Yusoff Ghaznavi, managing director at MAC Construction Consultants, on how he got started in property, his top TV and podcast recommendations, his best/worst purchase and his number-one travel destination.
How did you join the property industry?
My official first step on the property industry ladder was when I started my quantity surveying degree at Leeds Metropolitan University. It was quite a varied course, with lots of content that gave me plenty of options to explore if I decided to go in a different direction.
What does your job entail?
As managing director at MAC, I have project-related responsibilities in addition to running the business itself. Every week is different, but I always make sure to touch base with clients and the team to make sure everyone is aligned on progress and priorities.
What do you like most about the property industry?
Two things: when you walk past a previous project and it rekindles all the good memories of the whole process; and in more recent times, the ability to stay connected with a great mix of people across a range of sectors.
And what do you dislike most about it?
When you have been in the industry for a few years, you start to realise how many processes feel as though they are done for the sake of process when working on projects.
What would you change about the industry?
There should be a much closer integration of university courses and work placements to provide cross-discipline experience. A broader knowledge base helps your understanding and confidence.
I clearly remember some of the meetings in the first few years of my quantity-surveying life where I was sat thinking: ‘What are they talking about?’ To provide a structured and broad overview at the outset will help those coming into the industry, which should then hopefully get confidence levels up.
What barriers or challenges have you overcome?
No barriers really; more challenges to overcome. I have been fortunate to have had some great colleagues and bosses – from my year placement, to my first full-time role, through to co-founding MAC. Earlier in my career, the challenge was very much around pushing myself to move away from the comfortable (I do like being comfortable). That meant pushing myself to take on new roles and move to new businesses.
What are you most proud of in your career?
Taking the risk to join MAC. I left a good job mid-financial crisis, but I knew it was the right thing to do. I wanted to get my shoulder behind something new, and I wanted to get a closer link to supporting the growth of a business. In turn, I am also proud of the opportunities that MAC has given to a new wave of talent.
What do you value in people?
There are three attributes I value highly: honesty, self-belief and the confidence to make your thoughts known.
What advice would you give someone starting a career in the property industry?
Be a sponge, ask questions, listen and learn. Don’t be afraid to talk to people, get involved and broaden your knowledge. Nearly all those I met early in my career were only too happy to help, and I try to make sure all our people at MAC offer support to whoever asks.
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