A real estate project’s success is not determined by the architects, investors and financiers behind it, but rather by the occupants of the space. It is the users who weave a space into the regular fabric of their daily lives, demonstrating its value through the use—and enjoyment—of it. Rarely is this dynamic more evident than in the thrilling real estate market of Tokyo, Japan.
Tokyo simultaneously boasts one of the world’s most advanced urban infrastructures and a notoriously formal professional environment, which provides Schack students the opportunity to witness a unique combination of real estate, culture, technology, and monetary policy.
During the March 2019 Tokyo Global Field Intensive, Professors Scott Robinson and Joshua Harris led a graduate student trip as an integral part of their course, Global Real Estate Markets and Investments. The Schack Institute encourages its students to immerse themselves in international markets and best practices through optional field intensives. The school has held field intensives in cities including London, Buenos Aires, Columbia, Brazil, Hong Kong, Shenzhen, Shanghai, and Beijing.
To expose students to Tokyo’s rich ecosystem, the in-country itinerary included 18 company meetings, numerous site visits, a mid-week alumni event with Tokyo-based working professionals, and two Schack-sponsored networking dinners. Senior executives from local and global firms challenged our students to "think differently” about how the business of real estate is executed, including how a project interacts with the community in which it is based.
The NYC-based classroom coursework prepared students for the trip with discussions about Japan’s business etiquette, local economies, and investment strategies. The trip included 18 meetings with companies such as Jones Lang LaSalle, XYMAX, Mitsui Fudosan, Japan Industrial Solutions, Blackstone, Kengo Kuma, S&P Global, Mitsubishi Estates, Takenaka, Gensler, and LaSalle Investment.
At the end of the trip, students synthesized these experiences into a cross-border investment thesis that summarized the recommended modes of investment, including a SWOT analysis and risks/mitigants.
The intensive field study provided Schack students with an immersive real estate experience. It exposed the group to Tokyo’s local real estate ecosystem, and an exchange of best practices with their global real estate counterparts. Looking forward, this experience encourages students to explore new ways to achieve superior results in their careers.