Jill Arriordaz

Real Estate Management MSc

After recovering from an accident, and having a young family, Jill was keen to do something for herself again. With a passion for property, Jill decided to return to BCU to further her career in real estate. After excelling on the course, and gaining useful contacts, Jill had the confidence to become a self-employed property specialist, alongside her ongoing research into empty homes across the UK.

“I guess I’m not a typical graduate. I graduated with a BA (Hons) in Government years ago from the University of Central England, before it became BCU, so I’ve been fortunate enough to study at the university’s old and new campus.

After working in the public sector and training abroad, I had my children and then cared and supported unwell family members. In 2015, I had an accident. I suffered post-Concussion syndrome, and it took me a long time to recover.

After a few years, I decided that I wanted to do something for me. I started working in real estate, in both property development and as a landlord, and was keen to further my career in property.

I was keen to build my career through studying once again, so I applied to study for an MSc in Real Estate Management in 2019, and I loved it. I found that the course really helped me to develop my knowledge further of property and real estate, and gain many useful contacts. After my accident, I couldn’t even form letters properly, so to complete a master’s degree was a huge achievement for me.

BCU offers so much support, so there is no need to struggle. I took advantage of workshops and one-to-one sessions with Academic Success, Careers+ and the library. The lecturers were also very supportive, and my supervisor went the extra mile with my research too.

Studying and assignments had changed such a lot since I did my first degree. Back then, it was mainly essay writing, so it was all totally new to me. But if there was something I wasn’t sure about, I would just book a tutorial. The staff really helped me to understand what I needed to do and how I could do it better.

Alongside my degree, I managed several property development projects, including a huge amount of work around empty homes. Since graduating, I now work for myself as a property specialist. The course at BCU allowed me to carry on with work I already had, whilst giving me a much clearer understanding of the field.

When I found out that I had achieved a high grade for my dissertation, I was over moon. I had tried so hard to make the research meaningful and interviewed a good number of professionals in the field of empty homes, the wider built environment and local government. I really wanted to bring something to the table and not have something that would just gather dust.

Over the last year, I have continued with my previous property and rental work, but I have also been privileged to follow on from my research around empty homes. This has included working on research papers and presenting my work with Finders International around Probate Genealogists, also known as Heir Hunters.

Working in real estate, no one day is the same. I can either be sorting issues with a rental property, visiting a potential property to develop, or writing more about issues around empty homes. I have found that as a female in property, it can be hard work. But thanks to the many skills I have gained from all aspects of my life, I’ve realised that my biggest challenge is being able to sell my skills and experience.

Thanks to my time at BCU, I have gained a lot of confidence. The course really helped to change my perception of myself. Learning about different topics has helped me to understand and speak more confidently, especially when talking to construction workers or a tradesperson. I also feel like if there was something I didn’t know the answer to, I have the skills now to be able to find that information.

In the future, I would love to help shape future housing and built environment policies, as well as deliver more good quality and sustainable housing. I’d also like to help the next generation of real estate workers through teaching and training.

It can be hard work starting out in a sector, returning to a previous industry, or even changing direction. But my advice is to look at all the experience you have, whether it be voluntary work or a part-time job, and make the most out of university. BCU offer business start-up support and advice, and Careers+ are there to help you before and after you graduate. The university is there for you.

My story really does show that you can go back to studying, whatever age you may be. Mature students, and parents, can go on to achieve great things too. I AM BCU means being the very best version of yourself, and the university can help you get to where you want to be.”