REIQ BRisbane Summit

By Devin McIntyre, BBA 2020

April 7, 2019

While Studying Abroad at the University of Sydney, I looked for as many opportunities as possible to expand my knowledge of the real estate industry. One of the opportunities I was able to participate in was the REIQ Summit in Brisbane, Australia.

The two day event covered all aspects of the real estate industry - from investing in real estate to selling real estate. The summit brought together leaders from across the Asian-Pacific market; the attendees came from more than 10 countries with over 70 companies represented. The speakers and session leaders boasted carers across several industries including banking, consulting, sales and even a professional big wave surfer. With presenters and speakers from all industries, the goal of the event was to educate and empower real estate practitioners with the skills necessary to take their careers to the next level.

During my time at the event, I was focused on how to kickstart a career in real estate post graduation from Ross. Reflecting on the convention, I found two main takeaways from the event:

Chairman of Century 21 and CEO of Better Home and Garden Asia Pacific, Charles Tarbey:

Mr. Tarbey discussed his career and how he was able to amass more than 8,000 income producing investment properties and how he leads his company with more than 900 offices in the Asia-Pacific market. From his talk, he continued to touch on the theme of ‘​lead with passion and professionalism and the money will follow​’. His belief is that when you become the best in the industry through strong professional skills and knowledge, the market will reward you.

Founder of Rezilium and AMP Capital Investor, Kamal Sarma:

Kamal Sarma spoke on taking initiative with careers and ​focusing on building generational wealth through mental resilience​. The talk worked around his experience of transitioning from a monk to a venture capitalist and how the mindsets required are very similar. His beliefs showed me that it is important to have a strong and clear mindset if you want to succeed by focusing on facts and not emotions.

The REIQ Summit was an eye-opening experience that provided industry leading knowledge, a place to network with the leaders in real estate, and an open forum to ask questions and expand my career in real estate.

The MIT Reality Virtually Hackathon

By Michael Zhang, BBA 2021

February 5, 2019

When you hear “hackathon,” you might imagine hundreds of computer science college students, binge-drinking coffee, and programming away on their laptops for several days straight. The MIT Reality Virtually Hackathon does have some similarities, but the diversity of backgrounds, inspiring people I met, and lessons I learned were incredible.

Over the course of this 5-day hackathon and conference, 400 attendees from over 35 countries formed teams and developed over 100 immersive experiences using virtual, augmented, and mixed reality technology (XR). The hackathon was purposely designed to have a mix of students and professionals, developers and non-developers, and beginners and veterans in the XR space. To bring people up to speed, industry professionals hosted an entire day’s worth of workshops and talks to introduce people to the basics of how to create XR experiences using different game engines and tools for different kinds of hardware. Then came team formation!

(Insert Hackathon Team.JPG)

In what seemed like a pitch competition and recruiting session rolled into one, participants presented their ideas ranging from health and wellness to games and learning. I ended up serving as a project management/designer role on a team with four other individuals around the idea of a virtual reality escape room. We built our application using the Unity Game Engine, Google Blocks, and HTC Vive headset. Filled with excitement and creativity, we decided to developed “Escape the Witch’s Grotto”: a magic-themed escape room in which players would have to find ingredients around their environment to create potions that would allow them to solve puzzles.

Over the next four days, we rapidly prototyped and iterated, learned new skills along the way, scrapped ideas as deadlines approached, and managed disagreements and differences in vision. Although our team didn’t win in the end, I learned so much more about XR development from this crash-course experience than I could have from simply watching tutorials online.

In between working on our project, I also had the chance to engage with other attendees in the XR community. On the last day of the hackathon, I hosted a meetup with other XR student organization leaders. Since January 2018 when I founded the Alternate Reality Initiative, an XR student organization at the University of Michigan, I had previously only talked online with these students. Finally meeting these digital friends in real life was the highlight of my experience. Each of these students pictured below share a passion for XR, and are also helping other students at their universities explore, learn, and build with XR technology.

(Insert ICXR Student Org Leaders.JPG)

Although I’ve been involved in XR technology for several years, managing imposter syndrome and self-doubt continue to be a challenge, especially when you are pursuing a non-traditional path with a non-traditional background. Being a business student, I’ve learned that learning the fundamental tools and workflow of XR development are definitely important, but people from other skill sets such as audio, animation, modeling, marketing, and more are also important when creating any project. The best teams at the hackathon were those who had such a diversity of skills and backgrounds.

Finally, immersing yourself in the community can foster new ideas and help you grow faster. When I left the MIT Reality Virtually Hackathon, I left having made many new friendships and relationships in the XR space, as well as having a newfound motivation and inspiration to start working on new ideas. I even decided to drop a course this semester to spend more time working on projects.

Very few hackathons offer such a unique experience where diversity of backgrounds and ideas are encouraged. I highly encourage any individuals who are curious and hungry to learn more about XR to apply to the hackathon next year. Who knows reader, we might work on the same team next time!