Kate Moran

Quantity Surveying MSc

While initially studying at BCU in Business and Finance, Kate’s career has led her in a different direction, and when the time came to study her MSc in Quantity Surveying, the answer was simple: she returned to BCU. She is now a Quantity Surveyor working at sites across our city.  

“For me, university felt like the natural thing to do, as all my peers from school and college were doing the same thing. But when I attended BCU, I was surrounded by supportive lecturers and like-minded peers, and everything changed for me. I finally understood what I needed to do, to be able to prepare for exams and coursework, and I thrived.

I originally enrolled onto the BA (Hons) Business and Management course, as I felt this could support me through various career routes, as I was still unsure what I wanted to do after graduation. But during my first year, I loved the finance module, and BCU staff supported and encouraged me to change my course to the Business and Finance degree course, which was the best move for me. I absolutely loved the course, and this led me into my financial role within a construction company post-graduation.

During my undergraduate degree, I did a one-year placement before my final year. I was certain I wanted to do a placement year to get industry experience. I was supported by the Careers+ team at BCU to help me prepare for interviews and to ensure my CV was ready to be sent out to employers. My placement year was at Enterprise Rent-A-Car, and it was a good opportunity to get a feel for working life and prepared me well for the graduate role I started after I completed the course.

I did not hesitate to come back to BCU when I enrolled on the MSc Quantity Surveying course. It was a whole different feeling studying for something that was in a field that I was already working in and felt so passionate about. I studied part-time over two years, and I was honestly gutted when I reached the end of the course, it will forever be a highlight of my career and I loved every minute of it.

I am now a Quantity Surveyor at Equans Regeneration Ltd, a Main Contractor, owned by the international construction company Bouygues. I love my job so much; I have been working here for five and a half years and had two promotions. I am the lead commercial role on a £16 million-pound project for Birmingham City Council, the largest council housing stock in Europe. I work on projects that transform communities and make people's homes safer, warmer and nicer places to live. I can see myself having a long and successful career within the construction industry. I work for an employer that supports me and encourages me; I know what future progression is available to me, and what I need to do to achieve that.

Since graduating, I have pushed myself in my career, being promoted from Business Management Trainee to Assistant Quantity Surveyor and now, Quantity Surveyor. I can see a path for me to progress further into Senior Quantity Surveyor and Commercial Manager. I have been fortunate to work in a great workplace, with great people where I am encouraged to be myself, be creative and to progress.

I utilise many skills that I learnt whilst at BCU in my day-to-day work now, including quantifying and costing construction works, and awareness of contract law and health and safety legislation. The course has opened a new avenue for me as a Chartered Surveyor and I am now also halfway through my Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors APC.

A typical day at work for me includes dealing with changes on site that have commercial implications, communicating with the client and our subcontractors via email and phone, reviewing subcontractor applications for payment in line with the works completed on site and issuing payment or pay less notices accordingly. In addition, I prepare and submit monthly valuations to the client based on works we have completed on site. I also complete financial reports including cash flow forecasts and cost vs value reconciliation.

The biggest challenge I have faced is not coming from a construction background, as it has taken a while to become aware of various construction techniques and terminology. Every day is a learning day and there are still things I do not know, but my knowledge now, nearly six years on, has grown immensely. I have faced the challenge by taking time during my day to spend time on site, shadowing managers or different trades, which has allowed me to understand more about works on site.

My experience at BCU was amazing. I loved all five years of studying there. I loved the diversity and the welcoming environment. The campus is modern, spacious and comfortable. The lecturers are personable and caring. I felt supported and encouraged throughout my BCU journey. I would happily go back tomorrow. BCU changed education for me, the environment at BCU is perfectly balanced and I would recommend the university to all.

My proudest achievement since graduating was being promoted to Quantity Surveyor, I am so proud of the career path I have taken, and I am proud of my role. Six years ago, I would have never thought I would be working in the construction industry, and now to have a professional title that I have worked hard to achieve.

I am aiming to become a chartered surveyor by the end of this year, and work towards becoming a Senior Quantity Surveyor next year. In the next five to ten years, I would like to become a Commercial Manager and support new entrants to the industry and help them on their journey.

I would highly recommend studying at BCU, it is a fantastic campus in a great city. I would advise upcoming students to throw themselves into their studies, remember the importance their decisions today will have on them in five years' time. Enjoy student life before entering the working world and don't wish it away!

I AM BCU means that I am proud to be BCU Alumni, I am proud to have studied in my hometown. I am proud to be part of a university that has supported me in the start of a career that I am so happy in.”