Millennials in the workplace: what’s the first thing that comes to mind when you read this? That they won’t stay there for too long? It’s only natural: young people tend to be bolder, more adventurous. But young people are ambitious, too. Their focus on “going from zero to hero” and building up their careers is perhaps stronger than anyone else’s. There are many ways in which they can develop professionally, and many choose to do so by sticking to one of their first – if not actually their first – employers. At Colliers, we’ve witnessed such accomplishments over the years. Most of our seniors joined the team when the real estate market was only budding, and our professionals grew together with it. Young professionals in a young market, it seemed only fitting. Today, however, is not about them. Even after the Romanian real estate market matured, we continued to attract young talents and established a tradition of nurturing their potential and guide it on the road from good to great.
Today, we take pride in our new generation of Young People in Real Estate.
Meet Aura, our 30-year-old Senior Associate in the Valuation & Advisory Services department.
She’s had her fair share of internships in various banks, she’s worked for a little time in valuations, all of this while still a student at the University of Economic Studies in Bucharest. But one suggestion about Colliers and, in 2015, she was here.
I first heard of Colliers 6 years ago when telling a friend that I would like to work in a large consulting company. She told me that in Colliers, where she had been working for some time, one of the seniors in the Valuation and Advisory department is looking for a junior, so the context was perfect for me. I consulted my university professor who whetted my appetite for this world of valuations and told me very pleased for this opportunity that Colliers is a professional environment that would surely be the perfect growth place for a young woman like me, and so began the story…
Our people have said it before, and this keeps on being confirmed: Colliers is not just a company; it’s an experience. From the moment you walk in, you are greeted by an amazing workplace, our main attraction. And we don’t mean just the office – the vibe is what ultimately gets you.
Because I had never walked into a modern office before, being at the end of my master's studies, I was pleasantly impressed by the design of the office – which seemed very "homey" – and by the friendly, relaxed and happy people there. This happened at the end of March 2015, when the Colliers team was preparing to go on a trip, so I exclaimed to myself “WOW”! My first interview was with the HR department made up at the time of two very nice ladies who told me about how the hiring process will go. After I took the GMAT test, I was invited to a second interview with the manager of the Valuation and Advisory department. The interview was very casual, and I was firstly introduced to the division’s daily activities and provided services, to the expertise and vast knowledge that could be shared with me. A couple of days later, I returned to the office for a third interview with two of the colleagues with whom I am still working today, one of them being the senior I was going to work with directly. I entered the interview with the desire to make a good impression on the person who was going to decide if I were to be the chosen person for the junior valuer position, quite excited, but the empathy I felt from her made me feel very comfortable and confident throughout the interview. I could honestly say that I went home after the interview with the feeling that we will make a very good team together and here we are today, after more than 6 years, working in a balanced and very successful formula.
6 years may seem like a lot of time. But to go from junior to senior valuer, obtaining the local valuer qualification from ANEVAR, and also being a fundamental part of a solid team (with a destined name, we might add: "AB", as the team member’s name initials: Aura Bobe, Anca Baldea and Ana Bardas – and you’ll be finding out more about her next week) – now that’s quick. There are two main ingredients for doing this, and they’re no secret to anyone: you have to be willing to grow and you need the appropriate environment and people to do so. At Colliers, Aura had both.
My journey at Colliers was and it still is a pool of experiences that shaped me as today's professional consultant, but also as a human being. I started as an apprentice and I always had the support of specialized people for whom experience is truly a virtue and which gave me the freedom to choose how to learn and how to achieve my goals. Today, I am a Senior Associate within the Valuation and Advisory division of Colliers and a certified real estate valuer since 2015. Over these 6 years, even if my focus and that of my team was the valuation of assets within the office segment, which translates today into a market share of over 60% of the modern office stock in Bucharest and happy clients who recommend us for our prompt reaction to their needs and responsiveness, I’ve always had the opportunity and choice to be involved in the valuation of other types of properties that helped me to have today a clearer image of the real estate market. What especially mattered to me in my training journey as a professional is that in Colliers, the learning process is not a standardized one, but rather adapted to everyone's personality. More than that, the fact that I am very lucky to work in a team in which we feel connected, we appreciate each other, and we respect our values and therefore everything flows naturally.
Ambition and perseverance are always rewarded and recognized. But, as they say, with great power comes great responsibility. This should be embraced without any concern. Aura was aware of that the moment she got her well-deserved promotion to Senior Associate in the Valuation & Advisory Services. She was unafraid of what was about to come encouraged by all the support she had from her team in all these years.
I perceived this promotion as a sign of appreciation from the company for my efforts and results, so it didn't come with feelings of fear. However, the challenge remains the same, to adapt to the changes the real estate market is facing and to keep our differentiators in the market. Thinking about it, I could say that I am still part of Colliers team because first of all, I really like what I am doing and the constant positive feedback of our clients is the heading of my daily work. Then, just as important, is the fact that I feel appreciated in the team I work in and complemented by my colleagues in terms of skills, which makes us come to the office with a smile on our face and get the job done at the end of the day. Going the extra mile, what made me stay in Colliers is the vast amount of knowledge stored here and the continuous desire to be better on the real estate market as a company as well as individually. I am the same person I used to be 6 years ago, but with much more knowledge and experience to share and certainly, a more emotionally balanced person.
At the end of the day, we have to admit this: perhaps it might not be only Colliers that makes our young professionals want more, professionally speaking. What exactly does the real estate industry offer that convinces them to keep on walking this path?
I like real estate because I find this market being a very dynamic one, challenging us every day to find the best solutions to the client’s needs. At the same time, I like to work in the real estate business because it makes me feel part of the process of development and improvement of the environment, which affects our daily life and not only professionally speaking. Related to my job, because I have always liked mathematics and financial analysis, I like to turn the characteristics and potential of a real estate asset into figures and as these assets may be extremely different, I like that I face different contexts that require my thinking and reasoning and develop me as a real estate consultant. At this moment, I don't see myself giving up valuations on the real estate market, but you never know what the future holds for you. Nevertheless, today I love what I do and I try to learn and adapt to the changes we face so that I can do what I like at the highest level.
And just how exactly can young people walk the real estate path better, more confident, towards certain success? Here’s what Aura would recommend:
The advice I would give to young people is to take small steps in real estate, to try and experiment with different jobs, to get involved once they have identified what brings them fulfillment on the professional side, to star in the action, to learn constantly and to remain curious about everything.
As part of the jolly "AB team", Aura seems pretty fulfilled. Next week, we’ll hear from another member of this team, Ana. Stay tuned!