Student stories: Charlotte’s move into the world of property

Posted on: 24 June, 2020

Charlotte Toms is a Graduate Surveyor for Knight Frank in London. Having started off in a residential sales role after completing her undergraduate studies, she decided to pursue a career in property and is currently on our MSc Real Estate programme.


Here, in her own words, is her story…


Charlotte Toms

I fell into the property world. I started working for Knight Frank in Edinburgh as a Sales Negotiator – a residential sales role. I was working with developers and decided I wanted to get into the surveying side of things.

A member of my team was RICS-accredited. I decided I wanted to become a qualified surveyor and that required an MSc in Real Estate.

In September 2019, I was lucky enough to join Knight Frank in their graduate surveying team. It’s a two-year scheme which aims to get graduates to qualify as a Chartered Surveyor.

Studying with UCEM

It’s been tough and challenging at times trying to juggle part-time online learning. There’s been more available to me in terms of reading and tutor support than the undergraduate degree I previously studied.

Studying with UCEM is very worthwhile and beneficial. I’ve received great support from the tutors and my peers on the many WhatsApp groups for every module I have done.

Making friends

I’ve got to know someone really well. They messaged me about the same query on one of the module WhatsApp groups and we ended up working together on it. From there, we continued bouncing ideas off each other and helped one another despite never having physically met! I never thought I’d build such a strong friendship from studying online and we plan to meet at some point. We’ve gone through the journey together. Some things you don’t want to say to a tutor but you can ask someone else.


I’m doing my dissertation now which is due in two weeks and it’s great to have a Project Supervisor help with the process. I had a query and reached out to the Academic Programme Support Team on Saturday morning and had a response on the Monday. I then had a 40-minute conversation with the Academic Programme Support Tutor and she answered all my questions. From raising the query, it was dealt with in a day which was impressive. Whenever I’ve raised a query, it’s been dealt with instantaneously.

Online learning

It’s tough because it’s not what I’m used to so it does take time to adjust. You do get used to it though. You have to be disciplined. You are given your reading to do and have to stay on top of it yourself and take more ownership.

What next?

I hope to qualify as a Chartered Surveyor. I think it’s great that I am doing the graduate scheme alongside studying with UCEM and will make me a stronger candidate for my career going forward. I am learning the practical skills which help me in my job. You get to see how it works from an educational point of view to seeing this develop in the real world. Doing both at the same time allows me to have a deeper understanding of the programme. For example, I learnt about cash flows on the Investment module and that was one of the first things I had to do in the residential land team at Knight Frank. The programme and the job mirror each other really well.

The programme has allowed me to do a Master’s and get this professional accreditation whilst being able to work which I don’t think I would have been able to do otherwise. It’s allowed me to further my career.


Best of luck with your remaining studies, Charlotte!

If you, too, are a student of ours and would like to tell your story, email and a member of the team will get back to you.