I have been able apply my problem solving skills, negotiation and property development management in my daily tasks

Mwansa Mwape profile
Mwansa Mwape
Phd Student at University of Florida - Fulbright Scholar
MA Real Estate
MA Real Estate alumna Mwansa Mwape discusses her time studying at Sheffield, and her career since graduating.

What is your role and what does it typically look like on a daily basis?

I am currently a PhD student at the University of Florida, Department of Urban Planning under the Fulbright Scholarship Program.

Prior to joining this role, I was the Lead Project Manager for Zambia’s highest ranking private university. In my role, I spearheaded the construction of a large scale development for the university. The project was comprised of student accommodation facilities, sporting facilities, lecture theatres, auditoriums and a teaching hospital. My typical daily activities involved coordinating with planning agencies for building permits, managing contracts with construction companies, managing the procurement of construction materials with various suppliers, planning of project deliverables with various teams that consisted of architects and engineers and tracking of project expenditure. I was also responsible for preparing financial progress reports. 

What aspect of your current job do you enjoy the most?

As a project lead manager, the most exciting part was when I interacted with a diverse range of stakeholders and also being able to contribute to the education sector in my home country in an impactful manner. By leading such a dynamic project, I was able to plan and coordinate different facilities that improve the quality of higher education in Zambia. This for me, has been an immeasurable experience. To be part of a project that has transformed the education sector and created impact in the country has been an exciting journey and although I was faced with numerous challenges, I was able to overcome them and forge ahead having learnt from the challenges. 

What skills did you learn during your degree that you use in your career?

I learnt a broad range of skills during my studies at University of Sheffield and those that I have found to be useful are analytical and financial skills in property development. Throughout my career, I have been able apply my problem solving skills, negotiation and property development management in my daily tasks and found them extremely helpful in navigating a highly dynamic and fast paced industry. Construction projects involve working with a diverse range of contractors and different stakeholders which sometimes result in conflicts and I have found that a good knowledge of ethics in the construction industry has been useful in conflict resolution and building lasting professional networks. Having an in depth knowledge of real estate markets has also been useful for me in decision making when dealing with different stakeholders. 

Why did you choose to study planning at Sheffield?

When I was looking for planning schools for my graduate degree, I was keen on attending only top planning schools in the United Kingdom after being awarded a Commonwealth Scholarship. I chose University of Sheffield because it is a prestigious and top ranking planning school and the Masters is a well-structured program taught by world renowned faculty members in the field. It is also a RICS accredited program and that for me was an added bonus. I was also drawn to the program because the structure included practical learning experiences. One of them included a field trip to London where students engage with industry experts and gain insights into the operations of the London Real Estate Market, which is one of the most active markets in the world.

What advice would you offer to prospective students thinking of studying Real Estate at the University of Sheffield?

Pursuing my Masters Degree at the University of Sheffield provided me an invaluable opportunity to study at a reputable and top ranked university. I was privileged to be taught by faculty members that are distinguished and accomplished experts in the real estate industry. What I particularly enjoyed about the program was that the courses were delivered in rigorous and industry relevant manner which gave me an enriching experience. The university also offers a broad range of opportunities for students to gain relevant hands-on experience and during my program, I was awarded a 100 hour placement in the Department of Estates and Facilities Management. 

I found the School of Geography and Planning to be an inclusive environment and the staff were always available to offer support and guidance when needed. This made my academic journey more fulfilling. 

I am proud to have studied at the University of Sheffield and it is a badge of honour I always carry with me. My graduate degree provided me the valuable skills and knowledge to excel in my career goals. It definitely gave me a global qualification that was pivotal in being awarded the prestigious Fulbright Scholarship to pursue my PhD studies.

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