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.
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.
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.
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.