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"It gave me a really valuable snapshot of real-life work in a medium-sized company."

By the time Brent Tebbutt completes his double degree in late 2016, he will already have many months of valuable, hands-on industry skills to add to his resume.

With a passion for the property industry, Brent has his sights set on a career in commercial valuations and development and is currently undertaking an eight-month work placement with the Knight-Frank Student Program.

‘It’s a program for current students who are studying for a degree in property and offers a rotational role covering CBD leasing, commercial/industrial agency, property management and valuations. I’m be working three days per week and spending nine weeks on each rotation,’ he explains.

The program will build on Brent’s other industry experience where, in mid-2015, he travelled to Malaysia with a team of Deakin students to take part in a short-term business internship with a high-end, climbing and outdoor recreation company.

Among a range of tasks, the students were required to tackle an authentic business problem which gave them the opportunity to re-design and deliver enhanced HR processes, resources and training, and make recommendations for website improvements.

‘At the end we also had to make two formal reports, including a presentation, to the company staff and Deakin academics … it was a lot of work but an absolutely amazing experience. It gave me a really valuable snapshot of real-life work in a medium-sized company, how to navigate group dynamics, and the importance of establishing a strong social grounding.’

Brent adds that one of the most important ‘take-away’ aspects from the experience was the development of his presentation skills.

‘This experience really allowed me to build upon by communication skills. As a result, my report writing skills and public speaking are more polished and professional … there was a big improvement across all these areas. The internship also looks impressive on my resume and serves as a great talking point for interviews as it helps me stand out from the crowd.’

Brent says he’s always held a keen interest in business with property and building construction a long-standing hobby.

‘This course really complements my interest in business. I’ve most enjoyed the property side of the course as it’s a smaller and more cohesive cohort of students and academics where everyone is known by name.  I’ve also had the opportunity to start a student society with a group of like-minded students has also been a highlight – I don’t think many other institutions would offer this.’

In 2014, Brent initiated the Deakin Property and Real Estate Student Society and helped incorporate it into a not-for-profit organisation with links to the Deakin University Student Association.

‘We hold handful of events each year, such as the annual networking event at the Deakin City Centre, which had record numbers in 2015. The society aims to network students and also bridge the gap between students and industry. To do this we hold formal and informal networking and social events for our student members.’

Brent says that valuing commercial property is important for any business that holds land, owns, or constructs buildings because it reveals the true market value which helps define the company’s expected return-on-investment.

‘It’s an important field as the built environment is constantly changing and expanding, and the continued expansion relies on returns that can be realised through proper valuation,’ he explains.

He also has no hesitation in recommending his studies to others who are looking for a career in property and real estate.

‘There are so many opportunities that come with this course – you just have to stand up and take them. Deakin has not only provided me with great knowledge, but also life-long friends and networks.’