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30 JUL 2019

My Way: Prem Kumar FRICS

Rapid promotions have been a hallmark of Prem Kumar FRICS' career to date. Numerous successes across Malaysia and over 30 years of industry experience have led him to become one of the most senior valuation professionals in Southeast Asia, and a valuable member of various RICS boards.

The beginning

Although I had some intuition from an early age of my interest in property, the thought of pursuing a career in it was not at the forefront of my mind. The dynamic nature of the industry and uncertainty caused by constant change had always attracted me.

I graduated from University Technology of Malaysia with a diploma in valuation in 1985 and a bachelor's degree in surveying and property management in 1987. As a fresh graduate, I began my career with Jones Lang Wootton based in our Kuala Lumpur office in Malaysia.

Through the late eighties and early nineties, my specialism in valuation came to the fore as I was exposed to the entire spectrum the property industry, which gave me an in-depth knowledge and understanding of the Malaysian market.

The breakthrough

In 1992, I was asked to lead and develop a new branch of Jones Lang Wootton located 350km away from the main office, in Johor Bahru, Malaysia.

The challenges were tremendous and overwhelming at times; I had to ensure viability and profitability right from the outset. I am pleased to say that the branch went on to exceed expectations, in fact it was so successful that I was made partner of the firm when I was only 30 years old.

These rapid promotions were a huge motivator for me and confirmed that surveying, especially valuation, was the right career path.

The present

After some years working for Jones Lang Wootton, in 1998 I became a proprietary partner of Jones Lang Wootton at the age of 34. I am involved in the various services provided by the firm, which include valuation, real estate agency and transactions, asset and property management and research and consultancy.

It's been a busy time since assuming such a senior role and overseeing valuations primarily in Malaysia. Notwithstanding work commitments, I have been able to structure my time in a way that has also allowed me to play an active role in RICS' initiatives across Southeast Asia.

I currently hold the position of chairperson for the RICS Southeast Asia Board and I am an RICS assessor and trainer. I am also involved in other professional bodies across the region.

Prem Kumar FRICS
Prem Kumar FRICS

Timeline

  • 1985 Completes diploma in valuation, University Technology of Malaysia
  • 1987 Completes bachelor's degree in surveying and property management, University Technology of Malaysia
  • 1987 Joins Jones Lang Wootton
  • 1992 Setup Jones Lang Wootton office in Johor Bahru, Malaysia
  • 1998 Proprietor partner, Jones Lang Wootton
  • 2002 Valuation team lead, Jones Lang Wootton
  • 2012 Board member, RICS Malaysia Board
  • 2013 Board member, RICS Asia World Regional Board
  • 2017 Chairman, RICS Malaysia Board
  • 2019 Chairperson, RICS Southeast Asia Advisory Board

Rapid promotions were a huge motivator for me and confirmed that surveying, especially valuation, was the right career path.

Prem Kumar FRICS, Executive Director, Jones Lang Wootton

The future

As one of the most senior valuation professionals in the region, my aim is to use my expertise to elevate the valuation profession to greater heights in Southeast Asia. With that in mind, I plan to utilise over 30 years of market experience to nurture new professionals through knowledge sharing, as well as contribute my expertise to international organisations.

Connect with Prem Kumar on LinkedIn