What our students say - full details

Rafael Jacobs

Real Estate BSc Honours, graduated 2015

Rafael Jacobs

What are you doing now?

After graduating I took a few months off and spent some time travelling. I am now working as a graduate surveyor in a London based commercial property management firm. I work on a team responsible for 400 properties, with direct responsibility over all management aspects of approximately 75 properties.

What did you find most valuable about your course at Westminster?

My course at Westminster was a good mix of academia and practical study. The academia has given me a good theoretic grounding of my chosen field of work. The practical side of the course has proven invaluable in the workplace. The skills that I picked up have been put straight to use in my day-to-day work life and have given me a strong advantage over other new starters.

Studying at Westminster was aided by the facilities on offer and the Faculty. The mixture between academic staff and professional staff - individuals with actual experience of industry - was key, providing an academic basis mixed with real-life experiences and examples. The excellent library and IT systems provided by the university are also of great benefit.

What advice would you give to someone thinking for pursuing a similar career?

The property industry is a vast place, with many different career paths. I would recommend that someone looking to enter the industry spend as much time as possible sampling different aspects of it, so they can make an informed decision about which pathway to take. Pay attention to the various aspects of the industry in lectures, attend extracurricular lectures of subjects found to be enjoyable and ultimately, try them out on work placements.

What was the best thing about being a student in London?

Socially, London is a hub for students, tourists and residents, which gave me ample activities to do during my down time. Professionally, as the hub of UK business, being in London meant I had the opportunity to spend some of my free time preparing myself for the work place, by attending lectures and completing work placements.

Nina Epstein

Urban Estate Management BSc Honours, graduated 1997

(The Urban Estate Management BSc course was the predecessor of Westminster’s current Real Estate Management BSc course)

Nina Epstein

What is a career in Property like?

My career path in property has been varied, fun, hard work but most of all thoroughly enjoyable. The industry is so dynamic, interesting and full of life! The work is fulfilling and most of all the people I have worked with over the years have been a great support to me. Recently I have joined Women in Property and found this is the perfect outlet for me to meet like-minded individuals who have a great love of Property.

What advice would you offer students who are preparing for a career in Property?

Gain as much experience as possible whilst you are at University. I was offered a placement at Portman Estate during the summer which gave me great insight into the workings of a private family’s real estate portfolio. Never be shy to speak with other individuals in the industry. It’s a small world and everyone knows everyone. Enjoy all the modules open to you within your degree as they all become useful over the life of your career. Women in property are becoming more and more influential and therefore we are no longer in the minority.

How has your career in Property progressed since leaving Westminster?

Having left University in 1997, after a few years as a residential agent, I fell into commercial property and was able to utilise all the skills and knowledge obtained from my BSc (Hons) Urban Estate Management degree.  My first commercial side position was at CB Hillier Parker  (now CBRE) where I worked in their Asset Management Services department – working with Clients such as The Crown Estate, The Church Commissioners, BP Pension Fund (Ropemaker). I worked on the Disposal of the Berkeley Square Estate and Knightsbridge Estate on behalf of BP Pension Fund and learnt so much. I also acted for Hermes, Unilever and Network Rail.

Following on from many happy years at CB Hillier Parker, I took up another opportunity at LaSalle Investment Management (LIM) and worked on the BAE Systems Pension portfolio.

Property Management has always been my specialised subject and the division I have always fallen into. As my personality suits dealing with people and problem solving, this has held me in good stead within the property management division. After LaSalle Investment Management I moved to Cushman and Wakefield and enjoyed working on RSA, Henderson, Heron and other private clients  such as HSBC.

In February 2011 I joined the DTZ family and worked within the PAM team Portfolio Asset Management team with overseas clients: ING, National Grid, Strathclyde, Imperial Tobacco, GE Capital and others. Since February 2012 I have been part of the Business Development Team at DTZ and am thoroughly enjoying it. I get involved with new business tenders, ITT's/ PQQ's and pitches, as well as researching potential new targets. Most of all I get to network, meeting potential clients and other people within the industry.