Name: Andrew J. Chrysostomou
Degree and university: BSc in Real Estate Finance and Investment at Cass Business School.
Job Title: Andrew has worked in the Corporate Finance team at Cushman & Wakefield for three years and is a member of the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors, specialising in Property Finance and Investment.
Why did you decide upon a career in Finance? I was interested in Finance at university. It was there that I selected a number of property based modules and thoroughly enjoyed them. At the end of my second year I realised that a crossover between finance and property existed, both in learning material and also in the work place, and applied for an internship in Cushman & Wakefield’s "Advisory Group". I spent time understanding not only the physical fundamentals of a property, but also how property investors may view an asset as income stream.
What type of work are you doing? I work in the Corporate Finance team which sits within Cushman & Wakefield’s Capital Markets Group. I specialise in raising finance for property investors to acquire commercial real estate. Once I understand what my client’s main driver is, I proceed to speak to a number of different banks to source the most competitive loan terms. Most of my work is numbers based comparing different offers and analysing potential returns for my client.
What do you enjoy most about your job and are there any downsides? My job allows me to interact with all relevant professionals involved in completing a property transaction. I am exposed to a wide range of skill sets which help me to understand the key drivers for each party. I obviously spend a lot of my time discussing the deal with the bank and my client. As the deal progresses I will also liaise with the valuer and both legal advisors for the vendor and purchaser.
The finance arm of a property advisory firm usually works slightly longer hours. I wouldn’t say this is necessarily a downside and you do get used to it. As I live on the opposite side of town to my office, I think the early starts have been a challenge in the past!
What do you think are the most important skills/strengths you need to succeed in your job? Like any industry, I think you will need to be hard working, a good team player, enthusiastic, innovative, and hungry for success to be a good professional. Unlike many other industries, I think you need to keep an open mind. You will be exposed to different people, different working styles, and more importantly, different departments very early on in your career which appear unrelated. It is only after a couple of years that you realise that there is a degree of crossover in all these departments. Understanding how all these departments work in conjunction with each other that makes a good surveyor.
What would be your best piece of advice for graduates considering a career in property? Be prepared for a long and exciting journey. You will rotate departments up to three times in your first two years of joining the firm. You may not always be put in your first choice, but try and soak up as much information as possible.
Property is a knowledge and contact based industry. Stay in contact with all your friends from university who may be working at rival firms. Also be early for meetings and always get a business card.