BY JC ALCARAZ
As an architect, I have always wanted to explore my capacities as a professional and explore what this career can do on a broader level.
In short, I wanted to make use of my talents as an architect and use this talent to develop properties. For me to do this, however, I thought I needed to have a fine grasp of fundaments of property development. To achieve that, I have decided to pursue a postgraduate degree in London to gain a wider understanding about the property industry as a whole, leading me to choose MSc in Real Estate at the Cass Business School.
From a non-architect point of view, real estate would mean buying and selling properties as that is what we are exposed to in the Philippines. Apparently though, it is more than that.
Real estate, as an industry in itself, is all about understanding the need for property in relation to the demand and supply of a particular region and taking advantage of that information as a whole. It has plenty to do with understanding finance and economics as these two are the foundation of the programme and it involves a lot of reading of industry reports to understand how a particular market segment works.
In my programme, they allow us to make our own interpretation of our assignments, as we are not fixed on a common notion of what the outcome should be. The way we learn here is that the lecturer will give us basic questions to which the students will expand the answer in detail. Our projects are either of the two, an essay or a group work. In essays, we are expected to apply what we have learned and explain the process of how we came up with our learning. We are expected to read plenty of materials and surprisingly, our library, despite its limited size, seems to have everything we need to carry on with our work. I find it amazing how they are very keen on making sure the students understand the process, coming up with well-thought out solutions—rather than diving head-on with a textbook response to academic questions. I think that kind of learning set-up enables students to be more flexible in dealing with problems of varying scales in an international level.
Real estate is all about understanding the need for property in relation to the demand and supply of a particular region.
Our group projects are interestingly multi-racial as we usually work with classmates who come from different parts of the world. It is fun because we get exposed to different ideas and personalities and that alone is a learning experience. In addition, sharing stories of country norms is always part of the group work and it is very interesting to understand the histories of other people, as I think that being comfortable working with other people is one of the main goals of collaboration. One challenging aspect though would be the language barrier as international students would have different ways of communicating in English. It can be a bit of a challenge in the beginning but it gets better as you get used to it.
So far, I am really enjoying my majors as I get to learn a lot of things in school, as well as with myself especially on how to handle situations on an international set-up. I truly appreciate the time I am having here as I believe it makes me a better professional and a better person as I step closer to my career goal.
About the Author
JC is a recent graduate in Architecture from the University of Santo Tomas and has taken on design roles in a few architectural firms in the Philippines. He is currently taking his MSc in Real Estate in Cass Business School.
He wants aspiring Filipino students and possibly people from the growing real estate industry in the country to go out of their comfort zones and open their eyes to the many possibilities and inspirations they could get from the UK study experience.