Thursday, 26 April 2018

MSc Real Estate: Oxford and London

The students on the MSc Real Estate went on two field trips recently...the first had a residential focus and the second looked at two of the Great Estates of London. Read on and click on the red links for more information.

The MSc students with Mike Stubbs at Barton Park

Mike Stubbs and Ian Hembrow took the students on a number of site visits around Oxford on Friday 16 March including:

And then, on the 18 April, the MSc students went to London to visit two of the 'Great Estates': the Crown Estate and Covent Garden (Capco). The students were given a presentation and guided tour at both locations...focusing on:
  • The ethos, objectives and goals of the Estate
  • Its history and foundation
  • Examples of additional investment, proactive asset management and development
  • Management of the estate
  • Attitude to public realm
  • Additional contributions to local community
  • Future plans 

Presentation on the Crown Estate by Sarah Stanley.

The MSc students on a guided tour of the Crown Estate - led by Tom Ridge

The Crown Estate tour

Presentation on Covent Garden by Cornelia Kearns and Harry Hitchins from Capco

Guided tour of Covent Garden by Cornelia Kearns and Harry Hitchins (Capco)

Covent Garden 

For more information about the MSc Real Estate, take a look at our website and blog posts:

MSc Real Estate on the website
MSc Real Estate on the Hot Property blog

Wednesday, 25 April 2018

The Great Estates of London 2018

The first year students on the BSc Real Estate Management went on a field trip to learn more about the Great Estates of London on Friday 16 March 2018. First stop was the recently renovated Regent Street Cinema for a series of talks on the Great Estates of London.

Settling into the Regent Street Cinema

This field trip is part of the Integrative Project which provides a background to the subjects that are taken in the first year. The module addresses the discipline-based and transferable skills that students will need during their time at university and beyond. These skills are explored and developed through a series of activities which involve viewing real estate from a range of perspectives. After the field trip, the students work in teams to prepare a group presentation about the Great Estates of London (the one visited by the team on the field trip) and how they are managed to positively enhance their value.

Back to the field trip itself (click on the red links for more information)....the students listened to a series of presentations and videos at the Regent Street Cinema before splitting into 6 groups for a walking tour of one of the following Great Estates:

The Grosvenor Estate
The Howard de Walden Estate
The Crown Estate
The Portman Estate
The Pollen Estate

And now for the photos (by Rachel Dixon and Youngha Cho)...

Paul Jenkins (Associate Lecturer and Asset Manager at Boultbee Brooks) and Nick Bailey (Project Manager at Argent) gave presentations on the Great Estates of London and the students watched this video by New London Architecture.  

Starting off the tour of the Howard de Walden Estate with a presentation...

...before heading out into Marylebone


...and inside an empty building converted for office use.

On the way to Harley Street

Marylebone High Street

The Cramer Street Car Park - home to Marylebone Farmers' Market

Walking back towards Marylebone High Street

The redevelopment of Marylebone High Street features two 'anchor' stores - one of which is Waitrose...

...and a host of independent retailers, creating a unique and interesting retail experience.

Finishing up with a visit to a very traditional (and small) London pub: the Golden Eagle

The Shaftesbury group - the estate includes some of the most iconic destinations in London:
Soho, Chinatown, Carnaby, Fitzrovia and Covent Garden

Liberty of London

Carnaby Street

Find out more about the BSc Real Estate Management on our website:

BSc Real Estate Management

Wednesday, 28 March 2018

The OBREMS/OBU Mentoring Scheme 2018: The Launch

The launch of the 2018 OBREMS/OBU Mentoring Scheme took place on 21 March and was hosted by Cushman & Wakefield at their offices in Portman Square, London. The launch brought together mentors and students (mentees) for the first time at a fantastic networking event. The Mentoring Scheme (now in its sixth year) is managed jointly by OBREMS (which, by the way, is our alumni association) and the School of the Built Environment and is open to second year students on the BSc Real Estate Management and the BA Planning and Property Development.

This year, applications to the Mentoring Scheme have more than doubled and, thanks to the work of OBREMS in promoting the scheme amongst their members this year, we have been able to allocate a mentor to each student that applied. An exciting development this year has been an increase in the number of younger mentors, some of whom took part in the Mentoring Scheme themselves when they were students.

George Roberts welcoming everyone to Cushman & Wakefield

Dan Sames from the School of the Built Environment at Oxford Brookes introduced the Mentoring Scheme and then passed over to George Roberts, Head of UK and Ireland at Cushman & Wakefield (and one of our alumni from the BSc Real Estate Management), who welcomed everyone to the event and to Cushman & Wakefield. And then Dan introduced the following speakers:

Chris Wilton (Cushman & Wakefield) and John King (CBRE) both took part in the Mentoring Scheme when they were students at Oxford Brookes - they talked about their experiences as students on the Mentoring Scheme (in 2013 and 2014) and gave the new mentees lots of useful tips. Both Chris and John are taking part in the scheme again this year as mentors.

Chris Wilton (left) and John King talking about their time as 'mentees'

Laura Sweet (Mayfair Capital) and Andrew Hynard (Howard de Walden Estate) have been involved with the Mentoring Scheme for a number of years. They talked about their experiences as mentors and the need to adapt to different students and their individual needs...they also spoke about how much enjoyment they got out of taking part in the Mentoring Scheme as mentors.

Laura Sweet and Andrew Hynard giving our new (and old) mentors some advice.

One of the unique features of our Mentoring Scheme is that all of our mentors are graduates of either Real Estate (BSc or MSc) or Planning and Property Development (BA) at Oxford Brookes (or Oxford Polytechnic as it used to be). This means that mentors and students have an immediate connection. Students had the opportunity to chat with a wide range of mentors during the event before meeting up with their mentor for an individual 'first' meeting. The energy and buzz that filled the room at the launch event is reflected in some of the photos...

For more information on our courses and the Mentoring Scheme, take a look here:

BSc Real Estate Management
BA Planning and Property Development
The OBREMS/OBU Mentoring Scheme

Wednesday, 7 March 2018

MSc Real Estate: Bicester Village 2018

Bicester Village by Mike Patrick

At the end of February the MSc Real Estate students went on the annual field trip to the international shopping destination that is Bicester Village. Bicester Village is one of a number of Chic Outlet Shopping® Villages that are operated and owned by Value Retail. There are now nine 'villages' in Europe and two in China and each is defined by its luxury brands and open-air ‘village’ setting.

The purpose of trip is to highlight the link between business, marketing, branding and real estate. The day started with breakfast which was followed by presentations from the management team and from Miranda Markham, Community Relations Director for Value Retail, which was followed by a lively Q&A session. The MSc students go to Bicester Village each year (read about the 2017 visit here) what's new for 2018? Click on the red links for more information.

Phase 4 of the development has now opened (in October 2017) and includes more 30 new shops and 450 new parking spaces as well as a traffic management system. Bicester Village remains a major tourist destination in the UK and is now the second most visited tourist attraction in the UK. The development of the Bicester Village rail station reflects this - offering a direct route from central London as well as luxury surroundings and uniformed staff. This attention to detail has been crucial to the success of Bicester Village.

The uniform at Bicester Village

Bicester Village places a lot of importance on the use of social media for advertising and promotion and is using it very successfully, particularly Instagram. Take a look...

Instagram - 75.4k followers (compared with 45.1k in March 2017)
Facebook - 233.8k likes (compared with 189k in March 2017)
Weibo - (the Chinese microblogging site which is similar to Twitter) has 45k followers

After breakfast and the presentations the students walked from the John Paul II Centre through Bicester town centre and entered Bicester Village through the new railway station. They had time to take a look at the development and then indulge in some serious retail therapy with a VIP card kindly provided by Bicester Village.

And what of Bicester itself? The town continues to expand with the UK's first eco-town taking shape in NW Bicester. Take a look at the timeline and the development of Elmsbrook and Himley Village.

Tuesday, 6 March 2018

BSc Real Estate Management: Bristol 2018

The students outside the Premier Inn (where they stayed for the field trip)

This year (on 19 February), the third year students on the BSc Real Estate Management headed off to Bristol for the annual PPT (Professional Practice Test) residential visit. The visit provides the students with an opportunity to study a local property market (in a location away from the south-east) and to apply all aspects of the real estate management subject disciplines to locally based case study problem solving. Thanks to Albert Cao and David Shiers for the photos.

And so to Bristol...Bristol is a city straddling the River Avon in the southwest of England with a prosperous maritime history. Amongst (many) other things, Bristol is home to the famous Clifton Suspension Bridge and (was home) to its equally famous engineer, Isambard Kingdom Brunel. It is also home to Bristol Blue, a great harbourside and some rather famous street art (and Banksy). Take a look a the red links to find out a bit more.

Bristol Blue by David Shiers

On the first day, the students started with a visit to The Mall, Cribbs Causeway, a shopping centre managed by Intu, where they went on a walking tour of the site and listened to a talk on the development from Greg Wilson (from Intu). After lunch the students visited Lakeshore, a residential development by Urban Splash...which has been in the local news recently. In the evening they attended a presentation about the Retail Market in Bristol and were given the coursework briefing, before going out for a group meal.

On the second day, the students listened to a presentation about the Office Market in Bristol...

...and were given a guided tour of the commercial areas in Bristol

The next two days were spent working in groups, researching sites and preparing project presentations for the PPT vivas which were held on the final day. And then back to Oxford.

Interested? More information about the BSc Real Estate Management here.

Thursday, 18 January 2018

Real Estate Mentoring Scheme 2018

Ian Norris speaking about his experience of being a Mentor at the Mentoring Scheme launch in March 2017

We are about to launch the OBREMS/OBU Real Estate Mentoring Scheme for 2018. The Mentoring Scheme is managed jointly by OBREMS (which, by the way, is our alumni association) and the School of the Built Environment at Oxford Brookes University. For those of you who still haven't heard of it, take a look here.

This year, I asked two of the students who were mentored in 2016 (and graduated in 2017) to answer my questions and inspire you to take part:

Paige Collins at Graduation 2017

Max Hulse

The students are: Paige Collins (PC) who is now working as a Graduate Surveyor for Crest Nicholson and Max Hulse (MH).

What is your background and why did you choose to study Real Estate? 
PC: My background is that I did A levels at school and worked part  time in an estate agents. I chose to study real estate because it is something that I have always enjoyed doing and I had previous experience in doing it through my part time job.

MH: I chose Real Estate Management because of my initial curiosity about property, fueled by work experience.

And why did you choose Oxford Brookes? 
PC: I chose Brookes because it is one of the best places to study Real Estate and I like Oxford as a city.

MH: Brookes is known for the quality Real Estate Management course and also for the successful grad job rate.

Why did you choose to take part in the Real Estate Mentoring Scheme?
PC: I chose to take part in the mentoring scheme because it is good to have contacts in the industry. It is also good to use a mentor's knowledge about the market.

MH: I had no connections in the property industry beforehand. Property is a people focused industry and the more people you meet the better I believe.

What kind of support  did your Mentor offer?
PC: My mentor helped me with my dissertation and with CV

MH: Ran through CV and suggested edits; internship interview advice; introduced me to contacts who I could apply for work experience with; constant contact throughout and regular lunch meetings and finally, work experience.

What were the highlights/challenges about the mentoring relationship?
PC: It was just great to have close links with someone in the industry.

MH: Highlights were work experience and the networking opportunities. The challenge was maintaining the relationship whilst being at mentor was very good at encouraging me to keep in touch.

Would the Mentoring Scheme to other students?
PC: Yes it's really beneficial to have a contact in the industry who can aid you in your career.

MH: 100% yes. There is so much potential for amazing opportunities both at uni and after if you maintain contact. There's no easier way of building your first professional relationship. My advice is to be as active as possible and treat the mentoring relationship both professionally and personally.

The 2018 Mentoring Scheme will launch for student applications in January 2018 - check your email and our Facebook page for more information.

Thursday, 11 January 2018

MSc Real Estate Investment Finance: our students

The MSc/PGD Real Estate Investment Finance (REIF) has now been running for 3 years and our first students will graduate from the MSc and PGD REIF in June 2018. I caught up with three of our MSc REIF students who are currently taking the MSc Dissertation to find out more about them and why they decided to take the MSc at Oxford Brookes. The students (see below) are: Ivana Gazivoda Vucinic who works for Chestertons and is based in Dubai, Freda Rutere who works in Commercial Real Estate and is based in Kenya and Mark Allen who works for Nationwide Building Society and is based in the UK.

Ivana Gazivoda Vucinic (IGV)

Freda Rutere (FR)

...and Mark Allen (MA)

And now, here's how they answered my questions:

What is your background? 

IGV: I graduated with a degree in Economics in 2008 and was planning to pursue a career in the accounting/audit field. In 2009 there was an opening in the Finance Department at Colliers, and I was recommended by my University for the role. By joining Colliers I developed a passion for the real estate industry and after a while moved to a property management division to take care of leasing and marketing of the asset we had under PM agreement. After several years at Colliers, I moved to Belgrade for a year where I worked in a similar capacity before moving to Dubai in 2013. Dubai, being one of the most dynamic real estate markets, triggered me to consider a slightly different career path - so after a period of working on a developer side,  I moved to the advisory side of the business in 2016. Since January 2017 I've been working with Chestertons in the Advisory & Research Department.

FR: My background is in Real Estate Development Management and prior to that Structural Engineering.

MA: My path in academia was the reverse to most students. I went straight into work from school and then found myself in commercial property finance. I enjoyed the work so much I started to look at ways to add to my skills so spent 5 years taking banking exams ending with a degree in Banking Practice and Management and Chartered Associateship.

Why did you decide to do a course in Real Estate Investment Finance?

IGV: My degree in Economics together with my work experience provides a solid foundation to assess the clients' requirements and add value to the projects. However, I believe that getting a RE-related degree gives an additional edge when it comes to dealing with the complexity of the assignment and clients' requirements, hence I decided to enroll.

FR: It has been my experience that there is often a disconnect between the decision drivers of investors (in real estate) and the engineering fundamentals that technical teams are driven by. Combining a solid background learning in engineering with REIF equips me with the right tools to better steer commercial real estate development decision making at strategic level.

MA: Having always focused on finance, I wanted to gain insight to the investment side of property whilst complementing my existing skillset and experience.

Why did you choose the MSc REIF at Oxford Brookes?

IGV: I was evaluating several options and MSc REIF at Oxford Brooks provided a good blend of the following criteria: online learning delivery (with a dynamic working schedule it means a lot to have a certain flexibility, unlike with part-time or full-time programs); the length of the program (18 months compared to some other options taking up to 30 months); the fee-to-ranking ratio (I thought it was a reasonable fee for the course with a reasonable ranking).

FR: The course is RICS accredited and offered in a flexible format; the institution and is an elite ranked and has a history dating back to Victorian England.

MA: First of all I needed a distance learning course to work round my existing work commitments which the Oxford Brookes course offered. Secondly, I came across some of the tutors work in a book on property sustainability that was forward thinking and thought provoking. Thirdly, the way the course was structured covered the topics I wanted more insight into.

What do you hope to gain from the course and how will it help you in your career?

IGV: I hope to get a deeper understanding of concepts that are applied in day-to-day work. Furthermore, the course allows me to come up with certain out-of-box solutions in certain situations and to generate additional value for my clients.

FR: I hope to gain exposure to the Real Estate asset class across various jurisdictions globally.

MA: The course offers a balanced and detailed insight into real estate investment finance and will be a real advantage for me in my role as a Senior Relationship Manager having exposure to a wide range of clients and property portfolios.

What have you chosen/did you choose for your dissertation topic and why?

IGV: I've decided to analyze the performance of US REIT compared to S&P 500 index. There are two reasons why I choose this topic - the first one is that the REIT concept in Dubai is very new so I opted to gain some deeper understanding/knowledge at this stage to be able to be ahead of the curve once the concept starts gaining interest and more expert knowledge in certain aspects will be needed. Other reasons are private interest and curiosity - knowing where and when to invest and how to leverage the risk of a personal investment portfolio.

FR: In my dissertation, I seek to compare and contrast the REIT market perspectives of mature investment markets of Asia to the emerging African markets. I believe there are learning opportunities for the latter.

For more information on the MSc/PGD Real Estate Investment Finance, take a look at our website:


Wednesday, 29 November 2017

The PropTech Conference 2017

In the beginning...

On Friday 24 November, the School of the Built Environment joined with the School of Architecture to hold the 2017 PropTech Conference for students and staff.

The first session was chaired by Damian Wild, Editor of the EG and focused on 'how to get a job in property and keep it in this age of automation'. The panel discussing the issues around this topic comprised: Alex Bailes (Head of Product Engineering at CBRE), Eden Dwek (Manager - Tech Growth at KPMG), Savannah de Savary (Founder and CEO of Built-ID) and Brittany Hurley (Senior Director UK at VTS). There was a lively discussion and a number of questions from the audience.

The Panel with Damian Wild and...

...the audience

The next session was led by Dave Ramsey, Director of Data Standards at the RICS and focused on the future for surveyors 

The first session after lunch was led by Ross Raftery from Deloitte LLP and focused on
the impact of PropTech on the real estate industry

The rest of the afternoon focused on the impact of PropTech on other aspects of the built environment including: planning and development, architecture, design and construction. The sessions were led by:

Neil Goldsmith, Senior Director, Lichfields Planning and Development Consultancy
Mark Greatrix and Victoria Ruby from Waldeck Consulting
Scott Sworts from Avatar Design and Oxford Brookes University
Nigel Mehdi, author of the RICS Insight Paper on Big Data

The sessions were followed by a panel debate and Q&A session which was chaired by Professor Joe Tah, Head of the School of the Built Environment.