Not every MBA student gets such a big opportunity. I was a lucky fellow who landed the chance of visiting 35 well known projects spread across 6 major cities in Asia Pacific with the opportunity to interact with renowned developers and investors involved in those projects. This was made possible because of my institution RICS SBE, where I am pursuing an MBA in REUI.
Its initiative REACh is a studio program, organized to provide invaluable international insights of real estate, infrastructure, construction, design, layouts, samples and hands on experience in six different locations of five major countries across South Asia. The program provides for total immersion in the selected cities and combines unique "hands-on" workshops with academic and industry seminars, case studies and site visits.
Cities and projects visited
Under this program, I went to 6 major cities of five different nations(Hong Kong, Beijing and Shanghai in China, Singapore, Seoul in South Korea, Tokyo in Japan) and visited almost 35 projects, mostly iconic projects i.e ICC and IFC Centers in Hong Kong (tallest towers in Hong Kong), IFC and Tanjong Pagar Center in Singapore, HLD tower in Shanghai, SOHO Business Center in Beijing, Parc 1 in Lotte Business Center (tallest tower in Seoul, South Korea), Shinjuku- Nomura building and Roppongi Hills in Tokyo, Japan. Apart from these I also visited different financial institutions such as Morgan & Stanley, Mori Investments, HSBC etc and many top real estate developers.
This program integrates theory and practice with a strong on‐site orientation and proactive participation. Site visits and workshops investigate both new and established innovative buildings and developments that have challenged the industry. Exploring economies and understanding latest trends in the market was our main objective. It was an exhaustive exposure of the international market in a span of 30 days. My passion for traveling only made it better for me.
Eye opening experience
This eye opening experience provided me with invaluable global insights. I would like to share my experience on two of the sites that I visited:
1) IFC Tower: Its an iconic tower of Hong Kong, 6th tallest tower in the world. We did an in depth analysis about the project, starting from the need, financial analysis (how the major financing was done), structural analysis (the method of construction technology adopted), to the modeling, time frame, major tenants etc.
2) Roppongi Hills: Its basically an integrated city located in the heart of Tokyo. It is a very interesting case since it is a redevelopment project which was recently completed by a private developer. In this, I got to learn how to manage different stakeholders, land acquisition strategy adopted by the developer, construction techniques and its unique design and architecture.
After visiting so many inspiring buildings and structures I realized how far we lag behind our Asian counterparts. Here I would like to mention some of my discoveries:
What these countries do and we don’t:
· Other countries are focusing more on sustainability and thus quality of life.
· New technologies and construction techniques are being employed.
· Government policies and framework are transparent and thus support the overall improvement of the city.
· Projects are completed well within the time frame.
· They focus and spend more on he planning part. eg: In the very initial stages, design consultants and green consultants are hired. They also focus on stakeholder management and thus consider public realm.
· Developers do not build merely for profits, they also like to live up to their reputation and thus want to complete everything well within the deadline with excellence.
· They are doing ambitious projects, futuristic and ultra-modern designs.
· Infrastructure is very well organized and managed by the government.
I hope I can put my learning from this exposure to good use sometime soon in India. With the rapidly changing real estate scenario in India, this doesn’t seem to be a distant opportunity!
MBA REUI (Investment & Finance)