Day in the life: Serena, Real Estate Management Associate at Blackstone, London
Serena graduated from Cambridge University with a degree in Land Economy. Having completed an internship in the investment banking division of UBS in her penultimate year, she joined Blackstone’s London office as an off-cycle intern in 2018. She became a full-time analyst in 2019 and was promoted to associate in 2021.
7:30AM: My alarm goes off and I start my morning routine. I’ll check what emails have come in overnight and whether there’s anything I need to respond to urgently. I usually run to work with a rucksack of my clothes and shower in the office.
9:15AM: I’m at my desk, checking email and seeing what’s planned for the day ahead. I’ll respond to overnight inbounds and check any relevant real estate news. Generally, that means reading the FT and React News. We often get requests from the acquisitions team to help provide property data for their Investment Committee materials so I’ll be speaking with the analyst on the acquisitions team. I’m in the asset management team which looks after properties once they have been acquired by the acquisitions team and is also responsible for the disposal (sale) of any assets.
10:00AM: I have a weekly call with our operating company on the ground in the Netherlands. We cover several different topics but start with the development of an office building. We’re in the “permitting” phase for an asset, in this case waiting for local government approval having received internal approval on the model and development plan several weeks ago. We also discuss the leasing plan for a unit that will soon become vacant. We cover what brokers we should use to market the asset and what the appropriate rental rates and incentives might be, especially in the current macro environment. We also discuss how this might impact the returns we are forecasting on our investment. We’re visiting Amsterdam next week to see how the developments are progressing and have a meeting with the local lawyers and banks so we also discuss the itinerary. Other than offices in the Netherlands, I cover logistics assets in the U.K.
11:00AM: My other deal team has an internal meeting where we’re discussing our output for the week ahead. This includes working with the company on materials for an upcoming board meeting that they will present to senior employees in the London offices (the New York team often join via zoom and the meeting is sometimes done remotely if the company is based further afield).
12:00PM: I’ll take 30 minutes to reply to any emails that have come in, sending out some quick responses and flagging anything that needs a more thorough response for later.
12:30PM: Usually, I’ll go out and grab something to eat from a nearby café. Depending on the weather, I’ll eat outside in Berkeley Square or in the office kitchen. If it’s a busy day, I’ll eat at my desk.
1:00PM: Twice a quarter we have a division-wide valuations meeting. We present our deals to senior team members in New York and have a Q&A based discussion on the proposed valuations of the assets we manage, this often touches on the macro and market environment.
3:30PM: I’ll have a coffee break and maybe catch up with my mentor to discuss how my work is going and longer-term career plans or questions I might have.
4:00PM: I have an “all parties” call with the external lawyers and banks on a live deal. My job involves a lot of interaction with other companies and I’m often on the phone or in communications with high-level players in the industry.
5:00PM: The meetings taper off and I’ll get back to my main analysis work. I would say it’s 80% in Excel and 20% in PowerPoint. During this time, I’ll be working on models but I might also be catching up on emails or sometimes calling the teams responsible for managing the properties to check certain pieces of information.
6:00PM: The office orders food in from a range of restaurants in London. Most juniors eat in the office with colleagues and chat, it’s a pretty sociable event.
9.00PM: Usually I’ll finish up my work and get a taxi home paid for by the company. How busy I am is driven by deal flow and when work picks up around periods of reporting.
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