IIMU DEM Live Projects Testimonial: Use of Blockchain in the Context of Investing in Real Estate

Gautam Govindraj

April 28, 2021

The full-time One-year MBA in Digital Enterprise Management (DEM) offered by IIM Udaipur focuses on teaching through simulations, case studies and live projects. These projects help prepare students of DEM for practical experience. Understanding the technologies and data from a close point is the primary purpose of doing these live projects. Gautam Govindraj, current and now a graduated student of DEM has shared his views on the live project.

  • Please provide an overview of the project. What is the problem that you are trying to solve?
  • This project and its dissertation focus on Blockchain technology and its use in the Real Estate (RE) industry to increase liquidity and ease of investing in the industry. We attempted to solve the core problem was inferior liquidity and the lack of easy entry/exit options for investors looking to invest in RE. Our solution focuses on fractionalizing or tokenizing RE asset classes and enabling free-trade of these RE tokens. Our final dissertation, in a nutshell, included the analysis of the current investment scenario in the RE industry, prerequisites of adopting Blockchain in RE, benefits and challenges of tokenizing RE, the fundamental technical aspects of creating tokens, a working model of token-creation and lastly, our recommendation for next steps and way forward for implementing the solution.

  • What has been your most significant learning from the project so far?
  • My learnings have been multifold from this project. I learnt about the intricacies of deploying Blockchain technology in real estate, especially the process flow of creating RE tokens. Going through the nuances of understanding prerequisites, challenges, and benefits of tokenization of RE and the economic aspects of RE tokens, gave me a good understanding of leveraging Blockchain in RE, which can be cascaded across multiple industries.

  • Please share how is the live project helping you a) understand the needs of the client better, b) project management, c) problem-solving d) teamwork?
  • a) Understanding Client’s Needs – Our sponsor, Mr Satyakam Chakravarthy, Founder, Data Block Technologies, guided us in giving us an overview of the problem we were attempting to solve. Those were increased liquidity for investors, provided continuous mentoring along with a roadmap to follow. We interviewed industry experts from the RE world to gain practical insights for our project and see how our ideas resonated with the industry.

    b) Project Management – We prepared a Gantt chart with defined milestones for each deliverable, and we stuck to our schedule, which helped us complete the project on time. We also had weekly review calls with our mentor, Prof. Srinivas Pingali, IIM Udaipur, to discuss progress and highlight issues, if any.

    c) Problem Solving – We made a point to address issues upfront and course-correct as necessary. This agile approach towards the project and the dissertation helped us attain our milestones and complete the project in time. We also escalated issues to our mentor as soon as we anticipated them to receive guidance well in advance.

    d) Teamwork – Our team of three students from the IIMU MBA in DEM Program (Gautam Govindraj, Venkatesh Videla and Shantanu Dudhat) worked well dissecting the project and creating bite-sized tasks spread across four months for us to complete the work. This approach ensured that everyone was not doing everything and split the workload smartly to meet the project deadline.

  • How is it different from your previous professional experience?
  • This project is at a complete tangent from my professional experience, and hence it helped maximize my learning. Although I have worked in the real estate industry, I did not get a chance to leverage new-age technologies for RE. This project helped me understand the technologies that could be applied in real estate beyond Blockchain.

  • How is the live project preparing you for the industry?

Both the DEM program and this project exposed me to the digital side of my core industry: Real Estate. I have had experience in roles of sales leadership and account management. This project gave me an understanding of deploying new-age technologies in RE, thereby opening new horizons.

About the Author

Gautam holds more than 9 years of work experience across sales leadership, account management, product management and customer success. He is passionate about digital disruptions and leveraging new-age technologies to drive business. Gautam holds a bachelor’s degree in management studies from Mumbai University (2010) and an MBA in Digital Enterprise Management from IIM Udaipur (2021). He currently works with Steelcase, a leading workplace solutions provider, as a regional manager focussing on driving business from channel partners. You can connect with him on LinkedIn