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My RICS: William Cheung MRICS, university professor

William Cheung MRICS - Opening a door to the world

When William Cheung MRICS got his RICS qualification in Hong Kong in 2013, he did not realise it would lead him to a career in another hemisphere. Today he has settled down in New Zealand and has continued his journey towards an affordable housing policy specialist. William shares his experience with us.

I was qualified via the Research pathway
I was qualified as an RICS chartered member in 2013 through research and management consultancy pathway. My research and teaching interests cover a wide range of issues in the real estate market, including but not limited to commercial property market, institutional analysis, lease contracts and housing policy. Aiming to make the most of my expert knowledge and experience, I aspire to be a housing policy specialist to provide professional inputs to affordable housing policy formulation.

In 2017, I got my PhD in real estate from The University of Hong Kong. I was very fortunate to receive a tenure-track lecturer position (i.e. equivalent to the assistant professorship of the U.S. university system) at the University of Auckland in New Zealand. I challenged myself to develop an academic career in this one of the most livable countries (while also one of the least affordable housing markets) in the world.

Housing affordability is close to my heart
Although everyone needs a roof over his/her head, the sky-high housing prices in Hong Kong are way beyond the affordability limit of many people. There’s no exception to me and my family. Making housing more affordable becomes my research agenda and also the driver for a housing-related research career.
Both my M. Phil dissertation in 2008 and my PhD thesis in 2017 were related to public housing research. Through these researches, I hope I can make some contribution, however small it may be, to improve the living quality of the general public.

MRICS qualification helps me stand out from the rest
I have always known that a globally recognised qualification would be a “passport” for my academic career. In the tertiary education arena, the RICS qualification is a merit in all property-related academic vacancies regardless of location, because universities nowadays look for lecturers who possess practitioner experience. A competent job candidate with an RICS qualification always out-competes one without. Without doubt an MRICS designation is a warrant of professional competence and a proof of solid relevant work experience.

I have introduced APC competency requirements to a university course.
My unique position being a professionally qualified chartered surveyor and a property analyst has become an edge to my teaching career. At the University of Auckland, I lead the development of courses, course materials and curricula in relation to RICS pathways. My APC experience enables me to tailor course materials in a pragmatic and business-oriented manner. I also take advantage of my professional standing to motivate students to learn.

In 2018, I undertook to re-design a stage-three Advanced Property Management course with an aim to focus on corporate real estate management, so that students can effectively tackle practical issues after they have graduated.

In the process of redesigning the course, I worked closely with the department head and overseas scholars eminent in this field. The APC competency requirements of RICS’ Corporate Real Estate pathway has been referenced to ensure the relevance of course contents to industry practice. The course has been restructured to reflect the requirements of APC assessments, including real-life intellectually challenging case studies. The learning outcomes and graduate profile have also been aligned with the professional requirements of APC assessments. We notice that students are more engaged with their learning, after realising their knowledge is applicable and useful to their future careers.

RICS helps me adapt to a new home
Relocating from Hong Kong to New Zealand was a big decision, and one of the greatest challenges was my insufficient understanding of New Zealand’s housing market.
I was fortunate to have received great support from local RICS community. Not only have local RICS members helped me connect with local industry to settle down, but they also have strong support to academia. I especially thank my Department head, Professor Deborah Levy FRICS for her considerable support to thrive. None of these would have been possible without an RICS network.

William Cheung MRICS with Professor Deborah Levy FRICS
William Cheung MRICS with Professor Deborah Levy FRICS

One cannot travel around the world without a passport. If you are keen to pursue a career in the property sector, get an RICS qualification. It is a passport to opportunities beyond your burrow