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MSc student secures role with leading consultancy

13 March 2017

George Edwards, School of Geography and Planning student has secured a role as Graduate Planner at Savills, one of the UK’s largest planning consultancies.  Here, George tells us more about his new job and shares his advice on applying for graduate roles.

Tell us a bit about yourself: where are you from originally? What did you study at Cardiff and why?

I’m from Swansea, but was born in Texas, U.S.A. After completing my school education in Swansea, I was awarded a Scholarship to study Geography at the University of Wales, Aberystwyth. Upon completing my BSc, I took time to do some thorough research into the career that I wished to pursue looking at everything from teaching to Policing. Nothing, however, jumped out at me until I actually looked into what my degree was relevant to. After discovering Town Planning and researching the different routes into the profession, it was immediately evident that I’d have to go back to University to study a MSc. Cardiff University’s Spatial Planning and Development course jumped out at me immediately due to the School of Geography and Planning’s reputation in the field and the course’s combined RTPI and RICS accreditation. I also wanted to stay in Wales so that I could continue my work as an Army Reservist.

What does a graduate planner role involve, what prompted you to apply for this position?

The Graduate Planner role at Savills is designed to do two things. Firstly, it is geared toward developing each graduate to ensure that they earn their Chartered status with the RTPI (Savills’ most recent graduate cohort experienced a 100% pass rate at their APC). Secondly, it is about giving graduates responsibility from day one. The range of projects that me, as a graduate, will be expected to work on is vast. The focus underpinning this role, however, is to ensure that plans become a reality.

I applied for this role for two reasons. Firstly, it suited my career aspirations; becoming a Graduate Planner is a natural progression for someone studying an MSc in Planning. Becoming a Chartered member of the RTPI should be every Planner’s goal and it was evident that Savills was the best place to achieve that. Secondly, it was due to the prestige of the company itself. Savills was rated as The Times top employer within the property industry last year and it only made sense to aim as high as I possibly could.

What are you most looking forward to in the new role?

I am mostly looking forward to putting the knowledge and theory gained on my MSc into practice. Starting this MSc offered a steep learning curve; however, it has afforded me a comprehensive knowledge base which I am looking forward to putting to good use, influencing plan making and decisions over spatial development.

What advice might you offer to others thinking of applying?

I would say that the two most important things are time and confidence. A large and successful company like Savills will receive over 1,000 applications for a limited number of roles. I decided to take the time to doctor my application to that specific role and company, rather than submit a series of generic applications to a number of different employers. When attending subsequent interviews and assessment centres, an employer wants to see that you have the confidence and conviction to back yourself. I think that is key in a job which revolves around influencing decisions and providing advice to clients.

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