The associate partner at Quadrant Estates on how he got started in the property industry, the most ridiculous fact he knows, his top TV and podcast recommendations and his number-one travel destination.

Robert Beeching

Robert Beeching

How did you join the property industry?

I have always been interested in buildings and the positive impact they can have on the places where we live and work. While studying history at university, I had an eye on real estate’s impact on society at any place in time. A career in property felt like the right path for me, so I did internships with CBRE in Hong Kong and London. I really enjoyed these and subsequently completed an MSc in real estate. After that, I joined Colliers’ graduate scheme and my career evolved from there.

What does your job entail?

I focus on origination for Quadrant’s London office development and asset management pipeline, seeking opportunities across the spectrum: from value-add brown-to-green redevelopments to core office buildings for asset management mandates.

It is particularly exciting given where we are in the property cycle, where valuations for certain assets are attractive and unique opportunities are presenting themselves. Older offices suitable for repositioning in vibrant locations close to Elizabeth line stations look particularly interesting given current occupier and investment trends.

What do you like most about the property industry?

The variety. To be successful in real estate, it is essential to keep your eye on everything from economics and politics to design and regulatory changes. It is a human industry, constantly evolving with the real world.

And what do you dislike most about it?

Although things are changing, the industry has to become more diverse. There should be more engagement with schools and universities to raise awareness of what a career in property looks like. Championing diversity is the most sensible decision we can make as businesses; different backgrounds and ways of thinking clearly accelerate innovation and new ideas.

What would you change about the property industry?

A less convoluted and more efficient planning system would be positive, for both those working in the industry and society at large.

What barriers or challenges have you overcome?

Learning to adapt quickly to ‘black swan’ events. I started working full-time in real estate in 2016 and immediately experienced the fallout from Brexit, followed by the pandemic. Both situations presented major challenges for London’s office market. I had to learn to think creatively and ask: how should I shift my approach in light of these events?

What are you most proud of in your career?

Being involved in our YY London and OSMO office schemes in Canary Wharf and Battersea respectively. Designed during the Covid pandemic, they are among the smartest and most sustainable buildings in Europe, encapsulating what workspaces need to deliver from a sustainability, design and amenity perspective, as well as reflecting how working habits and occupier demands have changed in recent years.

What do you value in people?

I find it rewarding to work with people who are honest, transparent and good communicators. There is no substitute for learning from inspiring role models.

What advice would you give someone starting a career in the property industry?

Try to have a conversation with someone you don’t know each week, because you never know where that conversation will lead. Don’t be afraid to ask for career advice along the way. I am enrolled on the Investment Property Forum’s mentor programme, which provides a really good way to obtain advice away from my everyday network. Taking advantage of these types of opportunities is so worthwhile.

Top recommendations

The most ridiculous fact I know:

One fact has stuck with me for some reason: the mantis shrimp packs the strongest proportionate punch of any living creature. The resulting shockwave from its punch, which it uses to stun prey, is briefly hotter than the surface of the sun. For scale, if you could throw a baseball with just one 10th of that power, you could chuck it to the moon. 

Favourite TV show:

Band of Brothers is my all-time favourite series. It portrays the story of ‘Easy’ Company, a parachute infantry regiment of the 101st airborne division in the Second World War. I love the history it depicts and it is great TV – action-packed, moving and a great story of resilience and unity.

Favourite podcast:

The Rest Is Politics with Alastair Campbell and Rory Stewart. Rory’s ‘explainers’ are always concise and useful, simplifying complex political issues. Alastair and Rory used to clash more, though – they agree too often these days.

Favourite destination:

Japan is top of my list of places to visit. I love skiing and it sounds incredible there. I also enjoy Japanese culture, food and design, plus I would love to hop on a bullet train.