My year in housing – a fresh perspective

mihir_shahFresh faced out of university, with my Economics degree in one hand and my graduation cap in the other, I reluctantly waved goodbye to my student chapter, but eagerly awaited for what life would throw my way.

My only problem – I didn’t know which sector to join or where to begin. All I knew was that I wanted to use my degree in some way, have a social impact and try my hand at consultancy. With these very specific requirements, I set about job hunting, every graduate’s worst nightmare.

It therefore comes as no surprise that Altair was exactly what I was looking for, albeit I didn’t have much knowledge of the social housing sector. Altair ticks both the consulting element and assisting clients that have a real social impact. But the question remained, would I be able to use my Economics knowledge?

My year at Altair has flown by. These are interesting times to be in this sector, that has for so long had a reasonably comfortable and relatively benign working relationship with the government, but is now facing significant challenge. I have witnessed changes to policies that have forced our clients to fundamentally revisit their purpose and mission, and explore innovative options for the future. With housing as one of the top political concerns for Londoners and more widely, it makes me proud to be working in this sector, making a contribution to find a solution to the public’s concerns. However, the sector doesn’t shout loud about its success and as David Orr states, CEO of the National Housing Federation states“[this sector] needs to own, envisage and define its own vision, the future is up for grabs.”

During the year, I have worked on projects with senior management teams and board members across the length and breadth of the country. My role at Altair has seen me work on and manage projects within the finance and strategy & governance streams and learn how to use BRIXX, the business planning tool. One would be forgiven for drawing comparisons with the speed of the housing sector changes and that of my personal development at Altair. Furthermore, I have had the chance to use my Economics knowledge to write articles about the effects of inflation and other macroeconomic factors on the wider sector and on my clients. Recently attending the NHF Finance conference, I heard a quote that got me thinking; “the world needs social enterprises to challenge business as usual.” This neatly summarises the wide reaching impact of the social housing sector.

I would like to take this opportunity to extend my thanks and appreciation to everyone at Altair and within the sector, for giving me an unforgettable first year.

Mihir Shah is a Business Analyst at Altair, and can be contacted on | 07799 641 384.