How To Find The Best Companies To Work For in Commercial Real Estate

Commercial real estate has become one of the most popular alternative asset classes for investors across the world, resulting in a huge inflow of capital into the space and a tremendous amount of opportunity for people who want to work in the commercial real estate industry.

But with all this growth, we’ve also seen a significant uptick in the amount of private equity firms and institutions that have entered this sector, making it difficult for someone who’s relatively new to the industry to navigate the different career options out there.

So if you’re watching this and currently in the process of trying to figure out the best commercial reale estate companies to work for, this article walks through how to find the biggest, most active, and most prestigious firms in the commercial real estate industry.

If video is more your thing, you can watch the video version of this article here:

Industry Rankings

One of the most well-known CRE industry rankings is the annual PERE 100 report from PERE News, which tracks the total amount of institutional capital raised by private equity real estate firms over the past five years.

If you’re looking to work for a company at the top of the commercial real estate business, this list showcases some of the most prestigious, well-respected firms in the industry that pension funds, ultra-high-net-worth individuals, and family offices trust to deploy their investment capital.

And with these companies raising billions to purchase commercial real estate assets on behalf of their investor base, this also means that these companies need talent to deploy that capital effectively, which often results in job opportunities in disciplines like acquisitions, asset management, and portfolio management within these firms.

This report also shows the headquarters of each company on the list, which can be very helpful if location is a factor within your job search, and can allow you to quickly narrow down your options within the report depending on where you’re currently based or where you’re willing to move.

The National Association of Real Estate Investment Trusts (NAREIT) is also a great resource to find large, institutional, publicly-traded commercial real estate firms, and they break down public REITs by asset class, showcase notable properties within each company’s portfolio, and also show the location of each company’s headquarters.

If you’re not interested in private equity or the REIT space, the CoStar Power Broker Awards website can also be a great resource to identify the top commercial real estate brokerage firms in your city. This site breaks down the top-producing individuals and firms in various markets across the country, and even breaks their rankings down by product type.

All of these resources are great ways to get a sense for the firms that own the most real estate, manage the most capital, and do the most deals in a given market, which you can then use to compile a list of potential companies to work for.

University Employment Reports

To find the firms that have strong reputations but may fall outside of the resources I just mentioned for any number of reasons, another great strategy to find some of the top commercial real estate companies in the industry is to leverage employment reports of top universities.

This will allow you to identify companies that are actively recruiting and hiring from the most selective real estate master’s degree and MBA programs across the country, and may be looking for additional young talent to add to their teams.

Graduate business degree programs will often put together a comprehensive annual employment report to attract prospective students, showcasing things like salary and bonus statistics, where their graduates landed jobs, and the companies that recruited and hired graduates of the school.

And since the best companies tend to recruit from the best universities, the firms listed on these reports tend to be some of the most desirable and prestigious firms to work for throughout the commercial real estate industry.

Top schools with a dedicated Master’s in Real Estate program will often have a full or partial list of employers that have hired university graduates in their reports, and in many cases, you can even look through employment reports from multiple different years at each school.

The employment reports of top general MBA programs that have strong real estate programs can also be helpful resources to reference, and even though their reports won’t be exclusive to the real estate industry, these reports often include general private equity firms with a significant real estate presence.

Related Company Pages on LinkedIn

Blackstone is a dream company for many entrants into the commercial real estate industry, but unfortunately, hiring at Blackstone is incredibly competitive. With 29,000 applications for just over 100 first-year analyst roles that opened up in 2021, your chances of landing a position at Blackstone would have come in at less than 1%, so to broaden your search to companies like Blackstone (but not only Blackstone), LinkedIn can be a great place to turn.

When you visit a company’s LinkedIn page, on the right-hand side of the screen, you’ll see a box that says “Pages People Also Viewed.” At the bottom of this box, if you click “Show All,” this will bring up a list of similar companies related to the firm you searched for.

This tool is useful on its own, but when you combine browsing similar pages on LinkedIn with a resource like the PERE 100 list, the functionality of this feature really starts to get powerful.

From there, LinkedIn allows you to dig into the details of each company you view, including the number of employees, the location of each company’s headquarters, and any recent news about the organization that could indicate where the firm is headed in the future.

This process allows you to exponentially grow your search by viewing similar companies of similar companies of similar companies, which often leads to uncovering different firms and job opportunities that you may not have even been aware of when referencing employment reports or major industry lists.

How To Land a Job in Commercial Real Estate

If you’re trying to break into a top commercial real estate investment, development, or brokerage firm and want to make sure you have the technical skill sets you’ll need to successfully make it through the interview process, make sure to check out our all-in-one membership training platform, Break Into CRE Academy.

A membership to the Academy will give you instant access to over 120 hours of video training on real estate financial modeling and analysis, you’ll get access to hundreds of practice Excel interview exam questions, sample acquisition case studies, and you’ll also get access to the Break Into CRE Analyst Certification Exam. This exam covers topics like real estate pro forma and development modeling, commercial real estate lease modeling, equity waterfall modeling, and many other real estate financial analysis concepts that will help you prove to employers that you have what it takes to tackle the responsibilities of an analyst or associate at a top real estate firm.

As always, thanks so much for reading, and make sure to check out the Break Into CRE YouTube channel for more content that can help you take the next step in your real estate career.

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