Property economics grads come out on top
If the sheer number of building sites around Sydney are anything to go by, the property business is booming. But when it comes to finding property graduates to meet industry demand, employers are on the lookout for a particular set of skills – and they’re finding them in students of the UTS Bachelor of Property Economics.
Graduates like Samantha Hopkins, who finished her studies in 2016, have been snapped up by leading companies across the property sector, thanks in large part to UTS’s enduring relationships with a range of industry organisations.
In 2015, Hopkins won a place in the student program at Knight Frank, a leading property company that employs more than 15,000 people in 420 offices around the world.
“I found out about the Knight Frank student program through UTS,” she says. “The course conveners were really good at notifying us whenever jobs came up, which was fantastic.”
I think the most important thing that I see from UTS students are that they’re really hardworking, and they have very good knowledge of real-world problems and real-world experience
The program targets students in their final year of a property evaluation, finance, commerce, business or engineering degree. Students rotate through four of Knight Frank’s divisions over a 12-month period under the guidance of a mentor, with many moving into ongoing employment with the company.
Hopkins was one of the success stories: she’s now an assistant in Knight Frank’s residential development team, which is focused on property valuations – a role that she sees as a launching pad for a wealth of future career opportunities.
“I chose valuations because I thought that it would be a really good basis going into the property industry, just in terms of learning all the numbers and working towards my certified practising valuer’s certificate – most future employers like you to have that,” she says.
In fact, Hopkins is far from the only UTS student to find her feet at Knight Frank – the company currently employs a high number of UTS graduates. Among them is Marco Mascitelli, who was hired directly by the company in 2015, the year after finishing his studies.
Originally employed as an analyst in the company’s Parramatta offices, Mascitelli transferred into the city-based research and consultancy team in 2017. Here, he’s responsible for writing market reports and providing specialised consulting services for a range of clients.
Mascitelli says the role at Knight Frank was a direct result of his UTS degree – his close-knit cohort was instrumental in getting him a foot in the door, and the course content prepared him well for the realities of the sector.
The lecturers were very approachable. You could ask the teacher a million questions; you weren’t just sitting up the back of a lecture hall – it was in a classroom.
“We were doing subjects on valuation, for example, and what I learned there was an accurate reflection of exactly what we do in valuations at Knight Frank. Equally, our assignments applied to real life; we might be told to pick a real building and evaluate it, which is what we do now,” he says.
“I also enjoyed the structure of the course. We would do three-hour seminars, but they weren’t in a big lecture hall with 200 students; it was just our class, with 60-80 people.
“You could do one-on-one with the teachers and the lecturers were very approachable. You could ask the teacher a million questions; you weren’t just sitting up the back of a lecture hall – it was in a classroom.”
And it’s not just the students who think highly of the course. Alex Pham, Associate Director in the Research and Consultancy team at Knight Frank, has seen a lot of students come and go. He says that when it comes to finding graduates who are the right fit for the company, UTS students have the skills he’s looking for.
“I think the most important thing that I see from UTS students are that they’re really hardworking, and they have very good knowledge of real-world problems and real-world experience,” he says.
“It’s testament to the program at UTS; it’s very practical, very applicable to the industry, and I can see a lot of UTS graduates have very good networking and communication abilities as well.”