Experiencing property as an emerging discipline

Toby completed his Master of Property mid 2020 whilst working full time in the industry. We caught up with him to find out about his journey so far.

Toby headshot

Why did you choose to study the Master of Property?  I wanted to pursue further education in the area of property and the built environment because of its relevance to modern society. Property is an emerging discipline and it is exciting to be part of the growing body of knowledge and evidence to support it.

You have just finished your studies in the last couple of weeks. What was your favourite subject in the program?The Master of Property has a variety of different subjects, all of which I enjoyed. One of my favourite subjects was Research Thesis – Property. I enjoyed this subject because it allowed me to utilise all of the knowledge that I obtained throughout the degree and package it up into an original research project.

Why did you choose to study at the Melbourne School of Design?Having completed my undergraduate studies at Melbourne University, I was eager to continue further education at the Melbourne School of Design. The Melbourne School of Design brings together a diverse range of students and University professionals from all over the world. These factors, combined with the University’s connection to industry professionals (who regularly partake in lectures and tutorials), is what attracted me to study at the Melbourne School of Design.

What are the most valuable skills that you have learnt?

University, particularly at the Melbourne School of Design, requires a large amount of group work and information sharing between the different disciplines. This opportunity has enhanced my interpersonal skills and ability to communicate with people from all different walks of life. Furthermore, I was able to broaden my knowledge through Property subjects and elective subjects that introduced me to the field of urban planning and related technical skills such as GIS analysis.

What are you doing or planning to do thinking towards the future?

I have been working in the Coles Group property team since 2017. I have recently started a new role as a GIS analyst. I have been able to build upon the knowledge that I gained from University and implement it in a professional context. I plan to continue my work within the property industry and will seek to obtain more knowledge and responsibility in the work I do.

You started working for Coles Group whilst you were still a student. How did you manage juggling study and work?My experience is that both can be managed. Open communication with both the University and my workplace has been the key to simultaneously studying and working.

A lot of academic staff (particularly in the property discipline) are open to, interested in, and understanding of students who work and study. There are many people in the classroom who are working in the industry.

There’s a symbiotic relationship between what you do in the workplace and what you do in the classroom. Throughout my studies, I was able to tailor some of my assignments to align with my professional work. For example, in the subject Corporate Real Estate Management we were required to evaluate the property interests of an ASX company. I chose a large Australian retailer, which enabled me to better understand how retail competitors utilise property. Similarly, for the subject Property Data and Tools I was able to analyse the impact that shopping centres had on residential property prices.

What advice do you have for other students thinking of studying at the Melbourne School of Design?My advice would be to utilise the vast amounts of knowledge and the extensive resources that the University has to offer. The Melbourne University Library is an amazing database with information and resources on every topic you can imagine.

What trends do you see being important to the future of our built environments? Subjects at the Melbourne School of Design have enabled me to research contemporary topics and debates within the built environment discipline. I believe the built environment is central to the success of modern society. The development of cities, management of population growth and sustainable use of land will be increasingly important topics for property professionals to contribute towards.

What’s your favourite place on campus?I am a big fan of Castro's Kiosk. Definitely the best coffee on campus!

What would you like people to know about the property discipline? Property is a very broad discipline. Where it be individual homeownership, local town planning, federal based property taxes or the REITs traded across global financial markets, property is relevant to every facet of society.

As a result, one of the great benefits of studying property is that students get exposure to a variety of stakeholders and information pertaining to planning, construction, environment, finance, economics, investment and many others.

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