11 February 2021
Enthusiasm and enjoyment of working in the field of property came through loud and clear from our guest speakers in our first career panel event of 2021, part of the Woldingham Talks series, on Tuesday 9 February. Woldingham parent Matthew Arnold and alumnae Anna Bond (1999), Natalie Orde (2009) and Emily Oliver (2011) shared plenty of insights into a sector that perhaps isn’t as well known to our students as others, but clearly has a lot to offer.
The variety of careers paths was clearly demonstrated by the fact that Matthew, Anna and Natalie all work for the same company, Grosvenor, but have quite different roles, respectively running a portfolio of properties, including offices, hotels, houses, flats and shops, delivering commercial and social benefit through the company’s development activity across Britain and Ireland, and implementing Grosvenor Europe’s sustainability strategy, including a pathway to net zero carbon. Anna also gave an excellent example of the variety a day in her working life can offer, from agreeing on taps and bathroom tiles, through meeting politicians to persuade them why the company’s plans would be great for their community, to deciding which retailers would be the best fit for a particular street.
Emily, who works for Savills and is currently enjoying a year’s secondment to one of its top clients, Guy’s and St Thomas’ Charity, offered some useful realism in response to the question, “What would it have been helpful to have known when you were in the Lower Sixth, like me?” Her answer was that it’s likely that some parts of any role, particularly when you are junior, can be a bit dull and boring and it’s best not to expect “fireworks” every day. That said, the overall message from the panel was the property sector can offer variety, fun and reward.
One of the questions put to the panel was how the pandemic had affected both their roles and their sector. This was expanded on in an excellent Thinking Big talk on Thursday 11 February in which Teacher of Economics Mr Ian Smith spoke on a timely topic: “Behavioural Economics - How Britain tried to nudge its way out of the pandemic”.