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 Vlad, our 29-year-old Senior Associate in the Valuation and Advisory department and co-organizer of the 2019 Colliers Hackathon. Vlad joined the team in 2014 during his master's studies in Business Administration at the Bucharest Academy of Economic Studies.
Vlad is an acclaimed food enthusiast in the Colliers office, an instigator of the 4 p.m. laughter session of the valuation team in the good old times when everyone was still working from the office and possibly one of the few young professionals who knew a little about Colliers before even coming to the interview:
I knew that Colliers was among the top global real estate service providers, but I honestly did not know that they also have an office based in Bucharest until I saw a job application for an internship within the Valuation and Advisory Division. It was the year of 2014 and while I was doing my master’s degree, I also started to search for good opportunities to start my professional career. Being passionate about numbers, economics, and statistics I really felt that this internship was perfect for me.
Vlad’s intuition was right: the internship proved to be just perfect. A first contact with the Colliers office and team left him with a pleasant feeling about what was about to come and made him confident that this was the place to be. No doubt, the chemistry was there.
Being the first office I was about to enter, I had mixed feelings and a lot of scenarios were continuously playing in my mind. Fortunately, all my preconceptions on corporate life were quickly replaced by the image of very relaxed people walking around the office talking, laughing and some even playing table tennis. I instantly felt that this is the place for me, so I was about to start my interview very determined to make a good impression. The first interview was a presentation of the Valuation and Advisory division and the day-to-day activities which we would have had once we got the internship. The presentation was held by two of my future-to-be colleagues with whom I am still working. At the end of the presentation we received a test which was basically a replication of daily activities we would have had once we got the internship. The interview was very casual, and I really liked the not-so-corporate style of presentation. Once I got home, I started solving the test I received which took me several hours and submitted it as soon as possible. I really liked this approach because it gave me the chance to see exactly what I was supposed to do during the internship and ignited the spirit of competition within me. Couple of days later, I was invited to a second interview to discuss the approach I used to complete the assignment, which also proceeded as a casual conversation. After a couple more days I was announced that I was selected for the 3-months internship program. Fast-forward 3 months and I was in an interview with the CEO to discuss the opportunity to continue as an Assistant within the Valuation and Advisory Division. As you probably expect by now, this interview was also a very casual conversation focused on me as a person and not as an employee within the organization, thus strengthening my sense of belonging.
Vlad went from intern to Senior Associate in a very short period. He also obtained his local valuer qualification (ANEVAR) in 2016, shortly after he graduated from his master’s program. He then concluded valuations of all types of commercial real estate assets being involved in the valuation of large real estate portfolios. He regularly undertakes valuations on behalf of several well-known financial institutions on the Romanian market. In addition to his valuation work, Vlad has extensive knowledge regarding banking, macroeconomics, and financial markets. For 7 years, that sounds like a lot of work; for Vlad, it’s been a piece of cake.
This month I celebrated my 7th anniversary with Colliers. The last seven years were indeed a journey full of memorable experiences both professionally and personally and I am grateful for meeting such amazing people and having the opportunity to work along them every day. These experiences helped me mature both professionally and personally. As I have mentioned earlier, my journey in Colliers started with a 3-months internship and I am now a Senior Associate within the Valuation and Advisory Division. Along the way I constantly aimed to gain new knowledge and be involved in as many different projects as possible to better understand the bigger picture of real estate consultancy. Since 2016, I am also a local real estate certified valuer. Over the last seven years, although my main focus has been the valuation of large residential mortgage portfolios owned by financial institutions, I also had the opportunity to conclude valuations of all types of commercial real estate assets as well as being involved in various consultancy projects. I did not have a clear goal in mind from the very beginning and I just went with the flow because everything came naturally, and I shaped my career path from project to project. I am very happy and grateful about the outcome and I also have a very good feeling about the years ahead. I really think that a promotion is something you earn so I do not think fears should be involved but rather more responsibility for both day-to-day activity and sharing your knowledge with others in order to help them achieve their objectives. Regarding the challenges (which most of the time appear in every project), I personally prefer to embrace them as learning opportunities.
Like many of our young colleagues, Colliers is the first job experience for Vlad. He is one of those who chose to stay with us for such a long time. What is even more delightful is that his reasons for doing so do not differ that much from what our other young professionals have already described.
I still am part of the Colliers team because I feel that I belong here, and I enjoy what I do. I think that the most important thing which makes me feel this way is the spirit created by the people I work with every day. Given that my job at Colliers was also my first job I can definitely say that I learned a lot over the last seven years and I have matured both personally and professionally but I think that the three main things are: share your knowledge with others, spice a business day with some humor and constantly aim to improve your skills. I really think that the Colliers’ journey helped me mature both personally and professionally and that I am now a more complete person compared to my 22-years-old version. However, I do not see this as a changing process but more of a constant improvement regarding the core values.
The work that Vlad has put into his projects is not just value-add for Colliers, but for the local real estate market as well. There is a passion for both this industry and for self-improvement that Vlad has demonstrated over the years. His involvement in the 2019 Colliers Hackathon and internal processes automation projects stands proof in this sense.
I really enjoy real estate as a whole, so the decision to stay within the business is an easy one for me. Regarding my job, I really enjoy tailoring the best solutions to clients’ needs. I like the fact that every project is unique and therefore a challenge for me to exceed clients’ expectations regarding both the specific needs but also the Colliers brand. I do picture myself as a Colliers brand ambassador every time when interacting with a client. For now, I do not see myself giving up the real estate industry, but I am constantly trying to update existing skills and acquire new ones in order to remain relevant in this rapidly changing environment we live in. When I acquire skills which are not 100% related to the real estate industry (e.g. robotic process automation), I always try to incorporate them into my day-to-day business in order to bring a fresh and out-of-the-box alternative to conventional solutions, thus continuously innovating and improving processes.
Each of us has a certain recipe they can think of when asked what made us successful. Vlad, he has some ingredients of his own:
Giving advice to young people does not make me feel so young anymore. However, as a general advice and a best practice I always try to follow, I would say that you have to first find something you enjoy doing and then embrace all the challenges as learning opportunities while constantly trying to update existing skills and acquire new ones in order to remain relevant in this rapidly changing environment we live in.
Vlad may be the jokester of our office, but his approach to professional development is quite serious and we’re curious what is the path he’ll follow long-term. Short-term, we’ll meet Silvia and listen to her own Colliers story.