In the rarest of cases, you come across advertising on social networks that actually appeals to you, let alone interests you. Now, via LinkedIn in February 2021, I was recommended an application link to a Blockchain Challenge at the University of Basel that was still unknown to me, and low and behold, an advertisement that actually met my interest.
Since 2017, the University of Basel has been hosting an annual challenge where students are once again “lured” out of the lecture halls, or even by the pending COVID-19 chaos, from their desks at home and can prove their technical, business development and presentation skills. For this year, a remote only event has been created for the first time.
After a short and uncomplicated online application, suitable candidates are finally invited to a kick-off event where the approximately 25 students are assigned to their teams. They then have the opportunity to join one of the 8 participating project partners and work on the corresponding business case. This year, AXA, BearingPoint, Burckhardt, Bank CLER, Credit Suisse Asset Management, Novartis, Swisscom and TopPharm participated as partners. After the respective teams together with their partners had been determined, the Challenge was ready to start: Over the next 10 weeks, the current progress on the case was presented in several interim presentations, with the goal of pitching the results and a prototype by the time of the final gala presentation, which this year was attended by around 350 spectators.
In the case of Team 7, the team of 4 to which I was assigned, we chose Credit Suisse Asset Management as our project partner. Our case dealt with the basic problem of ” liquifying” unused premises or space of commercial real estate. Since the real estate market is defined by long-term and inflexible contracts, there is a need to simplify and make the resulting negative consequences as flexible as possible, especially in unpredictable times. Especially tenants and subtenants in such challenging situations, as it has been the case in 2020, are looking for easy ways to pass on their unused space to people who have the current need for it.
Even though it was not enough for our team to achieve a top ranking, we were all able to gain a lot from this project. Not only were we able to prove the skills we have gathered so far, but we were also able to make the valuable experience of working on a joint project with a reputable company from the very beginning to the final presentation. Especially the aspect that the problem was approached with the help of a new and above all promising technology, such as the Blockchain technology, has once again underlined the actual value of the project and made the entire challenge future-oriented and relevant.
Even though I don’t want to directly advertise the Challenge here (since I don’t personally benefit from it anyway), I can only encourage everyone to look for practical projects where you can prove the acquired theoretical knowledge from Frankfurt School in practice and challenge yourself a bit. You will not regret it!