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The built environment

"I studied BSc Geography with Economics at London School of Economics, and then to further
enhance my skills studied a Master’s in Project and Enterprise at University College London."

Anup Patel
Programme Manager for Europe, Middle East,
Africa and Russia, CBRE

My specific area of interest in geography has always been urban economics, how cities develop/ decline and the role economics theory plays in this. Prior to my current job I worked for Mace,
an international construction and consultancy company working on the London Olympic Games
and primary school expansion projects.

What does your role entail?

CBRE are a global real estate services adviser and I work for a global technology client who
occupies office space around the world. As their business changes, their office needs change.
Once they know they need to vacate, expand or acquire a new office, we get involved to manage
the process for them. A typical day for me involves travelling the world from my base in London. I have regular calls with project teams in Rome, Madrid, Dubai, Paris, and Riyadh to name a few. My role is to make sure our local teams are following the client’s process, provide guidance for when there are issues they cannot resolve, report to the client on progress, risks and costs, and finally and most importantly enable the client to make quick informed decisions on a global portfolio of projects.

How does geography help you in your everyday work?

Working across countries, with people from all over the world presents many challenges, ranging
from scheduling meetings in different time zones and being mindful of national/religious holidays,
to more complex legal and tax issues, and having an understanding of the world certainly helps. It has allowed me to be empathetic to the different cultures I’m working with and allows me to be
strategic when looking at the global needs of clients and how we compliment them.

Advice to someone thinking of taking geography further

There are many geographers in the built environment industry (construction and real estate) and many have jobs similar to mine in project management or surveying. Many firms take geographers on and train them in-house, or even pay for you to complete a further Master’s
degree. We can analyse information and provide reasoned conclusions and solutions when required, and can work in all parts of a team effectively. Being a good project manager is a rarity and geographers are some of the best.

Other geographers working in this sector include:

  • Assistant Planner, Turley
  • Chartered Surveyor, Ministry of Defence
  • Commercial Assistant, Royal British Legion
  • Events Executive, Historic Royal Palaces
  • Graduate Land Surveyor, Kemp Chartered Land and Engineering Surveyors
  • Property Manager, Foxtons
  • Regeneration Research Assistant, Aspire Housing Group
    Senior Transport Consultant, Mouchel
  • Sustainability Analyst, European Bank for Reconstruction and Development


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