Future leader Q&A: School of Built Environment graduate

Mumbai-based Alexandra Charlotte Philip studied to be a civil engineer, before a call from RICS’ School of Built Environment led to an MBA in real estate, and a job at a top global firm


  • Karen Day

14 December 2020

Photography: Aditya Mendiratta

Alex is 28 and from Mumbai in India. She graduated in March 2020 from the RICS School of Built Environment at Amity University in Noida, New Delhi, with an MBA in Real Estate and Urban Infrastructure. She works as a valuation analyst at EY.

What were your first few months after graduation like, given the global COVID-19 pandemic?

Things have changed in the sense that I’m back home in Mumbai with my parents. I completed my MBA with the notion of getting out and experiencing something different, and now I’m back home. But I have been lucky. I know a lot of people who have been struggling to get a job and I have been working full time. 

Your first degree was in civil engineering. What made you choose an MBA in real estate?

My mum is a corporate lawyer and she was part of a few landmark construction cases. I was very inspired by her. I never did civil engineering in order to be a civil engineer. I saw it as a stepping stone into another role, either law or an MBA. After graduating I worked as an apprentice to an arbitrator then for a local valuation firm. There I started researching uniform valuation standards and RICS kept coming up. At the same time someone from RICS School of Built Environment called me and asked if I was looking for a specialist MBA and I thought: “That’s exactly what I want.” 

What did you enjoy about the MBA? 

The idea behind it is that it is for professional people looking to get into the corporate side of construction and real estate. I found all of this really interesting because of my background as a civil engineer. I also loved being in a different city. I chose the Delhi campus deliberately so I could have a different experience. I was president of the debating society, which was so much fun. And I didn’t expect to make so many friends, although we didn’t get a chance to say goodbye properly because of the pandemic.   

What are your next ambitions? 

I want to get my RICS accreditation and I’m already working towards that. Five years from now, there will be a lot of issues plaguing us when it comes to sustainability and the environment. I want to be the consultant who guides you to the right and good deal. I don’t want to be the consultant who just gives you the best deal. I want to be the consultant who gives you a bunch of solutions to problems that concern you. 

“I want to be the consultant who guides you to the right and good deal. I don’t want to be the consultant who just gives you the best deal”

What is the property industry’s biggest challenge?

Realistically, every single field, whether it’s commercial real estate or residential, will need to change. We are going to need to move on. People need to go back to work so we need to work out how to do that. Travel will have to change and public spaces will need to change to accommodate social distancing. I’m looking forward to being part of that. 

Find out more about RICS’ Schools of the Built Environment in Delhi and Mumbai, the courses on offer, and the opportunities for placements in your company.