third party buyers. The company has a staff of approximately 50 people with offices in Chicago, Hawaii, New York, and the USVI.

Describe your job role and responsibilities.
1) Responsible and accountable for supervising all aspects of development financial analysis for complex mixed-use real estate developments ranging from $5 million – $500 million. 2)Assist in the site selection process, entitlement strategy, and other strategic matters by analyzing specific sites and identifying all primary obstacles to the development process.

Please list an additional benefits (beyond compensation) that you receive.
2 Weeks vacation, personal and sick days, health and dental insurance

Do you feel you are under/over or well/fairly compensated at your current position?
Under compensated

Does your job entail you working with others on a daily basis? Is this something you like/dislike about your job? Please explain.
I would say about 50% of my work consists of working with the other members of the development team, whether it be construction managers, marketing directors, etc. I like the team aspect however it is sometimes frsutrating because I don’t know if we necessarily have the strongest personell. I believe if we did have a strong time working in a team environment would be much more effective and enjoyable.

Do you work collaboratively with supervisors/managers?
Yes

Do you work collaboratively with your co-workers?
Yes

Describe your work location (e.g., office, home, theatre, in the field) and what you like/dislike about working in it.

Please rate each of the following aspects of your current job on a scale of 1-10 (10 being the highest/best):
Income: 2
Benefits: 7
Hours: 5
Co-Workers: 4
Supervisors: 3
Job Title: 8
Level of Responsibility: 6
The Actual Work: 1

A day in the life of…

Please describe a typical workday for you in your current job:

5am to 6am
6am to 7am
7am to 8amArrive in the office after a long wedding weekend in Detroit. Although I am exhausted, I need to get in early to prepare a presentation for our lenders who are meeting with our Hawaii team at our Honolulu development site. In order to do this, I collaborate with my project manager so I can outline all pressing items.
8am to 9amContinue to work with the project manager. Meanwhile, our development proposal for our marina project in Ft. Myers was rejected. I of course have to be the bearer of bad news for our lender. I call the EVP of Commercial Lending and get yelled at because he felt we misrepresented how easy the approval process would be. Back to the drawing board.
9am to 10amFinished with the lender presentation. After going over it with my CFO, I am asked to pdf the document and send it out to Hawaii so it will be in their inbox upon arrival. Meanwhile, the President of our company has decided that he wants to sell our 1200 acre site in the Mid-Hudson River Valley. He asked me to research the big buyers of real estate from Russia. I was able to identify many in addition to several brokers who cater to this market.
10am to 11amMarket plunges. The House of Representatives has just rejected the bailout plan and the market is plunging. The President has asked me and the CFO to do as much research as we can on the implications of this event. In addition to internet research, I called several of our lenders and brokers to get their take on the event.
11am to 12pmConference call with our architects for the marina project. We were very dissapointed but life goes on and we need to come up with a new scheme. New proposals were made and I was asked to run some financial models on these scenarios.
12pm to 1pmFor the first time in 3 weeks I am able to take a lunch break. I meet with one of my former co-workers who was just laid off at my former company. They have taken a huge hit in the residential market downturn. I put him in touch with several of my contacts to help him find new work. You never know when I’ll need his help in the future.
1pm to 2pmI have a meeting with my project manager for the marina project to see how much and how long it will take to build out our revised plan. I need this information in order to run the financial model for the plan. We go back and forth because I am doubting his projections. After a long discussion on the cost of steel, we reach an agreement.
2pm to 3pmI have a long conference call with our marketing and and sales team in Ft. Myers to see the size and appetite of the current market. With this information I am able to figure out what the sales absoprtion and pricing will be for the revised marina project and I can incorporate it into the model. Our broker out there also mentioned of a developer who is about to lose their waterfront site to foreclosure. I jot this down becuase it could be a potential acquisition opportunity for us at a cheap price.
3pm to 4pmFinancial modeling time. With the information I’ve obtained from my project manager and marketing team, I can start putting together a simple model which will ultimately be presented to senior management and our equity partners. Fortunately I’ve been doing this my whole career so its not too difficult. I’ve even been able to upload my pictures from the wedding weekend.
4pm to 5pmI get a phone call from the guys out in HI. Even though its the end of my day their day is just beginning. They’ve decided to phase the development rather than build it all out at once. They’ve asked me to run a model to see how much it would cost to build out just a portion of the site and what our margins would be.
5pm to 6pmI begin running the financial model for the new Hawaii development plan. Of course they need these for their meeting in the next 30 minutes so I have to do a rush job. I get it done faster than expected and send it out to HI right away. Hopefully there weren’t any mistakes.
6pm to 7pmI could stay at the office longer but I am exhausted. I need to unpack, go to the gym, and just have some downtime before any later night calls from HI. I go to the gym and work out all the bad things I ate and drank during the weekend.
7pm to 8pmGet home, unpack, turn on the TV. I go right to CNBC to get a better understanding of what went on in the marketplace today. Wow, much worse than I thought. Hopefully my company is still open tomorrow.
8pm to 9pmI get a phone call from HI. Thinking their going to ask me to run more models, they thank me for turning around everything so quickly. The meeting went well and we got a 24-month extension on our loan facility. Good news for once.
9pm to 10pmI can’t keep my eyes open. Tomorrow is going to be very busy so I call the girlfriend in San Francisco and tell her good night. I apologize for not being able to talk more today.
10pm to 11pmSleep
11pm to 12amSleep

How you got your job

How did you get your current job?
Met the CFO on an airplane

What was the application process?
Submitted resume, brief questionaire, phone interview, in house interview

Did you have to interview for your current job? If yes, what did the interview process entail?
Yes. There was a 1-hour phone interview followed by a 3-hour in-house interview where I met with the CFO, COO, Office Manager, and various employees of the company.

If you can remember, what questions were you asked during the interview?
Several brain teasers. One good question was how would I underwrite a deal if I was just given a photo of the site with a location. Other questions like long term goals, my opinion of the capital markets and how they are affecting real estate, what I want to get out of a job, etc.

Do you feel your employer properly prepared you for your job? Explain.
Yes. He told me it would be brain damage and although it was more than I expected, I knew what to expect.

Was there training for your current position? If yes, what did it entail?
None. Everything was on the job training.

Do you feel your educational background prepared you for your job? Explain.
Yes. I was an economics major and the theory of supply and demand is always applicable in real estate.

If applicable, do you feel your internship experience helped you prepare for your job?
N/A

If someone wanted to go about getting a job similar to yours, what would you recommend for him or her to do?
Given the current market, submitting their resume (whether directly or indirectly through a job search site) will not be effective. They need to network with people they know or don’t know. They need to brainstorm and come up with contacts who i) are in the industry whether directly or indirectly, ii) know people in the industry, and iii) went to the same college as they did, etc. Networking is the key to finding a job in this market.

What skills do you think a person should have if they want to pursue a position like yours?
Social skills is a must. There are too many people who look the same on paper. Also, patience is a must. Getting frustrated will cause them to rush through their cover letters, interviews, etc. Make sure they brush up on their technical skills, specifically with regards to MS Excel, Argus, and other real estate cosftware. These days, employers may have potential canidates run sample models.

Do you feel that you need a certain level of education or training to be successful in your job?
NO

What advice would you give to someone who was about to start work in your position/ line of work?
Get ready for the most frustrating, challenging, and fast paced environent you will ever be a part of. Real Estate Development is sometimes like war: long periods of silence followed by surprise fire drills where you always need to be on your toes. Nonetheless, the intangible reward you get when a job gets done is absolutely pricessless. Its not a question of “will the hard work payoff?” but its a question of “when will the hard work payoff?”

Long-term career plans

Is your current employment part of your overall career plan? Why or why not?
Yes, I want to ultimately run my own real estate fund and I need to get a greater understanding of the business before moving on on my own.

What are your current career goals?
To work on the analytical side of every type of deal structure before moving into a producer role. I want to be a deal guy and once I’ve established as many relationships as possible, I want to run my own fund.

Is there anything else you would like to share about your career?

Prior work history

Please list your most recent jobs prior to this current job:

TitleLengthSalaryDescription
Prior Job 1Commercial Loan Officer12 Months80000
Prior Job 2Credit Analyst24 Months70000Managed a $2.5 billion portfolio of office, apartment, condominium construction, and condominium conversion loans in major metropolitan cities.

Educational background

Please list your educational background:

High School GPA:3.9

GPASchoolDegree
College (Undergraduate)
or Technical/Vocational
3.3Univ. of MichiganB.A in Economics
Graduate or Professional
(Masters or Doctorate)

Ask a Question of this Mentor

This mentor has opted to receive questions from people interested in this career or job position. Please be respectful of their time and willingness to help. Include some basic relevant background so they can intelligently answer your question.