Former BSc Real Estate student, Tsvetomira Vincent, graduated from BCU in 2019. Tsvetomira has since secured a role as a Graduate General Practice Surveyor with Place Partnership Ltd, where she uses the skills she acquired in her degree on a daily basis. We asked Tsvetomira to tell us more about how her studies have shaped her career so far.
Why did you choose to study your course?
I was working for a cleaning company as a sales representative and dealt with most big London estate agents. I liked learning more about the properties we were servicing. I was very keen on the residential sector at the time, as no two properties are the same. This area of work is always challenging due to a number of factors such as political; economic; social; sustainability; taxes; construction, and how they mix in the context of a property. My family also has a small portfolio of residential assets.
Why did you choose BCU?
When I was applying for university here in the UK, this was the only university offering an RICS-accredited degree in Real Estate. I did research carefully the course, tutors and the success rate but I knew this was my only option. I went in confident on my first day.
When you started university, did you know what you wanted to do as a career?
I thought I would go down the standard residential estate agents route. However, after starting the course, I quickly realised that the commercial sector is my spot, specifically the industrial segment.
Was there a particular module that sparked an interest in a topic you had never considered before?
Not really, as I found all of it exciting. I quickly realised where the things we were taught “fit” in a property transaction/project/due diligence research. I know it seems strange, but you will use everything you are taught.
What is your current job role?
I am a Graduate General Practice Surveyor at Place Partnership Ltd. I joined the company 2 weeks after graduation, and I am about 10 months into the job. This is a company owned by 4 public bodies (Worcestershire County Council, West Mercia Police, Warwickshire Police and Hereford and Worcester Fire and Rescue Service). It is a mixture of private sector values and public sector properties which is the reason why I chose to work there. It is always good to know how the public sector works as even in private practice, you may end up having to work with a public body on a project.
I currently manage a property of 80 assets on behalf of Worcestershire County Council and West Mercia Police which range from parks and community centres to libraries and police stations. I also assist colleagues with major projects for Worcestershire County Council. The most exciting one (for now) is a project connected to railway stations!
How has your degree helped you to secure and undertake this role?
The reason why I was hired was my industry relevant knowledge. I had to answer basic questions at the interview (general property and valuation specific) and I fired off the correct answers and explanation as soon as they were asked. I work on a daily basis with the people who interviewed me and we joke about that part!
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What do you enjoy about this role?
The colleagues. They are always supportive (in a professional aspect and in a personal one), outgoing and patient. I feel appreciated and valued as a team member and I am treated the same way as everyone else. Even though I am quite inexperienced and not chartered, they trust my judgement and allow me to manage projects on my own. I learn by being “thrown” in the deep, learning how to swim on my own and figuring out everything by myself. They respect that and I am very grateful for it.
What main skill from your university days will you take with you through your life?
Work smart not hard. Not in the sense to cheat your way out but to be intelligent about how you do a piece of work.
How has your life changed since you have graduated?
I feel substantially more confident in my knowledge of commercial property. While you are studying things do not always make sense and you may end up feeling like you do not know enough or, even, anything. But if you have learned and understand the things taught on the course, you will be able to get in the groove very quickly.
What advice would you give to students who are heading into their first roles?
Save all of your notes from university and the modules at least for the first year of the graduate role until you get in the swing of things. If you are going down the valuation route, buy Parry’s tables because you will need it. Be confident but listen to any and all feedback. Do not break any promises you have made – big or small. Pay attention to the details because property is about the big picture but also the tiny details. Accept responsibility for every action, statement and decision made – the fact that you are a graduate does not excuse you.