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People Series – Real Assets Advisory’s Khizar Azam talks about his graduate journey so far

What is your role at Deloitte?

I am a graduate training in the Deloitte Real Assets Advisory (RAA) team, which provides a variety of core real estate services to drive value creation for clients. I am currently on a structured programme within RAA’s Development & Assurance team and have rotated through the Compulsory Purchase, Valuation and Development groups. I have experienced a variety of projects and worked with colleagues with different specialisms. Alongside work, I am studying towards an MSc in Real Estate and will be qualifying as a Chartered Surveyor (MRICS) through the APC structured training programme.

What has your career path been?

I studied Mechanical Engineering at university and worked part time for a housing association focusing on allocating affordable housing for the elderly and vulnerable. What really sparked my interest in Real Estate was growing up in Stratford, East London. I saw how the 2012 London Olympic Games transformed the physical landscape of the area and eventually transformed the area entirely by creating more opportunities for the local community and increasing safety and connectivity, both within Stratford and to other parts of London and the UK.

This sparked my interest in pursuing a career in Real Estate as I witnessed first-hand how Real Estate projects can not only transform landscapes but also transform lives. This led me to a summer internship (the Summer Vacation Scheme, SVS) at Deloitte, where I discovered that the team I now sit within advised extensively on the transformation of the local area I grew up in! I liked the idea of being a part of something so impactful and being able to see and measure the difference that my industry makes.

What is the best part of your job?

The graduate training programme is hands on from the beginning. You work on a diverse range of projects and are given responsibility within the team, which is great as it gives you the chance to learn and develop. Everyone in the team is helpful and colleagues are readily available to answer questions and show you the ropes. The team prioritise your professional development and learning, which is something I really value.

As a graduate you are assigned a buddy (mentor for the silly questions at a similar level), a coach (at a senior grade to regularly support you and aid your career development) and a people leader (a more structured role and your champion for end of year reviews). All of these colleagues have been through the same process and understand your experience and know how to nurture your talent.

What skills have you gained in Real Assets Advisory?

During the past 18 months I have developed soft skills as well as technical skills. Whether that be something as simple as learning how to write professional emails or learning how to build financial models, Deloitte have offered the support and training to help ensure I develop a wide range of skills. I have had the chance to develop my public speaking skill through presenting my work to senior members of the team, as well as developing technical skills including financial modelling using Excel and programmes such as Argus Enterprise and Argus Developer for property and land valuations.

What advice do you have for others who are keen to join or for current graduates?

It’s definitely worth applying for the SVS if you think you might be interested in a Real Estate career. I learnt so much and had the opportunity to network and understand more about the varied areas of Real Estate.

Always ask questions! The best way to learn is to ask questions so if you’re unsure of something it’s always best to raise your hand and ask.