Liam Coughlan is an Executive MBA, class of 2015-16 student. After graduating from Imperial College Business School, Liam established his own company, IV Real Estate.

Professional Background

I’m a Chartered Civil Engineer spending  the early part  of my career managing the delivery of large, complex infrastructure projects including Crossrail. For the past 5 years I have been working in commercial real estate, managing the development of offices in London, Bristol and Sweden.

Since starting the Executive MBA I have left the corporate world to co-found IV Real Estate, a property company that owns and develops commercial property.  We apply a disruptive new model that puts occupiers at the heart of everything we do.

My proudest achievement in business has to be IV Real Estate’s first property deal that we completed in 2017.  IV Real Estate is the start-up property company that I’ve founded. The deal was proof of concept for our business model and demonstrates our credibility in the market.


Deciding to study an MBA

I wanted to study an MBA to build on my existing technical and managerial skills and experience to prepare me for a wider range of senior roles.

Starting IV Real Estate has allowed me to apply all of the learning from the programme immediately. The MBA has given me the confidence to step away from the corporate arena and pursue my own ambitions knowing that I have a strong skillset and extensive network to leverage future success.

The business and technical skills that I’ve learnt on the programme form only one part of the learning at Imperial. The strong and diverse cohort play a huge part in bringing theory into real world context, accelerating learning and ensuring it is both current and applicable.

Getting to know my classmates has been the most rewarding element of the programme. It’s incredible to understand the journey that has brought them to Imperial and watch them move forward in their careers. Both the faculty and cohort are diverse, ambitious, and generous with their time.

As the owner of a new business, I am applying what I’ve learnt on the core modules Strategy, Marketing Management and Corporate Finance on a daily basis to grow IV Real Estate and ensure it stays relevant in the challenging market we find ourselves in.

Choosing Imperial College Business School

Imperial’s strong focus on entrepreneurship combined with diverse cohorts made it the stand out school among its peers.

Balancing work and study

Working full-time while studying is a challenge but also an opportunity. To take theory from the classroom and apply it immediately is invaluable.

To prepare for weekend sessions I usually download the course notes and pre-reading couple of weeks before each session so that I can make notes on my commute. Often, a few of us will discuss some of the papers in the days leading up to the weekend session which helps me to formulate my views on the topic in readiness for class discussion.

Growing my business and helping other property start-ups

Looking forward I’m focused on growing IV Real Estate into a stable, successful property development business. Alongside this, I would like to foster other start-ups in the real estate industry and, if possible, support charitable or not-for-profit organisations.

Advice for prospective students

My advice for prospective Executive MBA students is to find a routine that allows you the time to study alongside other commitments. Read around your subjects to gain a better context for your studies, but most importantly spend time with your cohort – they are by far the best source of learning on the programme.

Executive MBA
United Kingdom
Undergraduate education :

MEng Civil Engineering, Civil Engineering, University of Surrey

Job prior to Imperial College Business School :

Development Director, Skanska Project Development