MGC 2003 Leaver

Malvern Alumnae 100 Bryony Tomlinson

Having studied Philosophy and Psychology at Oxford University, I initially avoided applying to traditional City jobs, as at the time I didn’t really understand what most of them did! The property industry seemed more tangible, so I started my career at one of the large surveying firms where I was sponsored through a part-time masters alongside work. 

I began in investment agency, advising clients on buying and selling commercial property (offices, retail etc). I then pushed for a move into investment management where I worked on the property portfolios of various UK pension funds. Whilst in that team I got involved in business development, which is when I started to pivot towards my current focus. I then moved into investor relations at a private equity real estate firm which was doing more complex property investments. My role was liaising with their institutional investors (e.g. pension funds, insurance companies etc.), which gave me a better overview of the capital flows behind the commercial property markets.

In 2011 I was approached about a job at my current firm; our team act as advisors to real estate managers, helping them to raise their funds. I cover institutional investors in the UK, Nordics and France, and I work across a mix of global strategies; our mandates range from raising a French office fund, to a US healthcare fund. Whilst the hours in investment banking can be long and the clients demanding, when you take satisfaction from your job, it makes it tolerable! I enjoy the variety and working within a driven team. I travel within Europe about one day a week, which has its pros and cons...I’m writing this on a late night flight to Helsinki!

Both real estate and investment banking are still male dominated areas and I regularly find myself the only woman in a meeting. However, one of the most useful things I developed at Malvern was confidence in my own abilities, and it didn’t occur to me that my sex might hold me back in my career. Fortunately, and perhaps because of this, I don’t believe it has. 

What does success look like?

‘Success’ is entirely personal and situation dependent so it’s hard to generalise, but achieving the best you can in your chosen career path, whilst also living a life you enjoy, is surely all that anyone can hope to do!

What is your best piece of advice?

Push for and seize opportunities. Your experience is what you will get paid for in the future, so place value on broadening it and keep learning. Build your network but don’t focus on what your contacts will deliver for you in the short term; careers are long so value your network in its own right, and over time, it will deliver.

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