The Post: Acquisitions Manager, MCG Investments
The Post Holder: Philip Rees
An interest in property led Philip Rees to a career as an Acquisitions Manager.
Give a brief outline of your career to date.
I had a number of part-time jobs when I was younger, my first being in Salto, a gym in Lisburn, I then worked in The Empire and two days a week in McGeown Estate Agents when I was at university. I also spent time shadowing property developers in Belfast gaining hands on experience of the industry. Since leaving university, I have held a number of business development and marketing roles for companies in a variety of industries including a social housing company gaining valuable experience in this sector and as marketing manager for Balloo Hire.
What was your favourite subject at school?
Art or Geography.
Did you go on to further/higher education, if so what did you study and where?
I studied Urban Planning and Property Development at the Ulster University from 2007-2010.
How did you get into your area of work?
My uncle owns a large commercial property firm in Ontario, Canada, and he inspired me. During school, I carried out work experience spending one week in an architects office and one week in commercial agents, Osborne King. It was great to get experience of how both operated and I decided being an architect wasn’t for me.
The commercial agents was fast-paced, meeting clients and attending viewings. I had the opportunity to meet several developers, some of the biggest in Belfast and Northern Ireland, and it gave me a taste of my future career.
Over the next few years, I gained further summer work experience within the property industry and through contacts I met, learning more than any books could’ve taught me.
My advice to anyone wanting to get into an area of interest is to just talk to people, don’t be afraid to reach out and ask for work experience.
Is this what you always wanted to do?
I always wanted to be involved in property. At MCG Investments the scale of our projects are varied from identifying and sourcing buy to let investment opportunities for investors, to working on larger commercial projects, it’s exactly the role I’ve always wanted.
I get great satisfaction from our construction project management service as I love to see the older, derelict properties in our city being transformed and restored, which in turn is helping to create more housing opportunities for our communities.
Were there any particular essential qualifications or experience needed?
No ‘qualifications’ as such. Knowing the market, areas of potential and knowing when to walk away is gained from experience, not learned from a book or quick course. It takes time to build up the knowledge and common sense too.
Are there alternative routes into the job?
You could come from an agency or property industry background.
What are the main personal skills your job requires?
My role requires good communication skills, organisational and time management skills, problem solving, attention to detail and being able to build relationships with agents.
What does a typical day entail?
No day is ever the same I could be meeting with the MCG Investment team to go over project and figures, going to viewings for properties for either our own portfolio or private clients – this ranges from single buy to lets, buy to flips, HMO’s and larger commercial projects. Then it would be back to the office to work through the figures to make sure it is a commercially viable deal.
What are the best and most challenging aspects of the job?
The best aspect is sale agreeing and then completing a property, sourcing property that exceeds a clients expectations. I also really enjoy talking with agents as I can see some three or four times a week!
The property industry is fast moving and ever changing – the challenge can be predicting the market and how high to go on, bidding wise, on a property or portfolio.
Why is what you do important?
At MCG Investments, we provide a hassle free service for our clients as we understand time is very valuable. We take derelict properties and transform them into homes for families, students and young professionals – helping not only the individuals, but the local community too.
What advice would you give anyone looking to follow a similar career path?
Decide what aspect of the industry you like. Get out there, gain experience and ask companies or business people you admire if you can shadow them – experience is priceless. Don’t be put off if they say no, be consistent and always polite.
What is the one piece of advice you would give to yourself on your first day?
Take your time and don’t rush.
And finally, what’s the key to any successful job search?
Apply strategically. Don’t apply for every job that you come across, think about what you would like to do, research the companies you would like to work for and take a strategic approach to your job search. Focus on jobs that align with your goals and priorities and tailor your application materials to each specific job you apply for. Don’t copy and paste and just hope for the best – a well written CV, aligned to the job you are applying for will stand out.
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