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My RICS: Lorena Brehuescu, economist

My RICS: Lorena Brehuescu, economist

Lorena Brehuescu MRICS is an economist with wide expertise in real estate markets, mainly in asset appraisal and market research.

Her family owned a construction company when she was growing up in Romania. Eager to stay in touch with this legacy, she chose to study finance as it applies to the real estate sector almost ten years ago.

Today, she has a successful international career as a consultant and dreams of one day giving something back by teaching at university.

Hi Lorena, can you tell us something about you and your background?

I completed my bachelor's degree in business administration at the Bucharest University of Economic Studies in 2008. At that time, the global economy was suffering from the first effects of the economic crisis, while Romania was experiencing an economic boom after joining the European Union alongside Bulgaria the previous year.

Real estate was considered cool in my country and I focussed on valuation for many years, facing both the challenges and opportunities emerging markets like Romania were offering.

What attracted you to a career in real estate?

Coming from a family in construction, it was very natural to continue my education in that direction with a master's degree in real estate, despite the fact that the market was expected to experience ups and downs after 2008.

And it did, but I never regretted this choice. Real estate is a fascinating world with a practical impact on our lives and the environment.

You have recently moved from Romania to Luxembourg. How did the RICS qualification help you find an international opportunity?

The Luxembourg opportunity arrived by word of mouth from a contact who knows that I work with the RICS and IVS standards, the highest standards in valuation at an international level.

The MRICS qualification is highly respected internationally, therefore in combination with years of experience in the banking sector, it was easy to join the KPMG real estate advisory team and start a new career trajectory in consultancy.

Luxembourg is not my first international experience though. Earlier in my career, an Italian client noticed a valuation report I had produced and recommended I do an MBA in Italy to take my qualifications to the next level. As part of my MBA programme I lived in Trieste for several months while working for Generali.

Lorena takes a break from work to hike

Becoming a RICS member was really a plus for my professional development in attracting international clients and institutional investors.

Lorena Brehuescu

How does your RICS qualification support your (continuous) professional development?

I heard about RICS when I was working at JLL in 2010, but I only enrolled to join in 2016 when I started working for Erste Bank in Bucharest. At that time the only compulsory qualification for real estate valuation was the national one, and becoming a RICS member was really a plus for my professional development in attracting international clients and institutional investors.

If you compare the development you get from a national versus an international professional body, I would say it's similar in terms of technical knowledge. What makes a real difference is the crucial role of ethics.

National rules of conduct exist, but RICS provides professionals with a full standard of conduct which explain behaviours carefully, in particular on the subject of conflicts of interest.

Ideally, I'd love to see the Romanian group become more active as emerging markets have to face these issues on a daily basis, but for now, I enjoy getting in touch with fellows from the Luxembourg group and taking advantage of this exciting international network.

The built environment is one of the sectors which will be affected by massive technological changes; does it represent an opportunity for young talents?

I recently attended a conference in Luxembourg with the title 'How technology will affect real estate' and we discussed the technological penetration in the sector. When you think about media and telecommunications, for example, you can clearly see that they have already undergone profound changes while the built environment is at the beginning of its transformation.

Houses will become more intelligent, and valuation will change, but the market will still need valuers and real estate professionals.

Young talents will have powerful tools in their hands to work with more quality, but the development of their technical and soft skills will be their challenge and their opportunity.

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