I am Amika Gandhi and work as a Graduate Surveyor at Colliers International, in the West End. I have been working in the Business Rates team for over 8 months, assisting the team in carrying out inspections and valuations for office and retail units in Central London.
Whilst working, I am also finishing my final year of an MSc in Real Estate Development from the University of Westminster and intend to qualify as a Commercial Surveyor in October 2020.
How did you start your journey in property?
I was studying a Politics BSc, and working for a small residential property firm in West London. After trying different jobs and applying for graduate schemes, I realised that there was no other industry which gave me a thrill or pleasure of working, like property.
I worked for a Serviced Office Company in Central London for just under 6 months to familiarise myself with the West End Market. I spent my time advising clients to rent offices from us, explaining them market trends, the benefits of serviced offices over conventional leases and one day a client asked me, “Have you ever considered being a Surveyor?”.
After this, I began to start researching the industry and took the step to apply for a masters, despite not knowing about the job market.
I applied for a few graduate schemes but was unsuccessful. However, I found my current job through LinkedIn and was extremely surprised to get a call back and very happy in the Business Rates team at Colliers.
Advise I’d give to anyone unsure of what career to pursue:
If I could go back, the biggest advice I’d give to myself would be to always research being deciding on a career. For anyone unsure of their career choices, take the time to gain experience, contact people via LinkedIn or a phone call to company’s HR because there are always people willing to help.
A key thing to remember is, do not stress if you do not get the answers you want the first time! Perseverance is key and opportunities will come at the right time.
Advise for anyone looking to get into the property industry:
I’d recommend for anyone looking to get into industry to use LinkedIn as a starting base, create a profile and connect with people in the area relevant to where you’d like to reach.
The industry is versatile and is welcoming people from all backgrounds. Contact recruiters, look online for job vacancies and consider doing an RICS accredited degree or masters as this will help you get on to a structured APC training scheme.
Finally, I’d advise anyone not to give up if they do not get on to a traditional rotational graduate programme. I am based in one team where I will complete my training and have met many people like myself, who have successfully qualified as surveyors. The lesson is, do not give up on your dreams!
Finally, I’d like to thank Sara Cameron and all other women in surveying helping to expand the network and promote exciting careers ahead.
It’s important for us to come together to continue promoting equality and diversity, particularly as there still a lot to be done to enhance this in the industry.
If anyone is looking for further advice, please contact me on firstname.lastname@example.org