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Can you study your way to successful property management/development?



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Graduation Hat2015 saw record numbers of people applying to go to university. Vocational and industry focused degree courses have become increasingly popular in time when the job market is more competitive than ever.

Property management/development degree courses claim to provide the skills and industry experience needed to succeed in the market. Since property development has been around a lot longer than these courses, it’s worth looking a bit deeper to see what exactly is taught in a property management/development degree.

First of all, it’s not all lectures and essays. Some courses can include a year in industry, which is exactly that; a year spent working in the industry. This is always paid, and usually taken between the second and third year of study. Having a year’s work experience is a valuable tool as well as a great way to learn about the business as students are in the privileged position of being at work to learn, in addition to contributing to the organisation and developing their own professional skills. Students are responsible for sourcing their own placement (with the help and resources available at their university).

Access to experienced professionals who work closely with property developers is another great opportunity at university. From architects and engineers to planners and lawyers, students can learn from the expertise of people who have already risen to the top of their career. All of this creates transferable skills that can be taken into the workplace.

This all sounds great, but is there a downside to spending three or four years studying for a property management/development degree, rather than gaining hands on experience in full time employment, or as an independent property developer? Of course, some people will succeed without any study, but that’s not the case for everyone. The expense involved in undertaking full time study must also be taken into consideration, especially when compared to receiving a full time wage. But, employment isn’t guaranteed so it’s easy to see why going to university is a sound option for many people. Being educated to degree level is a huge plus in the eyes of employers too, so while a degree doesn’t offer any guarantees, it does provide a leg up on the career ladder.

There’s no definitive answer to whether you can study to become a successful property developer, but whether you choose an academic foundation or a baptism of fire, hard work, hard work and more hard work are absolutely vital to getting ahead of the competition.


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