I am a… Chartered surveyor in my own business
Tom’s tips for business success
- However good a business idea is, or however clever you are, you will only succeed in business through hard work, lots of hard work!
- Always stay positive and use common sense.
- Good honest traditional manners and ethics are very important.
- You always need to embrace change and technology, if you sit back and do nothing, you will get left behind.
- Surround yourself by positive, like-minded people and you shouldn’t go far wrong.
“You leave Harper Adams as an employable young adult, who is mature, confident, knowledgeable and professional,” says Tom Watson, who now runs his own company of chartered surveyors, Cundalls (www.cundalls.co.uk). The 29-year-old, from North Yorkshire, joined the business in 2006 upon graduating with a degree in Rural Enterprise and Land Management, and bought the company four years later.
Tom, who spent an invaluable placement year with the property consultants Carter Jonas, where he completed a year of his RICS APC qualification, added: “I chose to study at the university because of its great reputation. The course was very vocational, so we actually learnt practical and topical subjects which we could, and ultimately have, put into practice! Harper Adams has enabled me to enter a profession that I have always been interested in and, to date, developed a successful career, which has advanced much further and much faster than I ever imagined.”
We caught up with Tom for a chat about his job and memories of university days.
Why did you choose to study at Harper Adams?
It has a great reputation and I knew friends who had been. Also the placement year and the work hard – play hard attitude.
Did the course improve your career prospects?
Yes. I had knowledge of key topics vital for land management/surveying. The placement year meant that I had practical experience, had done a year of my RICS Assessment of professional Competence (APC) and also meant that I was offered a job by the firm I spent my placement year with.
Where did you spend that placement year?
Carter Jonas property consultants, Shrewsbury
I was an Assistant Surveyor and primarily assisted in the management of 5 traditional rural estates and also prepared bank valuation work and some agency work.
Do you think placement enhanced your career prospects?
Definitely, without a doubt yes! It meant I had a year of the APC done, I could talk in detail on previous practical experience, I made professional contacts and have learnt vital office and ‘life skills’, which you simply cannot be taught solely in the lecture theatre/classroom!
And now you run your own business?
Yes, it’s called Cundalls chartered surveyors. The business was founded in 1860. I joined as a surveyor in 2006, and purchased the company in 2010. It is great to have freedom, the ability to use common sense, and be able to work or play as hard as I want, when I want! There is also the satisfaction of doing a good job for a client and being recommended to their friends.
Describe a typical day
There is no typical day in my job!! Some days I will be in the office at 6am and finish at 8pm, other days, I can roll in at 9am, finish at 2pm and go fishing for the afternoon - more often than not it is long hours though!
To me that is the beauty of being a rural surveyor - it is a truly diverse multi-disciplined career and I have a passion for all things property and agricultural. My job can involve doing valuations ranging from a two-bedroom terraced house, to a £20m portfolio estate, agreeing a sale on a £20,000 paddock or a £5m farm, organising management issues on a traditional landed estate or auctioning inexpensive objects at a farm dispersal sale.
No day is ever the same and nor would I want it to be!
What do you think of the teaching and support at Harper Adams?
Great and very supportive. I will never forget that after I left university I was at the Royal Show and I saw Prof Wynn Jones (Principle 1996-2009), who said “Hello Tom”. How he remembered my face, let alone my name, baffled me as there had been thousands of students through Harper Adams during his time there!
And the facilities?
First class, modern yet homely.
What are your favourite memories of the university?
Everything. It was probably the best four years of my life, I loved every moment and it’s hard to single it down to one event or one thing.
From day one, it felt like home. I have made lifelong friends, had some great/memorable nights out and probably forgotten even more!
It has also enabled me to enter a profession that I have always been interested in and to date developed a successful career, which has advanced much further and much faster than I ever imagined.
Why would you recommend Harper Adams?
It has provided me with a great start in life. You leave Harper Adams as an employable young adult, who is mature, confident, knowledgeable and professional. You make lifelong friends and memories - I wouldn’t change a thing about my time at Harper Adams!