45 students from 10 universities were invited to join a number of the ULI UK Young Leader Executive Committee members on 10th November to the inaugural ULI Young Leaders Group University Outreach Programme. Held at Strutt & Parker’s offices, it offered a chance for the students to find out what ULI is all about as well as to hear from the organisation’s current Chair for the UK, Simon Clark.
After brief round-the-room introductions, as always showing the diverse backgrounds of the ULI members, the YL Committee Co-Chairs – Ryan Matenchuk of Stanhope PLC and Ben O’Neill of Hammerson – outlined the benefits that being part of the organisation gives. From one-on-one mentoring, through exclusive Lunch & Learn sessions and property tours, all the way to networking and current industry events (e.g. the Public Private Partnership series) – there is something to suit everyone and on virtually every topic related to real estate.
Then, Simon Clark of Linklaters LLP and the ULI UK Chair gave a very insightful presentation on his views on career progression and on current real estate trends. In terms of the former, an important message to be taken away by the young members of the ULI is to appreciate that one’s professional journey is likely to take the shape of “interval training” – with different stages, each involving intensive learning and building of a network of people who will then guide your way through the rest of your career. ULI can be of great help throughout this process, allowing its members to get to know fellow industry professionals and constantly expand their knowledge horizons during local, European and global events.
Although he has spent most of his working life in the real estate sector, Simon pointed out that the trends he recognised are applicable much more universally. More specifically:
there is increasing diversity in the society and much more emphasis on talent – which in turn impacts the way companies work and hence cities are structured;
in a world of growing mobility and globalisation, the “immobile” real estate has to adjust and industry leaders have to accept that nothing can be taken for granted – for instance, shopping is now done more on board of a train to work during people’s daily commute than it is on the high street, with huge consequence for urban spaces;
with borders gradually more permeable for people, there is a tendency for volatility in the property markets to also cross borders – as visible on the example of the European migrant crisis affecting the UK housing situation and other political issues outside of Europe (e.g. the instability in China) impacting European sentiments;
the same is true for cyclicality and pace of changes in general, with Moore’s Law applicable to technological change and with much shorter leases all being a clear sign that it is no longer possible to predict or at least anticipate the future with any degree of certainty – hence making flexibility key, also in the built environment; and
while sustainability has been in the headlines for a number of years now, its scope has changed over time and now includes much more than climate change – for example, there is increasingly more concern over fairness and equality and ULI’s mission to create sustainable, thriving communities is very much in line with this.
The atmosphere in the room then become more informal as the students and Executive Committee members of the UYL LI started to network over wine and beer as well as hot and cold nibbles. Some tips on next careers steps and job applications were shared, and some of the most current issues like changes to the office-to-residential permitted development rights or the slight chance that the UK will leave the European Union in the future were discussed. Those whose ULI involvement spans longer also shared with those newer to the organisation their most memorable moments and favourite events of the past year – including the Paris Conference and the Tube strike-affected Summer Drinks at the Olympic Park. While the Top 5 list varied from person to person, there were some overarching messages – such as the fantastic opportunities that you get to benefit from and the wonderful people that you get to meet as a member of the global ULI family.
Many thanks to Strutt & Parker for opening its doors to some very enthusiastic young people and providing all attendees with great refreshments to accompany equally great conversations! A special thank you also to Simon Clark for once again sharing his wealth of knowledge and experience with the future industry leaders. Last but not least, many thanks to the Young Leader Executive Committee members – in particular to James Lai of CallisonRTKL and Tom Grounds of Strutt & Parker – for their involvement in organising the event. We hope that everyone enjoyed the evening and that the ULI will soon gain some new members!