On 22 November 2017, the Real Estate and Alternative Investment (REAI) Alumni Group ran the annual year-end networking and panel discussion at the newly opened The ALcove, a space operated by SMU Alumni Association, for alumni to gather and bond.
The guest faculty member, Prof Francis Koh (pictured below), Professor of Finance (Practice) and Mapletree Professor in Real Estate, opened the session and spoke candidly on the Real Estate track that will soon be incorporated into SMU’s undergraduate curriculum offerings.
The alumni panelists were impressive, and shared passionately on their areas of expertise. They were: Ms Elaine Yee (BBM 2004) - Executive Director, EBC Lifestyle Hub; Mr Ho Kah Chuen (BBM 2007) - Assistant Vice-President, Sustainable Urban Development, Ascendas-Singbridge; Mr Raymond Tan (BACC 2011) - Country Representative (Development), Marriott International and Mr John Tan (JD 2012) - Senior Associate, Withers KhattarWong. The session was moderated by Mr Quek Fu Jin (BBM 2005) - Managing Director, Assets Advisors
and President of the REAI Alumni Group.
(Alumni panelists above, with Mr. Quek Fu Jin (BBM, 2005), extreme right, as moderator)
The topic on the use of Prop Tech piqued my interest as I am deeply involved in the construction and property development industry. The panel chosen by the REAI alumni group has a range of experience and each of them provided a very specialised view on the subject matter.
Raymond's sharing left a deep impression because of the specific examples he provided regarding the use of prop tech in the design, construction and operation of the hotels managed by Marriott. I was especially impressed by the use of virtual reality to conceptualise the interior design of the hotels. This enabled Marriott to reduce their set-up costs of the showrooms and reduce the lead time taken to change the designs.
I also took away valuable lessons in the use of 3D designing in the self-storage space. By giving customers a visual of the prospective use of space, this shortens the sales process and allows self- storage space businesses to close more deals in a shorter time. Simply put, the use of technology throughout the value chain of property related industry should give owners better information to either, target customer groups to upsell its services, reduce operating costs through lower overheads or shorter time costs.
The high quality of the Q&A session also provided participants with great insights on the direction of various sectors such as the crowd funding space and the sharing economy. Both are increasingly important issues to look at for current businesses as they have the potential to disrupt our existing economies and modus operandi. It is always exciting to join the panel discussions organised by the REAI Alumni Group.
Article contributed by: Eric Ong (BBM 2015)
Member, REAI Alumni Group