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New Delhi : A team of four undergraduate students from the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Kharagpur, emerged as winners at the CoreNet Global Academic Challenge 6.0, sponsored by Cushman and Wakefield, KI and IA: Interior Architects.

The team comprised Siddhant Samarth (Third Year Undergraduate, Department of Civil Engineering), Pratim Majumdar (Third Year Undergraduate, Department of Chemical Engineering), Rishita Raj (Second Year Undergraduate, Department of Mechanical Engineering), and Utkarsh Agrawal (Third Year Undergraduate, Department of Manufacturing Science and Engineering), and were guided by Prof. Jenia Mukherjee (Department of Humanities and Social Sciences).

The team from IIT Kharagpur was one of the four teams to progress into the final round out of 1,300 teams all over the world and were pitted against the University of Washington, New York University, and the University of Denver in the final round hosted online on March 18, 2021. This is the first time that a squad from India has emerged as winners in the CoreNet Global Academic Challenge since the inception of the competition in 2015, according to a PIB release.

CoreNet Global is a non-profit association, headquartered in Atlanta, Georgia (US), representing more than 11,000 executives in 50 countries with strategic responsibility for the real estate assets of large corporations. The organisation’s mission is to advance the practice of corporate real estate through professional development opportunities, publications, research, conferences, designations and networking in 46 local chapters and networking groups globally.

The team from IIT Kharagpur worked on a hypothetical case on developing an environmentally resilient Corporate Real Estate Portfolio while gauging the impact of the pandemic, for Blue Banc, a fictitious financial institution based in London, England.

“This was uncharted territory but appeared to be a really insightful field to all of us. Right from the start, we were careful to maintain an innovative approach and establish a wide paradigm of solutions in order to accommodate each and every aspect necessary for constructing a green real estate portfolio. We first developed a benchmarking mechanism, then went on to create an internal Carbon market for ensuring scrupulous investments, and then resorted to Real Options analysis to develop strategic timeframes, and then went on to address the issue of determining an ideal location for establishing a new branch using scoring methodologies, Haversine distancing, and qualitative force analysis. Our solution culminated with the idea of introducing various innovative financial products and moulding our ideas according to the impact of the pandemic. Our Faculty Advisor, Prof. Jenia Mukherjee constantly bolstered us through the entire endeavour not only through her extremely encouraging words but also by throwing light on the social implications of each of our ideas, and minutely going through each ingredient of our solution and commenting on the loopholes,” the team of Siddhant, Pratim, Rishita and Utkarsh mentioned right after they were announced as the winners of this  competition.

Prof. Jenia Mukherjee from the department of Humanities and Social Sciences said, “Right after the team shared the prospective ideas with me, I was quite confident that this squad had the potential to present something ingenious, and they just needed out to smoothen out the edges and counter the loopholes, since each and every aspect in itself was so innovational and widely applicable. Kudos to Siddhant for creating the Green Scoring model from scratch, to Pratim for setting up the internal Carbon market and creating a tactical timeline using Binomial Real Options, to Rishita for developing and working on the method of Haversine Distancing, Location scoring and force analysis,and to Utkarsh for gauging each aspect through the lens of the COVID-19 Crisis and suggesting a plan of action accordingly. I am definitely sure that these pioneering ideas in themselves can be developed into full-fledged implementable models through further research, and it will not be long when one day, these hypothetical solutions are at last witnessed in action in the corporate ambit.”

The team would be awarded $5000, complimentary student membership in CoreNet Global (retail value: $25) and a copy of The Essential Guide to Corporate Real Estate (retail value: $49.99).