Name: Saagar Sachdev
Current role and team: As part of the Retail & Leisure team in Bristol, I have a diverse portfolio of Retail Parks and Shopping Centres under management. I am also involved with Business Development and IT strategy.
Joined Workman: 2011
With almost a quarter of the current partners having begun their careers on the company’s Graduate Scheme, in what way did it prepare you for your career in property and your role as a Partner?
As a graduate, I had the opportunity to understand how the business operates from the ground up, across all departments. Having been with the firm for a number of years, I now know a lot of people, which has made dealing with issues far easier across departments. Many of our clients are longstanding, so as the business has grown, I have been able to build my profile with them. Starting in a junior role has also allowed me to identify areas of the business that I would like to improve. At Partner level, I now have the platform to voice ideas, and to implement them.
What did the Graduate Scheme teach you, both in terms of technical knowledge and softer skills?
I was immersed in very hands-on experience early on. As the Graduate to the Partner in charge of our team, I was exposed to all aspects of property management, including management of schemes with significant individual fees, setting up new properties, and how to build client relationships. I also developed people management skills early on, which I learnt by shadowing the partner managing me.
Were there any memorable projects / properties you worked on that you now look back on as invaluable experience?
I managed Eastgate Shopping Centre alongside my mentor as a graduate, then on my own as a Senior Surveyor and then handed it over. Workman still manages the property and I even did my APC submissions on it, so managing this property through the years and through different owners has taught me so much about property management
How has the Workman Graduate Scheme evolved since you were a participant?
In the past decade, the Graduate Scheme has evolved to include more structure and clearer progression routes. There is also now a much larger intake and a bigger pool of graduates to speak to about the APC process, the degree, and various clients. I think this is a big help as Graduates can swap tips and experiences.
During the graduate scheme, you were assigned a Partner, Senior Associate or Associate mentor to coach and develop you; what single thing did they teach you that’s been most valuable in your career so far?
I was taught to always have my own version of a tenancy schedule for any property I manage in order to keep my own records. I still do this now and have passed this down to many of the graduates I have mentored. It has saved me endless hours and is my absolute go-to for all property-related queries.
What advice would you give to Graduates starting on the Workman scheme now, in today’s unique circumstances?
1) Ask many questions and learn – with a wealth of experience in the firm, so much can be learnt from others around you, so ask away! We work as a team, and we are there to support each other.
2) Client meetings – do not be afraid to speak up if you have a valid point. It will go a long way to ensuring you make an impression with your clients. The level of exposure to some of the biggest clients is not something every Graduate gets at other firms.
3) Be ambitious – there is no ceiling to your progression at Workman. The key is to work hard, add value to the firm’s services, be a team player, and your efforts will be quickly recognised. The Equity Partners at Workman are an approachable bunch so don’t be afraid to say hello, ask them a question or share an idea. It is always welcome.