ALumnus OF THE MONTH - September 2017

Harry Gilder (BSc Quantity Surveying, 2014)


Harry graduated with a BSc (Hons) Quantity Surveying in 2014. Earlier this year he responded to a call for stories around LSBU’s 125th anniversary and here Harry shares  his climb to Commercial Manager and how his experiences at LSBU contributed to his success:

“I didn’t start in the industry at the best time as it was the start of the recession. I remember vividly a lecturer saying to our HNC class in 2008 during the recession "times are very tough right now in the construction industry, but work hard, keep up with your studying because you will be in demand when the industry picks up and when you’re qualified you will be in a good position". He was right.

After I gained my first class honours degree I was employed by with Como, a main contractor that is part of the Mace Group. Now I’m a Commercial Manager. My days vary from either being based on site, working at head office, or having external meetings with consultants, our supply chain or with the internal professional team. Each project is always different and keeps you interested; I enjoy seeing a project take shape from a set of drawings. So far, I have been involved in project values from 2m to 35mil.

Before my surveying role, my background was in office furniture design and sales which then led onto interiors and fit out. The fit out industry is very fast moving and it has allowed me to work in various iconic buildings across London and with a range of consultants and blue chip clients.

Early on in my career, before I studied at LSBU, I worked for a subcontractor Landmark Interiors where I started part time studying to gain further education. I first signed up for the ONC at a college in Cambridge. The course was a good introduction after being out of education for so long. I researched where I could jump onto the HNC and found LSBU. I was very keen and remember taking time out to visit the campus and meet some of the staff to discuss my options.

 LSBU advised me that if I completed the first year at my current college and achieved a Merit, I could fast track entry onto the HNC and keep working. This was music to my ears knowing I could skip a year of the college work and get into LSBU and progress with undergraduate studying. I was offered a conditional place at LSBU and managed to achieve the required Merit to fast track onto the course. 

I found the HNC hard work; the day spent studying each week was long and I was getting back at 10pm some days. I met some great friends though and the course was a great foundation.  Achieving the results I needed meant I could progress onto the RICS accredited BSc (hons) degree for the final three years. 

My final year of studying was a real challenge; I was commercially managing our company’s first subcontract to exceed £1 million in value which included a vast amount of change. On top of that I had the added pressure of studying part time. Crossing the finish line and handing in my last assignment was a great feeling.  Considering all the responsibilities I had during this period, I believe this is my greatest work achievement to date.

Whilst at LSBU, I was also nominated for an award to be presented by the Worshipful Company of Constructors. This was the icing on the cake, an opportunity to invite family and be recognised for all the hard work, six years of graft in total. It was a fantastic evening at Drapers Hall in London. 

My future plans include becoming a chartered surveyor; I have recently enrolled onto the APC professional route to become a fully chartered RICS surveyor. Working within the Mace group will allow me to gain further valuable experience and exposure to high value and exciting projects.

 I made a choice to study at LSBU, which gave me the confidence and qualifications to progress on my career. I’m very proud of my First Class Hons degree and the award, but nothing compares to how proud I am of my baby daughter and my wife for making us a family.

If I were to give advice to current students, I would say that just gaining a degree doesn’t guarantee you success, it obviously is a huge help, but you need to find the drive and motivation within yourself to succeed with it. Don’t wait for it to happen – take the opportunities given to you. Gain as much experience as possible, both managerial and onsite. Having experience and knowledge is key along with your qualifications.  

You can contact Harry on LinkedIn.


We feature alumni each month who have made their mark on their chosen field. To nominate someone email

Visit the LSBU website to read more profiles of LSBU alumni.


© London South Bank University 2017