School of Property, Construction & Project Management
An interview with Timothy Chiam– Alumni of the Property and Valuation Undergraduate degree.
Where are you working now?
What is your role and what activities does your role entail on a daily basis?
“Property Development Graduate – 2 year rotation program which involves assisting the Development Managers of varying industry divisions with the delivery of property projects of varying sizes and complexity.”
What was your favourite part of your degree?
“In terms of subjects, the property development & town planning subjects were my favourite as they directly relate to my area of interest. These subjects were designed in a way to engage the student by making them directly relate-able to real world scenarios. The skills learnt through the academic work were directly transferable to my professional work.”
What do you like best about your role?
“I am a creator – I have always had a passion for creating things (organisations, business, teams and buildings). Property Development provides me an opportunity to challenge myself mentally, collaborate in a team environment and provide an outlet for my creativity.”
What attracted you to your role?
“Lendlease are the best in the business of property development. If I intend to become a leading property development professional then I need to be working with the best in the business.”
What is most important to you when looking for a job?
“I don’t believe in looking for a job – I believe in building a career. When looking at a employment opportunity, it is important to know where you want to be in 5, 10 & 20 years. If this opportunity doesn’t directly assist you in reaching your goal / vision then let it go.”
Tell us about your career journey so far.
“Prior to studying at RMIT, I had attended Melbourne University to undertake a Bachelor of Commerce (Economics and Finance). I was not interested in entering the finance industry and so I decided to undertake the Bachelor of Applied Science (Property and Valuation) degree as I was interested in a career in property development / investment. Academically I was performing well but I needed work experience badly or I felt I wouldn’t have a strong enough CV to get a graduate position upon graduating. Fortunately, my lecturer told me of the Work Integrated Program (WIL) at RMIT Property Services. I quickly started to enquire about a position and shortly after found out about a position as a Minor Works Office for the Annual Works Department of RMIT Property Services. Ultimately, the manager of the Annual Works team took a major chance on hiring me as I didn’t have the typical project manager or construction management background. I spent the next year managing construction projects of varying sizes (between a few hundred dollars and hundreds of thousands of dollars). After my time there, I was fortunate to land a position at Places Victoria as part of their intern program. This was my first position in Property Development. During this time, I was on rotation through their Land Development and Housing Division, New Business and finally Precincts team. I obtained a wealth of knowledge, especially in regards to property development projects at a state level. At the end of my rotation at Places Victoria, I decided to move over to Lendlease to get some exposure in the private property development industry.”
Tell us about the challenges and triumphs in this industry
“The immediate challenge for students is getting into the industry. There are limited jobs and many talented students. Getting good grades is not good enough on its own – getting professional work experience which directly relates to the career that you wish to follow is crucial.
A triumph in property is building a solid personal brand which you will be known by. The industry is very small and your reputation is everything. Be known as a hard worker who is passionate about what they do and capable of handling any task.”
If you could say one thing to future students looking to enter the industry – what would it be?
“Similar to above – get professional work experience as soon as possible. You should be working in the industry by your 2nd/3rd year of university and be graduating with good grades and at least of 1-2 years of professional work experience that relates to the career you want to pursue.”
Anything else you would like to share?
“Take a risk.”
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