At the end of 2019 I was nominated by my department to the Women in Property National Student Award Programme 2020. One third year student from a built environment course is nominated by their respective university annually based on their performance and talent. Each regional winner goes on to compete for the national award which is ultimately awarded to one student. The process mainly includes an interview with a panel of judges from different areas in the industry where you present a piece of recent coursework you have worked with at university as well as interview questions.
For me, it was a development appraisal as part of my applied valuation module. Afterwards, you receive feedback on your presentation, interview performance and CV. Overall, the award explores your course work, challenges your industry knowledge as well as provides an excellent opportunity to develop and hone your interpersonal skills.
Even though I did not go on to win, simply being nominated was an incredible honour to me and opened many doors. For example, it connected me to several professionals in the industry who later on not only assisted me in terms of mentoring but also offered work experience. Normally, many who do participate in the award go on to secure work placements as a result of it. As I am in the process of applying to graduate schemes I have noticed that the WIP nomination makes me positively stand out as an applicant and many recruiters find it beneficial and interesting.
Although the process was a bit different due to the ongoing pandemic, it was still an incredible experience. The WIP organisation and award highlights the need for more equality in a highly male-dominated industry, especially for commercial real estate. It is therefore more important than ever to give women a platform to stand out and that is exactly what WIP is doing by encouraging an inclusive culture with gender equality as its priority. WIP highlights the need to link industry with university early on to improve students’ knowledge about the career options ahead of them. Although addressing equality in the industry at large goes far beyond this, it is still a great initiative and opportunity for students to get a great start in a highly competitive industry.