Campus & Student Life
CBS International Business School, 8 April 2021

Real estate crisis: Corona & the impact on the market - An interview with Simone Kollmann Göbels


No one could have predicted it. Not the economists, and not the real estate agents. But the COVID-19 crisis significantly impacted the real estate market. Now, a year after the Covid 19 crisis, current conditions in the German real estate market, such as rising property prices, favorable interest rates, and high demand, are being discussed more than ever in the media and by experts, and there are increasing speculations about whether a real estate bubble will develop in Germany.

We interviewed Simone Kollmann Göbels, lecturer at CBS and Senior Vice President Procurement & Real Estate at Ströer SE & Co. KGaA, about the challenges and current situation on the German real estate market, the biggest opportunities, the biggest trends in the real estate industry, skills that students in the real estate industry should have, and future career prospects.

What do you see as the biggest challenge in the real estate industry in the current situation?

The Corona crisis is keeping us all on our toes and is causing a lot of turmoil and uncertainty in the economy and among entrepreneurs. It also shows that the individual real estate segments are affected differently by the Corona crisis. The logistics sector should certainly be highlighted here, which, in contrast to the gastronomy, hotel and retail sectors, has actually benefited from the crisis.

In the real estate industry, there is currently speculation about what challenges the Corona pandemic will bring with it - in particular, the topics of New Work / Future Working Worlds (Corona increases the importance of home) and their implications are in focus. As part of this, we are looking at new workplace concepts and the change in demand for rental space from a corporate perspective. Due to my profession, I particularly follow the developments in commercial real estate and carefully read, among other things, the latest trend reports of the large brokerage houses as well as relevant trade magazines. Here you can see that new orders in the construction industry are falling slightly and Corona is causing prime rents in the retail sector to fall. Of course, population development and, business situation clearly play a role. But a clear strategy from the company's point of view is difficult to develop at the moment.

What do you see as the biggest opportunity for the real estate market?

We must use the current uncertainties regarding the overall economic development in the real estate sector as an opportunity. In particular, the low interest rate level serves as an indicator for real estate investments. From a corporate perspective, the current situation offers the opportunity to overhaul the office world and create a modern infrastructure in the sense of New Work - also in the context of sustainability, agility, and digitalisation. In this context, we will not only question and optimise our processes but also our office locations.

To what extent is the topic of sustainability addressed in the real estate industry?

The topic of sustainability including new technology is becoming increasingly important. For this reason, we also focus on this topic in our basic lecture at the CBS and include the various aspects in the life cycle of a property. The consumption of resources in the real estate sector is enormous, which is why there is also a lot of potential here. The legal situation and thus the specifications in the real estate sector are also adapting to the new circumstances (keyword Building Energy Act). For this reason, I am convinced that renovations and modernisations of real estate will experience a further boom. In the new construction sector, we will see more sustainable buildings - also known as green buildings.

We had some interesting speakers with us last semester, can you give a preview of the upcoming events?

Of course, I am trying to make sure that the upcoming lectures will be just as interesting and have already requested top-class representatives. The colleagues come from the brokerage sector, the construction industry, technology and sustainability. My three colleagues from the real estate sector at STRÖER Michael Pelzer, Britta Peters, and Markus Connemann will also be present again.

What qualities should a student in the real estate industry have?

The most important quality is curiosity, openness and understanding of processes. Basically, an affinity for real estate and an interest in real estate as an economic good in its various forms is helpful. Of course, such a question cannot be answered in a general way but depends on the later specialisation in the professional field - from architect, broker or even work in administration, everything is possible and requires different qualities. What they all have in common, however, is the love of numbers, a high level of service-mindedness, and economic and process-oriented thinking.

In what areas can CBS students work after graduation? What are the real estate industry careers/job prospects?

Students have numerous options after graduation. In addition to administrative work, e.g., in a real estate or real estate department of a company, there are further opportunities in the construction industry or also in the field of architecture. Of course, it is also possible to work as a real estate agent.

What are the real estate trends that students should keep in mind?

Students should keep these 6 trends in mind:

  • Sustainability

  • Smart Building

  • Internet of Things

  • Urbanisation

  • New Work

  • Digitisation

How did you find your current position?

After studying business administration in Cologne and London, I initially worked for the REWE Group for 6 years, most recently in internal auditing. I moved to STRÖER to set up this internal audit department. This was successfully implemented; in the meantime, I worked for Gründer and Co in project management and took over the purchasing division at the end of 2014. At the beginning of 2016, I was also assigned the real estate department, and other areas were added, so that today, in addition to the above-mentioned areas, I am also responsible for the vehicle fleet, insurance and travel management - a colourful bouquet of topics.

What is your personal mission? What goals are you striving for?

To be brave and to keep daring to do more. Personally, I have always tried to step into big shoes that may have sometimes seemed too big. Actively shaping topics, optimising processes and proving it to myself is my personal intrinsic motivation. I have been pursuing the goal of becoming a lecturer since last semester - honestly, born out of necessity, as I had spoken with Prof. Fröhlich about the lack of young talent in the real estate sector. This emergency situation gave rise to the idea of developing a degree programme together. I am very happy that the first run was so positively received, and I am already looking forward to the next semester.

My motto: I have not learned through my successes, but especially through my mistakes. It is therefore even more important for a company to have a culture of mistakes, but also to be able to deal with mistakes personally, which requires a certain amount of self-reflection. In this context, it is extremely important to have confidants/mentors with whom I can talk in these times or about these sensitive topics. For this reason, I am involved in the IWIL (Initiative Women into Leadership) matching committee. My personal next goal is to become a member of the supervisory board.

What advice can you give to students in their search for a personal vocation?

Be curious, have courage and go your own way. I advise you to do internships early on so that you can combine the theory you have learned with practice. Use the time in the lectures and ask the lecturers, who come from the field, questions. Network and try things out. Even if the shoes sometimes seem too big - dare. Be honest with yourself and question yourself: what do you enjoy doing, what are your strengths/weaknesses? What motivates you?

Get a bachelor's degree in Real Estate Management at the CBS in Cologne

Our Bachelor`s of Business Administration & Management - Real Estate Management programme is aimed at students who want to gain a foothold as a real estate manager in one of the largest growth industries in Germany. The Bachelor`s "Real Estate Management" in Cologne offers you a holistic business education and covers the entire life cycle in real estate management - from budget planning to lease negotiations to operational management - in the curriculum. Learn more here.

CBS International Business School

CBS International Business School is a state-recognised private university of applied sciences for business. We offer accredited Bachelor's, Master's and MBA degree programmes in German and English on a full-time or part-time basis. Throughout Germany, the university is represented at three locations in Cologne, Mainz, and Potsdam.

Download a brochure & learn more about us

Would you like to learn more about our Bachelor's and Master's programmes at home in peace? Download the CBS brochure for an in-depth look at our business study programmes.  

We hope that you enjoy getting to know more about our school, study programmes and what we stand for. Follow us on Instagram & Facebook, get to know us at one of our Information Events, or Contact our student advisors to get more info.