Property Australia

High stakes, high margins and high temperatures

PROPERTY AUSTRALIA November 20, 2018

the highs and lows of foreign assignments and the lessons learnt as we interview property professionals on their overseas experiences for season two of the Property Puzzle podcast.

Following a successful first season, which attracted an audience of 2,400-plus property professionals, season two of the Property Puzzle journeys into new territory to explore the experience of Australians abroad.

First up is Arron Fischer, director of Savills project management, who spent nearly four years delivering the retail component of Singapore’s Marina Bay Sands resort.

Fischer’s insightful podcast is packed with advice on “how not to get lost in Asia”.

“Getting there is the easy bit. Leaving is the hard bit,” he tells interviewer Sara Cecchi from Shape Group.

Fischer worked for Westfield in design and construction, before moving to client-side project management with Savills Australia. He’d been with the agency for less than 12 months when “my retail history caught up with me” and the career opportunity of a lifetime beckoned.

The AUD$8.15 billion Marina Bay Sands development boasts the world’s most expensive standalone casino, a 2561-room hotel, convention centre and 74,000 sqm retail facility. The complex is crowned with the 340-metre-long SkyPark that can accommodate 3,900 people and the world’s longest elevated swimming pool.

Fischer says he had just 24 hours to decide whether to pack his bags, but the career move was “an adventure waiting to happen”.

What are Fischer’s tips for young property professionals looking to broaden their horizons?

“Do your homework,” he recommends. Consider the financial and taxation implications, as well as hidden costs, like schooling which “in some countries can be very expensive”. The perks include being part of an ex-pat community, the chance to “embrace a brand new culture and environment” and the opportunity to look at projects through a different lens.

Fischer’s podcast is the first of five weekly discussions. Natasha Chee, senior project manager with CBRE Asia Pacific, recounts her divergent experiences in China and Japan, and reflects on how her stints overseas cultivated a new appreciation for Australia’s property industry.

Alex Corones, director of MSP Projects discusses his experience in Texas at the height of the global financial crisis, which turned from “bullish to bleak” in the blink of an eye.

And Glen McAnulty, general manager of McConaghy Retail, shares his journey to Macau and Beijing. McAnulty reflects on societal and business culture shocks, and how he leveraged his international experience back home.

Fischer’s key advice for anyone considering career changes? “If you want to grow, you need to take yourself out of your comfort zone. Take the first steps and you’ll never look back.”

Download season two of the Property Puzzle: The Global Piece 

Curious about Singapore? Registrations for the Property Council’s Singapore Study Tour, available to members only, are open until Friday 8 March 2019, or until sold out. Only 30 delegates can join the tour, so don’t miss your chance to check out Marina Bay Sands. Learn more.