Neeraj Sukumaran is a student who enrolled onto MSc Construction Management at our School of the Built Environment after five years of working around the world as a Planning Engineer. This year, Neeraj took part in the CIOB Global Student Challenge, which saw him and his team of three other SoBE students take on high pressure roles through a virtual experience, in order to further their career skills. 

I spoke to Neeraj, who filled me in on his involvement in the challenge, and spoke of the benefits gained from taking part in challenges such as these.

Image: Cosntruction crains

Hi Neeraj, tell us a little bit about the CIOB Global Student Challenge.

Well where do I start? It was a fast-paced yet fantastic experience from the word go. To start with, you’re put into groups of four students. I was voted in as team leader, as the others on the team were undergraduates, whereas I’m studying a master’s. Also, I’ve been working in the construction industry for half a decade now, so I know a fair bit. Once you’re in a team, you are assigned a fictional company from around the world, and you have 6 weeks to improve the company’s position on the global market league tables.

How did the experience challenge you?

You practice skills in human resources, price estimating, bidding for contracts, marketing and then the actual logistics and planning for construction itself. It’s amazing how we could all work together through a digital experience and compete with others who are studying in the same areas. This is an experience which really does test your ability to work in a team, while having the job pressures of someone who will be earning £75,000+, so as you can imagine, it came with its challenges.

Image: Construction sunset

How has taking part helped you?

It’s taught me a huge amount with regards to management. The whole thing really makes you up your game, and has definitely expressed to me how important it is to communicate as well and often as you can with your colleagues.

Image: Neeraj quote graphic

Would you recommend taking part to other students?

Oh completely! I’d say do it, you’ll get to act in a role that is an absolute career goal for many. As well as that, the University sponsor teams, which is fantastic as they pay your entry fee, meaning the whole experience doesn’t cost a thing. The most simple way to get involved is by talking to your lecturer, and then they’ll be able to get you on board.

What is your top tip?

Construction is a unique industry, and I would say that those who are successful in construction management, are those willing to adapt to any environment, which is why I’d say give the CIOB Global Student Challenge a go.