Graduate, Development Manager
From landing his ideal job in property development, to working on multiple disciplines in the construction industry and playing a significant part in a successful bid for one of Mace's largest developments – Mahir has achieved a great deal on the Mace Graduate Development Programme in a short space of time.
- What did you do from leaving school to joining Mace?
I studied architecture as a thin sandwich course at university. By combining study and work I got industry experience that I took back to my academic design work.
After graduating I jumped at the opportunity to take my career outside of the UK by accepting an architectural assistant job in Shenzhen, China. It put me in a unique position where I was able to combine my design skills with Chinese commercial property.
Throughout my time working in architecture, I got an insight to the wider property industry with a view from the ‘other side of the table’. After I returned to the UK, I felt my skills and ambitions were to sit on the other side so I pursued a master's in real estate.
I did a lot of networking and was told project management experience was crucial before going into property development. I applied to the Mace Graduate Development Programme and during my interview mentioned my wider ambitions. I was put in touch with David Grover [Mace's COO for Development] and here I am, doing exactly what I’d set out to do, just a lot sooner than I’d thought possible.
- What skills do you need to be good at your job?
Because development work requires an understanding of the property market and local planning policies, and involves speaking to various stakeholders such as designers, investors, financiers and users, you absolutely have to have numeracy and people skills.
Most importantly, you need to be passionate about creating something that meets the specific needs of the end users and contributes positively to the wider built environment. Buildings aren’t just concrete structures, they play a big part in people’s mental and physical health, so when working on any project you have to make sure that what you deliver works for the people who have to live with it.
- What do you hope you will be doing in the next 5-10 years?
- It’s an interesting one – I consider myself to be driven but I wouldn’t want to pigeonhole myself so early on in my career. I feel like I’m just starting out and don’t yet have a specific aim. I want to see where things take me, although I know that I want to remain in this line of work. I want to be able to look at buildings that have had a positive effect on people's lives and know that I contributed in some way.
- What might someone be surprised to know about you?
- I once spent nine days marooned on a desert island in the Philippines with just three other people. There was nothing on the island other than mango groves and insects so we spent our days catching fish for dinner and laying on the beach. Bear Grylls would have been impressed - had it not been for the bottled water I took with me!
“I’m doing exactly what I’d set out to do, just a lot sooner than I’d thought possible.”