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A profile of Mateusz Skubiszewski, the Director of Capital Markets for Central and Eastern Europe

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We talked to Mateusz Skubiszewski, the Director of Capital Markets for Central and Eastern Europe, about his career, the challenges of working in the region and the most memorable advice he’s ever received.

Can you tell us a bit about your role?

I have been the Director of Capital Markets for Central and Eastern Europe at BNP Paribas Real Estate for a bit over four years now. In capital markets what we do is take care of the transactions, so that means the buying and selling of properties. We make the financing arrangements for the transactions and we also provide financial restructuring advisory services related to real estate.

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

Since the very beginning of my career, I’ve been in real estate. At some point, I moved a little bit towards financing, but it was always still closely related to real estate because I did a lot of real estate financing and structuring. And now, for the last four years, I’ve been fully dedicated to real estate. My current position is the perfect combination of real estate expertise and financial know-how.

Can you tell us about your career path?

I first started out as an Asset Account Manager in Munich, and after 1 ½ years I moved back to Warsaw to continue working in the same company. In that case I was doing commercial retailing real estate, and I followed the expansion of big German chains, like Metro,OBI, Kaufland in Poland. Then I changed companies and did a bit of structuring finance in real estate, but also related to other things like aircraft and infrastructure. After, I was offered a board position in the same region at a large Dutch group, which I accepted and spent more than seven years doing. Then I got a proposal from BNP Paribas Real Estate for the region of Central and Eastern Europe in capital markets. The region was very attractive to me because it was the area that I was already very close to, and I also wanted to do more international business in that market.

What is the most challenging thing about your job?

The most challenging thing is basically working in a region that, from the perception of Western European countries, is one region. But the reality is that the local market in each country of the region is very different. You really have to know the local markets to be able to do business in each one. So the hardest thing for me is to be able to translate the local knowledge that I have into the global perception of the region. That is something that comes with experience, when you know how the investors think and work, when you know the cities and the people who live in them. Only then can you align all of this knowledge and put it all together to try to present it as a whole. You need to have experience with transactions in all the different countries that make up the region, which luckily I’ve gotten throughout my past work experience from the very beginning of my career. The region is also very specific because, for example in Poland, which is the largest country, 90% of real estate investors are foreign investors. This means that in your job you have to speak to Germans, Americans, Brits, Middle Easterners, Asians etc. It’s a very diversified environment over here, and it’s a totally different story to Germany or France, where over 60% of the market is dominated by local players. Here, you need to have an open mind and to know how to deal with different cultures. You could say that even though the figures and the way that they’re calculated are the same, how they’re presented and negotiated is completely different.

What it the most rewarding?

Basically I would say that the most rewarding thing is to be able to close and finalise a project, despite all the discrepancies and differences that you have to manage. Projects over here take a long time, event a year or longer. On average, it takes 9-12 months to close a deal.

Mateusz Skubiszewski

Hard work. Respect. Patience. Those are the key values that have helped me get to where I am today.

Mateusz Skubiszewski
Director of Capital Markets for Central and Eastern Europe
Poland

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

You have to be very open, both in the way that you see business opportunities and in the way that you act towards the different people that you’re dealing with. So flexibility is very important. Then you have to be aware and accepting of cultural differences. You also have to be very structured in the way that you deal with your tasks, due to the duration and complexity of handling long projects. Transactions here are backed with financing, structuring, modelling etc., so the deals that we have here are not exactly straightforward deals. They’re usually much more complex than what you can have in the same business in Western Europe, for example. You also have to be patient and good with numbers. And course, it’s helpful if you speak different languages.

What are you most proud of achieving in your career?

There are a few different things. I would say I was very proud when I structured and financed a transaction for aircraft for a Polish airline. It was a very complicated transaction and was definitely a pioneer in structuring. The other thing is when we took over a very large office investment from a German developer and I had to close the whole development in order to finalise this deal. It was a very prestigious project that was worth over half a billion euros, and I was very proud when I succeeded. I’m also proud of the way that I work with people. I’m happy when, as a manager, I can be helpful by promoting and developing people and sharing their knowledge. It gives me a lot of satisfaction to be able to bring younger people to the stage and then watch them grow and act independently.

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

Hard work. Respect. Patience. Those are the key values that have helped me get to where I am today.

What advice would you give to someone looking to start a career similar to yours?

Never stop developing yourself, and always find a personal challenge. It doesn’t even have to be 100% connected to your job, but if it is work-related then that’s even better. And you always have to find a balance between work and personal life, because otherwise it just won’t work in the long run. I try very hard to maintain this balance every day.

What does success mean to you?

Success for me is managing to reach the goals that you set for yourself. But it’s also very important to me that you reach your goals in a way that respects other people and is done in cooperation with them. It’s a responsible way of realising what you set out to do.

What memorable piece of advice have you been given in your career?

A memorable, and funny, piece of advice that a German friend once told me is “You can always buy yourself a Porsche before your 40’s, but you should never do it.” I think the idea is that knowing that you have the possibility to buy one is much more satisfying than actually buying one. So, of course, I didn’t do it!

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