Case study

Rural surveyor — Sam Coles

Applying to graduate schemes before the end of his Masters degree meant Sam had a job lined up when he finished his studies

How did you get your surveying job?

I studied an undergraduate degree in earth sciences at Durham University and then went on to complete a Masters in rural land and business management at the University of Reading.

At Reading, we were encouraged to submit applications to companies to join their graduate programmes. The graduate roles normally start about a month after the Masters finishes. I then went through an interview and assessment process with a few surveying companies and was lucky enough to get a job offer from Bidwells.

How relevant is your degree to your job?

My Masters involved modules on law, tax, environmental management, agriculture, valuation and much more. Not only are all these topics applied to my day to day role but they were also invaluable in helping me pass my professional qualifications to be a member of the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors.

What are your main work activities?

I probably spend half my time in the office and the other half on visits. This may be visiting clients, properties, tenants or contractors. Office work regularly involves tenancy negotiations, valuation projects, agency deals and general property management.

How has your role developed and what are your career ambitions?

I have been given more and more responsibility the longer I have been at Bidwells. The first big step was to pass my professional examinations and after that I was trusted with higher responsibilities. In the future, with hard work, I hope to progress further up in the business.

What do you enjoy most about your job?

I enjoy the variety of people I work with. My job is all about communication and dealing with people from all walks of life.

What are the challenges?

My specialism is management of client's property. This can include country estates, business parks, farms and residential property. All clients have different objectives and I quite often have to tailor my work according to those objectives.

What are your tips for choosing a Masters degree?

Think of it as a job. You want to study something that you are firstly interested in and enjoy, and secondly can see yourself working in later in life.

What advice would you give to others wanting to get into this job?

Try to undertake some work experience, which improves your CV and gives you a better insight into the sector.

Read publications such as Estates Gazette and Modus to keep in touch with property news and issues.

Although you won't be expected to specialise until later in your career, it's good to start thinking about what aspect of surveying interests you the most. For example, that could be agency, valuation or management.

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