MBA Students Place Third in 2019 National Real Estate Challenge

Real Estate Challenge Winners

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A team of Georgetown MBA students placed third in the 2019 National Real Estate Challenge at the University of Texas at Austin. Georgetown McDonough was among 20 top business schools participating in the case-based real estate competition.

The group consisted of Jimmy Kukral (MBA’20), Juan Cadena Rojas (MBA’20), Simone Nelsen (MBA’21), Zachary Albert (MBA’20), Faizan Qureshi (MBA’20), and Ann Schirrmeister (MBA’21).

This year’s challenge focused on transforming market-rate housing for a fictitious city into affordable housing for low-income citizens. With market-rate housing, the government doesn’t regulate rent prices, while with affordable housing, the government puts a cap on maximum housing prices. The team played the role of investors who had to analyze whether the conversion to affordable housing would be a smart opportunity.

The team then presented its findings in a 20-minute presentation to a panel of judges. The group argued that the investment was compelling after analyzing the returns and the risks of the deal.

In addition to a $5,000 prize, the students received experience they can leverage professionally.

“This will benefit me tremendously. I cannot tell you the number of times I have discussed cases while meeting with alumni or a professional in the real estate field. It is a great topic of conversation that allows you to show what you have learned, but also gain that individual’s insights,” Albert said.

The team also used the experience to gain insights from one another. “The UT Austin case competition was an absolute blast. Not only was the trip itself fun, but I learned an immense amount from my teammates. Each of the six of us have distinct backgrounds and prior work experiences, which meant everyone brought something unique to the table and was able to contribute,” said Nelsen.

Steers Center for Global Real Estate Director Matthew Cypher said the team’s performance will enhance the reputation of real estate at Georgetown McDonough.

“The third place finish from our MBA students is extremely significant to the Steers Center and our development because we view this competition as one of the most competitive in the United States and to be among the top three teams is a testament to the progress we are making as a program,” Cypher said.