In an exciting new series of our Alumni Network Podcast we chat to EHL graduates who embarked on a bachelor’s adventure at EHL and then pursued master’s degrees across the globe.
Here’s a taster of the third episode with Estelle Murer, who graduated from EHL in 2016 before undertaking a Master’s in Real Estate Finance and Investment at the University of the West of England (UWE) in Bristol, United Kingdom. Since then, she's built a career in real estate investment and asset management. She currently works for Oxford Properties in London, but is on secondment to the company's asset management team in Paris.
A numbers person who likes a challenge
Estelle Murer is no stranger to a challenge. When we speak, she’s just back from climbing Mount Kilimanjaro, an experience she describes as “very intense”. And when she started at EHL she had an equally substantial challenge in mind: to become general manager of a new global hotel chain designed by her architect sister. “Basically, we wanted to build the next Atlantis like you have in the Bahamas and Dubai."
But as she says, sometimes things turn out a little differently. It was during her bachelor’s at EHL that she first became interested in real estate investment instead. An internship with global real estate advisory firm CBRE in London confirmed to her that this was the career she wanted to pursue.
Why did you feel the need to do a master’s?
“When I did my internship, half the people in my team were from a hotel/hospitality management background and the other half were from real estate. I knew that if I wanted to go into hotel real estate it wouldn't be a problem, but that if I one day wanted to work in more general commercial real estate, maybe it'd be a bit of an issue just getting that legitimacy of working in a sector that I didn't study for. When I graduated from EHL, the Brexit vote just got approved. There was a lot of uncertainty in the market and people were not recruiting in hotel real estate at the time. I thought, I know I want to work in real estate, so why not just open up other opportunities?”
What were the challenges of your master’s and did you feel well prepared?
“I think the biggest challenge for me was the style of teaching. It was very different from EHL in the sense that it was a lot of assessment, writing essays and doing a lot of reading on your own time. Over the one-year program, I only had one group work, which is so different from EHL. But at least I completely aced it because I had so much experience working with different types of people that it really helped!”
How has your master’s aided your career progression?
“When I graduated from my master’s, I went straight back to CBRE. I stayed for three years at CBRE in London, really enjoyed it and learned a lot. Then I got to the point where I was thinking, okay, now is the time, either you stick to hotel real estate or you take a step to the side and learn about other sectors, and then build a career in wider commercial real estate. That's what I did. I think the master’s really helped me get the confidence that I knew enough to pursue a career in wider commercial real estate.”
Do you have any tips for EHL graduates who might be considering a master’s?
“In my opinion, you shouldn't do a master’s just for the sake of doing a master’s. I'd say if someone is curious about the topic and they really want to know more about it, or they can see how it's going to help develop their career and open up exciting opportunities, go for it. Really focus on the ranking of the university, its reputation, but then also the modules that you're going to have to study, because it needs to be interesting. You want it to really bring something to your knowledge.”
What's your biggest wish for your career now?
“What really matters to me is to always keep on learning. I'd say my only wish is that I always learn and discover new things, new concepts, meet new people. I think as long as you do that, you're doing pretty well.”
And do you still have that ‘Atlantis’ project with your sister in your head for one day?
“No. Funnily enough, she left the architectural field and she joined CBRE two months after I left, so she's in real estate as well now. Who knows? Maybe we’ll do something else together!”
Listen to the full interview with Estelle Murer