Catherine Lai found her experiences during her studies at RMIT invaluable in helping her step into a property valuations career.
“The courses and content are very practical. And the guest industry speakers connect what you learn to real-life examples, which allows you to get a feel of the type of work that you’re expected to do once you complete the program and find work.”
I’ve always had a strong passion for property and development. When looking at RMIT, I was attracted to the course and content, which were more streamlined and focused compared with other universities.
I’ve found the student life experience really enriching and I am lucky to say that the people I have studied with since my first semester are now my closest friends.
The best experience has been undertaking two study tours specifically related to property and valuation. The first tour I was a part of was to New Zealand and the second to Europe – Barcelona, Paris and London. These trips have not only helped expand my knowledge of international property markets and projects, they have also allowed me to experience different cultures. I’ve found study tours a much more interesting way to learn because they get you out of the classroom and into real projects – and it’s a nice way to see the world.
The Employer of Choice (EoC) program, run by the School of Property, Construction and Project Management, has been a real standout. It’s an excellent way of getting companies connected with students, and through EoC, you are constantly provided with job opportunities. It’s so important to gain as much exposure to the industry as possible. It can be a job in admin for a real estate company or even a data entry job at a valuation or development firm – any industry-related experience helps in setting you up for your career and life after your studies. That’s something I’ve valued and it has certainly made the transition from studying to working in industry much easier.
If I had to offer any advice, it would be to network, network, network – I’ve really learnt the importance of networking, especially in an industry such as this. I attended different industry-run events and industry open days at uni, and spoke with past students who now work in the industry. It is a great way to meet new people and it allows you to get your name out there and maybe a foot in the door for your dream job.
The Property and Valuation degree has introduced me to people in the industry, which has helped me gain my first job in valuations. From there, I’ve been able to gain a graduate role in property development at Lendlease – which has been my goal since first year.