Throughout the Fall semester, a team of Baker Program in Real Estate and Johnson Graduate School of Management students were busy preparing for the annual University of Texas National Real Estate Competition. This annual competition pits student teams of six from the top graduate real estate programs in the country in a competition for creative problem solving, ingenious financing, and resourcefulness. This year, 19 teams represented UC Berkeley, Carnegie Mellon, Chicago, Columbia, Cornell, Georgetown, Michigan, MIT, Northwestern, NYU, Rice, UCLA, UNC-Chapel Hill, USC, UT-Austin, Vanderbilt, Wharton, Wisconsin and Yale. Coming off a strong 4th place finish in 2013, Cornell entered the competition with high expectations.
The 2014 team brought together a talented lineup of Baker and Johnson students. Team member included Vince Clark (MSRE '15), Ian Hunter (MSRE '15), Spencer Burton (MSRE '15), and Evan Smith (MSRE/MBA '15). The team was co-captained by Brandon Moss (MBA'15) and Nicholas Martinez (MSRE '15). In addition, Annamaria Lookman (MSRE '16) and William Woodworth (MBA '16) were first-year understudies and will be co-captains of the 2015 team. The team prepared for the competition for over two months, coached by Baker Program in Real Estate Senior Lecturer and former Program Director Brad Olson and Baker Program Advisory Board Member Jon Minikes (AB '60, JD '62). Regarding their coaches, Vince Clark reflected, "they had very different styles, but the combination worked well. It got us in the mindset of planning to present to individuals who would have different reactions to the same proposal. More importantly, neither of them were easy on us when we made mistakes.
The week prior to the competition, the case was distributed. Teams were tasked with choosing between two viable development opportunities, one retail and one residential, within the Boston Fenway sub-market. Teams then had 72 hours to work on a solution, financial plan, a design plan, and all other aspects pertaining to the case, including exhibits. Furthermore, teams were required to prepare a 20-slide presentation for the panel of judges at the competition. The team flew down to Austin on November 20 to present their case.
After moving to the final round via winning an initial round of team presentations, the Cornell team was awarded 3rd place, the first time a Baker Program-led team has placed that high. After delivering on expectations this year, the bar is raised for next year and beyond. Lookman and Woodworth look forward to leading the charge in 2015.
To watch the Cornell team's presentation in Austin, please visit: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H8X-bHYdBWg
For more information on the University of Texas National Real Estate Challenge, please visit: https://www.mccombs.utexas.edu/Centers/REFIC/Real-Estate-Challenge.aspx