A career in real estate from the perspective of a graduate

16 Aug 2018

Our summer intern Oliver Sexton blogs about his first steps towards a career in the real estate industry, providing us with insight into the industry’s appeal to graduates.

I have just recently graduated with a degree in Business Economics from the University of Exeter, and in September I will be moving to the South East of England to begin the MSc Real Estate course at the University of Reading, an exciting opportunity to cultivate my passion for commercial property as well as to discover more about which specific areas of property I enjoy most and am best suited to. Economics, real estate finance, fund management, and law are the core areas covered in the course, promising a better understanding of the inner workings of real estate markets.

Why I’m choosing a career in real estate

My personal desire to pursue a career in real estate has been born from my work experience in the property industry as well as insight gained from my degree.

I’m fascinated by the role real estate plays in the wider economy; creating jobs, providing people with homes and acting as a guarantee for financing from banks, and the sum of these micro events adding up to have effects of great significance on a macroeconomic level.  

For me, there are three main features of a graduate property career that make it incredibly appealing. The first of these is the wealth of possibilities that working for a multi-national firm brings, with graduates often being involved in international business, sometimes including the opportunity to travel to different markets, within the first two years. Secondly, as someone who has always enjoyed working under pressure, the fast-paced working environment with strict deadlines that are common in the top firms is an attractive feature, and hopefully one which will enable me to produce my best work. Thirdly, it is reassuring to know that if my personal situation or motivations were to change in the future, that this career path offers the flexibility to accommodate, as self-employment is a possibility once a chartered status has been achieved and considerable industry experience gained.

My industry experience

In terms of my progression towards a career in the industry, I have a few major learning experiences thus far.

My degree allowed me to learn how individuals, firms, markets, governments and other institutions combine to produce and distribute goods and services in order to achieve desired outcomes for society, and how effective they are in doing so. Economics, finance, and management strategy were some of the disciplines covered, giving a well-rounded knowledge of economics and the environment in which different businesses operate.

It also looked at the application of this economic theory and how it has evolved to explore contemporary issues such as the causes and impact of the financial crisis, which the sub-prime mortgage market played a large role, and the proposed solutions, as well as the effects of trade, globalisation, corruption and climate change on economic development.

My 2017 summer internship working at the pre-eminent build-to-rent company in the UK, Get Living, allowed me to develop skills which are transferable across the property industry; including data analysis and communication skills. My time at Get Living involved a wide range of duties from collecting and analysing data, for example forecasting future occupancy rates, and creating a presentation to be pitched to partner firms. My time there was of particular interest due to the vital role that build-to-rent schemes are currently playing in helping to fix the UK’s housing crisis, with their rise becoming evermore important to society and investors alike. 

I’m now in my fourth and final week at the BPF, and although starting during government recess, I have undertaken extensive research on topics including CVA store closures of high street retailers, House of Lords debates on social housing and business rates and the interaction between different government and industry stakeholders, providing me with extra insight into the sector before setting off to achieve my Master’s in real estate.