School of Property, Construction & Project Management
An interview with Jessica Borg – Student of the Project Management Undergraduate degree.
Where are you working now?
“I work at Gerard Coutts & Associates, a leading independent project management consultancy specializing in strategic property and development advice and services.”
What is your role and what activities does your role entail on a daily basis?
“I am an Assistant Project Manager and with the team at Gerard Coutts & Associates, I have a significant role in providing professional services to the private, community and government sectors. Gerard Coutts & Associates is proficient in land assembly, land aggregation and broad-acre land development. I have been involved in engaging with landowners, developers, investors and industry professionals to shape a strategy to maximize the potential of land opportunities and guide our clients through every stage of the complex development process.”
What was your favourite part of your degree?
“I have thoroughly enjoyed my time at university and I feel like the favourite part of my degree is just about to commence. This years is my Honours year and as part of that, I will be writing a thesis on a topic of my choosing. I am exploring the concept of work-readiness in the built environment and what it entails from a student perspective. I am excited to explore an area which I am passionate about and am looking forward to seeing which direction my research will take.”
What do you like best about your role?
“I love that my role as Assistant Project Manager offers versatility and is dynamic in that no two projects are the same. I am constantly engaging with various stakeholders to deliver on several projects, each different from the other in scope, size and complexity.”
What attracted you to your role?
“I have always been fascinated by architectural masterpieces and exceptionally designed buildings and therefore have always had an interest in the built environment. Furthermore, I adapt well to scenarios and changes, and am particularly drawn to Project Management due to the diversity of projects in general. I think it was this desire to contribute to the built environment, coupled with my thirst for an element of diversity in my career, that drove me towards Project Management as a career.”
What is most important to you when looking for a job?
“I consider the ideal job to be one that offers three things; the support of an experienced and motivated team with a brilliant track record in the industry, a corporate culture that aligns with my own personal values, and an opportunity for career progression.”
Tell us about your career journey so far.
“My career journey so far has been relatively short but definitely exciting. I took some initiative while at university to work in industry while I studied. In my second year at university, I gained employment at Long Island Homes, a boutique building company, specialising in custom design and construction of residential dwellings. Wanting to build on my knowledge in the property industry, I found employment as a Contracts Administrator at Quintessential Equity, a Property Developer and Fund Manager that explores the strategic re-positioning of Commercial Office Buildings and Developments. This position developed into a position in the development management division, which was aligned with my interests and I became an Assistant Development Manager. Sometime after I was employed by Quintessential Equity, I was employed as Assistant Project Manager at Gerard Coutts & Associates.
While at university, I balanced work with study, sometimes working at two companies at the same time, so it did get quite challenging, yet I would not change anything, as each experience was a wonderful learning opportunity and offered insights into various avenues of the industry. My involvement with the three companies has only fuelled my passion for the industry and I hope to continuously progress in my career!”
Tell us about the challenges and triumphs you have faced as a female in a male-dominated industry
“I was the recipient of the 2015 Women in Project Management Scholarship, awarded by the Project Management Institute (PMI) and I consider this a great testament to my dedication and passion for the industry.
I wrote an abstract that has just recently been accepted to be included in the 40th Australasian Universities Building Education Association (AUBEA) 2016 and I am looking forward to full paper submission, upon which I would love to present my research at the conference being held in Cairns later this year.”
If you could say one thing to young females looking to enter the industry – what would it be?
“Don’t let anything stop you from achieving what you desire. I never saw my position as a female in a male dominated industry as a disadvantage and I don’t think that it should be depicted as such. As a female interested in the Property, Construction and Project Management industry, you have as much chance to succeed as the next person. Be ambitious!”
Anything else you would like to share?
“I recommend the Bachelor of Applied Science (Project Management) at RMIT to anyone who is passionate about the industry and revels at the prospect of a dynamic and challenging career; I have enjoyed the program so much that I recommended it to my sister, who is now in her second year of the program! It has been an exciting journey and I am looking forward to graduating this year.”