Flavien Menu, MSc Real Estate (2019)
Industry: Real estate
Current role: Founder of Office for Cities
Why did you choose to study the MSc Real Estate at Cass?
Prior to studying MSc Real Estate at Cass, I completed a master’s in Architecture and two years later a postgraduate dual-degree in Urban Affairs at Sciences Po Paris and London School of Economics (LSE). Boosted by this hybrid profile, I founded Office for Cities, a London-based creative consultancy which focuses on property development and urban innovation. As Founder and Director of the consultancy, I became fascinated with the financial side of real estate. I want to bring an innovative vision to the process of property development in which sustainability is a non-negotiable. I knew I needed to develop deeper knowledge of the financial and investment markets to be able to drive forward positive impact in the real estate industry. I chose Cass as I knew it would offer me the skills I needed.
What are the learning benefits of the programme?
The most important lessons came from my modules in finance, real estate development, asset management, taxation and quantitative techniques in investment. These modules offered me an impressive breadth of knowledge. I enjoyed the academic reading and truly valued the expertise provided by guest speakers.
The focus on coursework and teamwork was also a crucial part of my learning experience. I learned how to apply theory to real-life case studies and developed a strong sense of teamwork and appreciation for team-building. Meeting many interesting people from a variety of backgrounds helped me gain confidence, because we were able to discuss our different viewpoints and share our diverse experiences.
Overall, my studies helped me visualise how to create an innovative branch of property development.
How did your master’s degree impact your career?
Throughout my master’s, I continued to run Office for Cities and wanted to take a more direct role in property development. I became interested in creating new conditions of living for millennials who are struggling to afford quality housing and working spaces across Europe. I also wanted to create a more responsible property development model which takes into account environmental issues and climate change.
Driven by the desire to develop sustainable and affordable buildings for the next generation of city dwellers, I founded the property development company Wald and started doing commercial bids.
My team and I won our first commercial bid to launch Wald through a competition for innovative developers launched by the Greater London Authority (GLA) and the Mayor of London, which is called Small Sites. We were incredibly proud to be considered the most innovative bid of all the Small Site competitors by the GLA.
We are now developing 20 residential units combined with a 700sqm workspace in central London. We have been shortlisted in many other bids and are in discussions with partners to expand our model. The positive response we have had to our hopes of creating fairer and better quality property development has been overwhelming! I hope to continue networking with the Cass community as we look for further investment partners.