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Employees interview: Ilaria Brunelli, Consultant, Milan

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Ilaria Brunelli has worked at BNP Paribas Real Estate for a year and tells us why, having studied architecture, this sector appealed to her

  • What does your role involve?

I’m a consultant in the Letting and Sales team based in Milan. This involves offering real estate services to companies, tenants and landlords, encompassing landlord representation, location analysis, working on marketing strategies and financial reporting. Landlord representation means when we get a mandate from a landlord, we manage the building and find tenants. Tenant representation is finding or being recommended clients by the bank, who are looking for property in Milan, so either Italian or international clients, and helping them identify new offices that suit their needs.

  • Why did you choose a career working within the real estate sector?

When I started working in the sector, I didn’t know a lot about the real estate market. Having studied architecture, working in the real estate sector seemed a good way to leverage what I learnt during my degree, and combine this with commercial skills.

  • Why did you choose to work for BNP Paribas Real Estate?

Being part of an international organisation gives me the opportunity to be involved in the most interesting and innovative projects. It also opens my horizons, as I can be in touch with teams in other countries and have the opportunity to continually improve on my skills, by learning how they go about doing the job.

  • What is the best thing about your job?

This job is never boring, every day is a different day as I’m always required to carry out a variety of tasks, including site visits and going out to meet clients. This means I’m not just at the office all day, something which really appeals to me.

What’s also great is the chance to work with different clients and every project here is a new adventure, as they contribute to changing the face of my city. This is really interesting for me as I get a vision of the future for Milan.

In Milan, there are a lot of international investors who are looking to invest in Milan. If we look at central Milan, we see in a number of historical areas key international companies who have offices here, giving new life to areas in the city. This means it’s a very good time to work in the sector, with plenty of opportunities.

  • What is the most challenging thing about your job?

Managing and retaining the huge amounts of information which we are privy to. By that I mean knowing about your clients and what’s happening in the sector in terms of which buildings are available. So, it’s about harnessing this information in a way that helps your clients and adds value to the project.

  • What skills do you think someone needs to work in your department?

The ability to working hard, be curious and passionate about what you’re doing. Also being honest with colleagues, competitors and clients, because ultimately your reputation will always proceed you. The real estate industry is very small so your name will become your business card.

  • How do you think you’ve got to where you are today?   

With passion for my job, and being positive in every situation and not giving up. When things don’t seem to be going so well, I don’t give up and look where I want to head, through tackling problems and finding solutions.

  • What advice would you give to someone looking to get into a career similar to yours?

Be prepared to collaborate with competitors as like I said, the real estate sector is small and you don’t know when an opportunity might come up where you will need to work closely with them.

For me real estate is a man’s world, so for women looking to get into the sector it’s really important to assert yourself when necessary.

  • What have you been most proud of achieving it your career?

I handle a difficult asset as it’s in an area of Milan that’s not very well known and away from the business district. This means it’s much more difficult to manage the building and to find clients. Despite this, I was still able to close a big deal in this building of almost 2000 m2. That represents for me, something to be proud of. It’s been six months that I’ve been working on this, so I’m really happy.

  • What does success mean to you in your career?

I think it’s important what people think of you, if you don’t have respect then you can get to a high position but not have the support of your colleagues. Of course what it also essential is happiness in your job. If you can love your job, find success and have the respect of your colleagues, for me, you have made it.

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