Can you tell us a bit about your role?
Whilst I’ve been working for BNP Paribas Real Estate for three years at the Paris headquarters, I have actually just started a new role within the BNP Paribas Real Estate UK marketing team in London, where I look after all of our Business Lines on the commercial real estate side. At the moment, our focus is to strengthen the BNP Paribas Real Estate brand and positioning within the competitive UK market, and my role fully supports this objective
Why did you chose a career in the real estate sector and specifically working for BNP Paribas Real Estate?
The real estate sector is part of our day to day lives; from the office we work in, to the flat we live in, the way we commute, shop, eat, or meet people, real estate is intrinsically linked to our routines. It is an ever changing sector, which is undoubtedly transformed by technology, and the way we carry out our lives. The idea of this impact on our world is something which really drew me to working within the sector.
BNP Paribas Real Estate appealed to me specifically as a group because of their reputation. Working within such a large company with such a wide range of entities was something which attracted me to the group as I considered the benefits that this could bring me professionally, such as career progression and social benefits.
Can you tell us about your career path?
I originally studied economics and then went on to do an MBA specialising in marketing. This was when I discovered the pull of marketing over me and I chose to start a career in this field. This was eight years ago and I have occupied marketing positions in the wine and telecommunications sectors before joining the real estate industry
What is the most challenging thing about your job?
The positioning of BNP Paribas Real Estate UK is very different from what I was used to whilst working in the headquarters of the company in Paris. In France the company is very well known, whilst in the UK BNP Paribas Real Estate is within the top five real estate companies, it is less known amongst the general population. This means the way in which marketing is carried out needs to be thought of in a very different way.
Day-to-day, the challenges that I face are integrating the different kinds of tasks that I have to carry out. A large part of my job involves creating strategic marketing plans and advising senior management on where to position ourselves. It is therefore important to always have this overarching strategic mind-set when going about routine tasks, but it can be a challenge to remember this when you get stuck into daily, smaller scale tasks.
What is the most rewarding part of your job?
I never stop learning. When you work in marketing, things are always changing and evolving in line with customers and current culture. You are consequently forced to look for new ways of doing things in order to stay ahead of the competition and that is something I really relish, despite the fact it is very demanding.
What has been the most important thing you’ve learnt whilst working at BNP Paribas Real Estate?
I’ve learnt that it’s really important to understand the people that you work with. Whether that be external clients, suppliers or internal colleagues, it is vital to take the time to listen and understand their ideas and objectives. This has been even more important when moving to the UK, as understanding a new culture and way of working has been crucial to being able to carry out my job effectively and establish solid working relationships with new colleagues.
You’ve recently moved from BNP Paribas Real Estate headquarters in Paris to London, how did this opportunity come about?
This was initiated by my line manager and the Global Head of Business Marketing and Communications. BNP Paribas Real Estate recently acquired the UK firm Strutt and Parker and as such a number of new jobs were created, one of these being my new position.
As I knew that the London office was undergoing the merger with Strutt and Parker, I believed that I could really have an impact on the renewal of the BNP Paribas Real Estate Brand in the UK and that is something which really appealed to me.
This opportunity really came at the perfect time for me as I was ready to take the next step in my career by taking on a more senior role. The job I had been doing in Paris had provided me with a great deal of experience and expanded my skillset, I therefore felt qualified to take on the role and new challenges within the UK office.
Whilst the idea of changing roles, teams and countries was a somewhat scary thought, this was actually a factor in motivating me to take on this new experience. For me, an element of fear orrisk is important within our professional lives, it certainly motivates me to do the best job I possibly can.
Why did you decide to accept this new opportunity?
The job was a promotion within BNP Paribas Real Estate and having been working in marketing for a number of years now, this was the type of job I have always seen myself in. The offer of the job felt like a natural progression for me within my career
Both my line manager and the Global Head of Business Marketing and Communications really encouraged me to go for this job, and their confidence in my abilities really emboldened me to go for it.
What has it been like moving from Paris to London? What new professional experiences have you encountered?
There have been cultural differences that I’ve experienced, notably in the different ways in which British and French people communicate, which have meant I have in some ways had to adapt my professional approach. Going back to my earlier point about listening to people, this has been incredibly useful for me. In this job, I have been able to bring over some ways of working from the Paris office and also benefited from learning and understanding the working of a new country, culture and people.
What kind of support have you received from BNP Paribas Real Estate in regards to your move?
I had a great deal of support from BNP Paribas Real Estate when moving between Paris and London. Firstly from the encouragement I received from senior management and the support in my ability to carry out this job. Secondly, on a practical level, they provided me with an agency which helped me move my belongings from Paris to London and put me in touch with a tax expert. This kind of support really made it much easier to make the transition and to settle in with my new team and job.
What are your professional aims within your job at BNP Paribas Real Estate?
My aim is to support and develop the Commercial property business of BNPPRE in the UK market, by building a strong position, improving our customers’ experience when interacting with our brand and increasing our visibility.
I would really like to help make BNP Paribas Real Estate UK a key player in the industry and help ensure that the UK remains a key country within the group.
On a more personal note, this experience forces me to step out of my comfort zone. The way of doing business in the UK is slightly different and as such so are our customers’ needs and expectations. This is a great opportunity to challenge my marketing skills and knowledge, to learn, change, evolve, grow and be more capable of navigating ‘uncharted territory’. The end goal is really to make my comfort zone bigger!
What advice would you give to someone looking to start a career similar to yours?
If you do what you enjoy and believe in your projects this will ultimately lead to new opportunities for you. Yes, you will face obstacles but these will only help you grow professionally, so don’t be afraid of them.
If you were to interview someone to be in your team, what kind of skills would you look for in them?
The ability to adapt and listen and to be someone who is innately curious and creative.
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