My journey to becoming a Surveyor – Muireann Griffin
I arrived in Limerick Institute of Technology in September 2007 after choosing (on a whim!) to study Real Estate Property Valuation and Management. To be honest I really did not know what to expect. My first 2 years were enjoyable, learning the basics surrounding valuations, planning, property law, economics and construction. I spent my Summer holidays in first year doing an internship in the Limerick County Council Planning Department and this got me on the path to thinking it was an area I would like to get into. In my third year of the course you were required to do a work placement for 9 months, at that time very few places were hiring due to the economic downturn however, thankfully I secured a position in Cushman & Wakefield (formerly DTZ Sherry FitzGerald). I ended up working there for 12 months, the experience was hands on and I worked closely with one of the surveyors, doing viewings, taking enquiries, carrying out inspections of properties and assisting with the preparation of valuation reports. I feel the experience I gained during that time was most invaluable to me as not only did I learn the basic skills of working in an office but I also got first hand experience of what it would be like, to be a commercial property surveyor.
Following the completion of my degree jobs remained scarce and I decided I would like to go on to do a Masters. I spent the next 12 months studying Spatial Planning at the University of Dundee before returning to Limerick in 2012. Although I had different aspirations I was offered a job with Sherry FitzGerald and started work in residential sales in their Limerick office. While I always thought this was an area of the market I would like to get into I soon realised that it was not for me and when I was offered a role as a graduate surveyor within Cushman & Wakefield I gladly accepted.
Working in a regional office you get the opportunity to work across all commercial property sectors which provided me with a broad range of experience. I spent 5 years working there, initially in the agency department where I was involved in a mix of sales and lettings of various property types and then I moved onto professional services where I predominately focussed on the valuation of trading assets and loan portfolios. During this time I also completed my APC and became a Chartered Surveyor. Professional services teaches you a lot of the fundamentals of property but given that I am a person that likes to talk a lot I was much more suited to an agency based role. In 2018 I decided I wanted to make the move to Dublin, I got offered a position within the Retail Department of Cushman & Wakefield and taking this role was the best decision I made both from a professional and personal standpoint. Although I work in a specific sector my job is quite varied, I act as letting agent on over 15 shopping centres and retail parks across the country as well as providing tenant rep services for a number of different retailers. Our job is fast paced and everyday usually comes with a few surprises which keeps things interesting. My typical day is usually made up of client meetings, viewings, dealing with enquiries and drafting and agreeing heads of terms.
Working in Cushman & Wakefield I have found they encourage their staff to grow. From the moment you enter the door as a Graduate Surveyor you are registered with the SCSI on the APC programme and you spend the first 2 years of your career in training. Graduates are given the opportunity to rotate during these two years between Asset Services, Professional Services and Agency which gives a broader understanding of the different commercial disciplines. When I was starting out I had very little understanding of what it meant to work in the commercial property sector but for anyone looking for a career that is varied, fast moving and in an ever evolving environment then a career in Surveying is one to definitely consider.