Five minutes with Senior Surveyor Matthew Blaken
Matthew, from Gloucestershire, graduated with a BSc (Hons) Rural Enterprise and Land Management (REALM) and is now a Director of David James, a firm of rural chartered surveyors and property agents.
Why did you choose to study at Harper Adams?
Because of the rural campus, and the experience of a good open day.
What did you like about the course?
My fellow students and the way the course combined practice with theory. It covered a broad range of technical knowledge without being overly intense across a legal, taxation, finance, construction and environmental spectrum.
Tell us a little about any projects you worked on.
I looked at factors affecting milk quota pricing in the United Kingdom. I had been involved in milk quota trading during my placement year and the volatility of the trade was interesting as it did not follow a logical pattern. My dissertation showed that it was difficult to identify any single factor that caused this fluctuation.
Where did you work during your placement year?
At Gwilym Richards livestock auctioneers, assisting in preparing dairy cattle, dispersal sales, compensation claims, and the sale of rural property.
What were the best things about placement?
Putting theory into practice! I returned to my placement position after graduation.
And now you have moved on?
Yes, I joined David James & Partners as an employee in 2001. I’ve been a Partner since 2008. I opened a new office as partner in charge in 2010.
What do you enjoy most about it?
Being in the open countryside on a sunny day and having the ability to change clients’ lives financially.
What does a typical day include?
Market appraisal / valuation, report writing, submitting planning applications, dealing with e-mails, returning phone calls, letter writing and invoices.
Has being a graduate helped?
It has given me the ability to learn and apply knowledge and a recognised university qualification for an industry leading course.
What advice can you offer to graduates wishing to set up a business?
Network widely and make use of your contacts at professional level (CAAV and RICS) and social level (YFC, rugby clubs, etc.)
Finally, why would you recommend Harper Adams?
It is a lesson in life, friendship and education.