A Dubai university now offers a RICS-accredited degree in real estate

Matt Myers, assistant professor, real estate, at Heriot-Watt University Dubai explains the advantages of this RICS-accredited real estate degree, the only one of its kind in the GCC



Much like other industries, a thriving career in the real estate sector also entails enhanced communications skills backed by sound educational qualifications. Speaking to Gulf Business, Matt Myers, assistant professor, real estate, at Heriot-Watt University Dubai, outlines the benefits of pursuing a degree in real estate management and finance

How lucrative is a career in commercial real estate or property in the GCC today?
Real estate as an industry is both global and local, and professionals with a high level of education and experience will always be in demand. Career options include property development, valuation, asset portfolio management and more. Examples of employers are commercial real estate advisory companies, investment fund companies and property developers. A study by the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) and Macdonald and Company found that professionals in the region earn an average monthly salary of Dhs46,148 with an average annual bonus of Dhs83,623. RICS accreditation may increase salaries on an average by 38 per cent. There is also the option to become an entrepreneur or be self-employed.

What are some of the skills required to make a success of a career in this field?
The first is excellent analytical and research skills as professionals work to provide clients with market demographic studies, research and financial analysis. The next is communication; property transactions can be complex, and activities like presentations, marketing and negotiations can be enhanced with excellent communication skills. Finally, professionals in this career back up their skills with solid educational qualifications to further boost opportunity.

How does one break into this line of work?
The best way is by acquiring the right educational qualifications. An example is Heriot-Watt Dubai’s BA/MA degree in real estate management and finance, suitable for students who are keen on pursuing business management and finance with an economics or commerce background, and those interested in gaining a specialist undergraduate qualification. Working professionals should undertake research and understand the market prior to taking the plunge. Additionally, they should think long-term and have a business plan in place.

What are the careers options for someone with a degree in real estate management and finance?
Property professionals with specialised skills and qualifications such as chartered surveyor or chartered valuation surveyor through RICS are much sought after. They play a key role in developing new cities, tackling climate change and solving global issues like urbanisation and more. Commercial real estate professionals are involved throughout the lifecycle of buildings and construction projects. This career path offers the chance to meet new people and discover new places. One can even start their own commercial real estate business. Additionally, studies by Goldstein Research forecast the UAE property market to grow at a CAGR of 7.4 per cent during 2016-2024 to reach a value of $132.5bn by the end of 2024.

What are your top tips for someone looking to kickstart a career in commercial real estate?
The most important element is having the right qualification which improves employability. For example, Heriot-Watt University Dubai campus’ BA/MA degree in real estate management and finance jointly taught with Edinburgh Business School, speaks of employer demand, and is in recognition of the fact that the property sector is now a central part of wider financial markets. Next is staying abreast of what is happening in the market. Another is being tenacious as this trait is a key driver of success. And finally, like any other industry, the real estate industry is being transformed by the use of new technologies such as blockchain, smart contracts and more – the most successful professionals are the ones who embrace them.

For more details, visit https://www.hw.ac.uk/dubai/study/undergraduate/real-estate-management-and-finance.htm