Read our latest Budding Brunels interview - Surveyor

James is a Graduate Surveyor - Read his story:

In this month’s Budding Brunels newsletter, we’re talking to James Parr, a Graduate Surveyor at DTZ. James shares the path he took to reach his current position, what his role involves and his thoughts for the future.

Tell us about yourself:

Who are you, what’s your job, and what company do you work for?

I joined DTZ in September 2013 as a Graduate Surveyor. Through the Graduate Scheme at DTZ I have had a chance to experience many different aspects of the property industry. I have spent a year in Office Agency, I completed a 6 month secondment with Land Securities and I am now back at DTZ working within the Valuation team.

Tell us about your position:

How does the graduate scheme at DTZ work?

The typical graduate scheme at DTZ involves 2 or 3 rotations to give you experience of different sectors and roles before completing the APC (The industry’s professional qualification which once passed makes you a Chartered Surveyor). 

What do you do on a day-to-day basis?

Throughout the graduate programme my day-to-day role has changed considerably, but the job has always involves advising occupiers, landlords or investors on property occupation or investment performance, collaborating with colleagues, analysing the latest market transactions/ industry news and networking.

What do you enjoy most about your job?

The mix of challenging, technical work alongside the social, people side of the industry.

What is the hardest thing about your job?

Juggling the demands of various clients, projects and deadlines that are ongoing all at once.  

Tell us about how you got where you are now:

What did you study at university?

I completed the BSc Real Estate at Reading University. 

What grades did you need to get onto that course?

At the time, the equivalent of three B’s at A Level were required.

Did you have any other experience before you got the job?

In terms of property industry experience, I completed a summer internship with Cluttons between my 2nd and 3rd year of university. I would certainly recommend getting as much industry experience as possible.

Did you see yourself working in the built environment when you were 16?

Yes and no. Initially, I was unsure of which direction to take at University and beyond. I was taking A Levels in Geography, Economics and Maths and I wanted to choose a vocational degree that led to a career whilst combining these subjects. With the help of google I discovered that a career in Real Estate existed beyond residential estate agency and could be the answer. Looking into it further, I saw the industry offered a wide range of interesting opportunities mixing technical, business and personal skills.

What advice would you give to your 16 year old self?

Get out there and speak to as many people as you can in different industries. Not just property but other industries you may have never have considered a career in. Find out what these careers can offer and the type of jobs available. Then put yourself out there and try to get work experience and internships in the sectors that interest you the most.

What did you learn at school that you’ve found relevant to your current role?

I was very fortunate that my A Level’s closely matched the core subjects at the heart of the Real Estate profession. The industry is as much about dealing with people and building relationships as it is about technical knowledge. Again you learn these skills throughout your time in education, not necessarily in lessons but the way you act with your friends, teachers or team mates.

Tell us about your plans for the future:

Where do you see yourself in five years?

At this stage of my career, with so many paths available to me, it is extremely difficult to be precise and that’s one of the draws of property as a young professional. As a graduate, the rotation system means a lot of moving around and in 5 years’ time I hope to have found the area I enjoy the most and be establishing myself in that field. I’m keen to explore new departments and locations and if in 5 years’ time I find myself working as an Investment Surveyor in Sydney I’d have few complaints.  

What do you know about Chartership in your field? Is it something you’ve considered working towards?

As a young surveyor, everything you do revolves around gaining the necessary experience and skills required to prepare yourself for Chartership. Working towards Chartership started when I first discovered property at 16, looking at universities that offered a real estate degree accredited by the RICS (Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors). Since joining DTZ, I have been working towards Chartership and am due to sit the final assessment in the autumn.