One of Property Week's Hot 100, Max Shand, profiles his career to date

Max ShandFrom a farming background, I always assumed I too would work in the Suffolk countryside. However, university friends and industry speakers inspired me to consider an alternative. Today I work as a Development Director at Exemplar Properties in London.

Despite starting as an agriculture student, I left the University of Reading with a degree in Land Management. During the course there were regular talks from industry speakers. Particularly memorable for me was John Adams from Drivers Jonas who described his involvement with City Centre development and major regeneration projects. Hearing of his influence on urban regeneration really excited me and from then on I was committed to finding a way of working on large scale development projects. Since that point I have tried to tailor my career accordingly.

As a graduate I worked at Drivers Jonas, spending time in the development team gaining experience in structuring development deals and getting to know a wide range of people in the industry. Keen to get more hands on experience of the full development process, I moved from a consultancy role to the client side at Countryside Properties and from there to Exemplar.

For me development is a really exciting and varied area of the property industry. Having the opportunity to look at the built environment, work closely with talented design teams whilst balancing the needs of occupiers and investors is always interesting. Each project is different in its own way and often presents new challenges which I really enjoy trying to resolve.

Working at Exemplar I am involved in all aspects of the development process. My role includes sourcing and managing commercial and mixed-use development projects from start to finish. The job is highly varied and involves working with a wide range of people - from bankers to builders, politicians to local communities.

My current projects include two sites on Regent Street working with The Crown Estate and a large office and retail scheme in Spitalfields close to Liverpool Street Station. The work is certainly not without its challenges. With any scheme there are always complications, be it difficulty obtaining planning permission - the complexity of balancing local preferences with broader strategies, or those related to the day to day demands of site management - most recently how to get site deliveries when central London roads are closed during the Olympics.

However, through each project there is a great opportunity to work with interesting people, leave a lasting impact on the built environment and most importantly the communities that use it.

Since leaving Reading, RREF has been a great opportunity to catch up with old friends at the various events and meet new people in the industry. I have also really enjoyed being involved in the mentoring programme which provides an important link between students and the industry.

Max Shand (BSc Land Management, 2002)
Development Director, Exemplar Properties


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