Monday, 25 February 2013

MSc Real Estate: Interviews with the Staff

As part of the launch of the MSc Real Estate, I thought it might be interesting to do some interviews with some of the teaching staff. Along the way I discovered a wealth of experience and skills. I asked each of them four questions:

  • What they did at university and how this led them to Oxford Brookes
  • Why they chose Real Estate
  • What they like about teaching the MSc students
  • What students should look out for in their lectures

There are about 12 internal members of staff who teach on the MSc, and also a wide range of visiting lecturers from industry. Here goes with the first few interviews...

Nick French

Nick French leads the MSc programme and teaches valuation and investment
1. Nick studied Land Management at the University of Reading.
2. He always knew that he wanted to work in the property industry, but it was when he started his studies that he found out his interests lay in the area of commercial real estate. He ran the Students' Union (at Reading) for a year before his first 'real' job at Hampshire County Council where he took his APC. He then found his way to Oxford Brookes via teaching roles at City University and the University of Reading.
3. Nick finds the students enthusiastic and appreciative of the effort made by internal and external lecturers. He puts a lot into making the MSc a success and finds that this is rewarded by the enthusiasm and motivation of the students.
4. Nick spends a lot of time keeping up with the market as he feels that it is important that students understand where the subject he teaches fits into the real world. Nick uses his wealth of industry links to enhance the MSc through a series of guest lectures and visits with industry experts. Oh, and you will become an expert in EXCEL.

Mike Patrick

Mike Patrick teaches real estate strategy
1. Mike studied Estate Management at Leicester Polytechnic and then spent 30 years working in real estate fund management in the City (of London) before he started lecturing at Oxford Brookes.
2. Mike's father was an accountant which he (Mike) thought sounded very boring. He wanted to do something that led to a professional qualification and didn't involve 'just sitting at a desk'. He found out about surveying from family friends who worked in the property industry and that was it. Decision made.
3. The students are very focused on what they want to do and where the MSc will take them. As the MSc is a 'conversion course' the students come from a variety of backgrounds which makes group discussions much more interesting.
4. Mike's seminars are designed to reinforce what he teaches in lectures, so students should pay attention to the lecture material if they want to get the most out of the seminars. They should look at the totality of what is being delivered.

Youngha Chou

Youngha Chou teaches strategy management and corporate real estate
1. Youngha studied Business Management as an undergraduate and followed this with an MBA (both in Seoul). She then worked for a Korean Government Research Institute looking at housing policy, construction and house building.
2. Her interest in real estate grew through her work and then she came to the UK as a PhD student at the London School of Economics. Her PhD focused on housing policy and economics. She worked at the Cambridge Centre for Housing Research (part of Cambridge University) before coming to Oxford Brookes.
3. The MSc students are very motivated and enthusiastic about their subject. It is a privilege to work with them as their enthusiasm makes teaching and discussions really interesting and this in turn motivates me!
4. Youngha's module is designed to give students an understanding of business and management issues so that they can see how property fits into business management. Students learn about business areas and corporations and how they use property. Youngha uses a lot of case studies to give examples (good and bad) of how different sectors use property in their business and invites a wide selection of visiting lecturers from industry. Good property management can make a big difference.

Albert Cao

Albert Cao teaches applied research and international real estate investment
1. Albert studied Geography at Guang Zhou University in China as he was interested in conservation and environmental science.
2. When he became a lecturer at Guang Zhou, he was encouraged to take part in the development of the real estate discipline at Guang Zhou. He started teaching valuation and was then selected for a PhD scholarship and came to the UK (Portsmouth University) where his PhD focused on an investigation of real estate markets in China.
3. Albert finds teaching the MSc students very rewarding and inspiring as they come from a wide range of backgrounds and countries, bringing with them a wealth of ideas, experiences and questions which creates some great class discussions.
4. Albert likes to keep students up-to-date with recent developments in the subject and encourages them to take an international perspective as there is always an opportunity to learn from the markets and systems of other countries. An important aspect of his lectures is learning how to apply principles and theories to the real world and the caveats to bear in mind when doing so.

Rebecca Gee

Rebecca Gee teaches development appraisal
1. Rebecca studied Estate Management at Bristol Polytechnic
2. She was going to do a degree in Geography, but after talking to a surveyor and finding out more about the subject, she decided to go for Estate Management as it was a more focused course that would lead to a profession.
3. Rebecca finds that the MSc students bring more questions and challenges which result in more interesting and in depth discussions.
4. Rebecca's module (Development Planning) consists of a series of assignments. Students will find that the lectures contain lots of tips that could be useful for the assignments and also provide an understanding of how to apply the subject to real life situations where there are no right or wrong answers. The module features a Mock Mediation - take a look at the link.

David Shiers

David Shiers teaches sustainable real estate and construction. He took part in a staff Q&A session on the blog last year - find out more about him, including what he wanted to be when he was growing up, here.

Andressa Minogue

Another member of the MSc team, and one with whom our students have a lot of contact, particularly during the application process is the Programme Administrator, Andressa Minogue. I asked her a few questions:

1. How did you find your way into admin for the MSc Real Estate?
A long story...with a happy ending! To cut a long story short...I worked for a company in Brazil and decided to come to the UK to improve my English. I started attending English lessons and worked as a cleaner, then was promoted to a catering assistant! After a few years I managed to get an admin job with Oxfordshire County Council. I then applied for the job at Oxford Brookes because I wanted to interact with students as well as organise things!
2. What does your job involve? 
Wow where can I start?! It is mainly organising stuff for the MSc Real Estate programme to ensure it goes smoothly and making sure students have good admin support: organising inductions, meetings, taking minutes, field trips, scheduling the programme timetable and all important dates, updating documents and, of course, unjamming the printer! I am also involved with organising the interviews for the BSc Real Estate Management, which I find a really interesting job as I enjoy meeting prospective students.
3. Why do you like working on the MSc and with the MSc students? 
Because I really like the students’ enthusiasm. I am a particular fan of MSc Real Estate students because they are smart and polite.
4. How is it working with the academic staff on the MSc?!
Since I first started a year and half ago I’m really enjoying working for the Department of Real Estate and Construction. Staff are very supportive, friendly and the main thing is they are happy because they love what they do! It is a nice environment to be in.

For more information on the MSc Real Estate, click here. To see the course brochure, click here.

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