Vice President of MSCI, Eileen Andrew, has been with the global investment research firm going on fifteen years.
But what may feel like a lifetime in one’s career, has turned out to be a diversified journey in real estate for Eileen.
At the time of studying towards her Human Geography and Maths degree, there were no recognized real estate or property-related qualifications and her studies led her down the path to an exciting career as a property professional.
Having initially worked in various roles within the IPD Group in London, the company was later bought out by MSCI which went from being a UK-owned company to a US investment company and with the management change, new ownership broadened the brand from real estate to investment.
However, most women are often unrepresented in the corporate environment, and particularly so in real estate, where top tier management and exco tends to be male dominated.
Eileen believes that women can overcome this, but they often sell themselves short with the belief that they are not capable to take on senior roles.
“I do not believe that women do not have equal opportunity – opportunities are available through education and all the other resources we require but, we do not take those opportunities because we tend to stand back, believing that we cannot manage it all.”
“The reality is that we can – it is just difficult sometimes when we have to split ourselves into one million pieces at times, but these come in ebbs and flows – and they are manageable if we have the support surrounding us”.
Eileen and her team work with local partners in South Africa, like the Women’s Property Network, to assist and support women into more senior roles through MSCI’s global ‘Women’s Leadership Forum’ initiative.
“I believe that women tend to work very hard and if they can build the relationships from early on, they can leverage off these throughout their careers – something that I underestimated when I was younger. I did not know how important relationship building was within the industry, not only within my own company but across other companies too”.
‘Do not underestimate this and do not be shy to leverage off these relationships because becoming a successful property professional is not just about hard work or what you are doing – you also need to move forward with other people and leverage off what they are doing. Trying to do it on your own will not work. Take these opportunities and use them”.