MBA Students Place Third at UNC Real Estate Development Challenge

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In February, four first-year MBA students — Mutafa Popal, Kevin North, Beth Carr, and Alex Hermance — placed third at the University of North Carolina Real Estate Development Challenge. The McDonough students presented their findings to top real estate industry judges and competed against 15 other teams from the United States and Europe for $20,000 in cash prizes.

The students were tasked with creating a plan to develop 100 acres at a former army base in Atlanta, Georgia. The teams analyzed real data and considered the location’s current community. The McDonough students ultimately proposed splitting the land into quadrants to phase out the project over time.

“It was a very broad case. I think it came down to coming up with an intelligent plan and being able to justify it with analyzing the market demand, looking at what kind of products make sense there, what makes sense given the restrictions on the actual land itself,” said Popal, president of the Georgetown Real Estate Society.

Since the creation of the Steers Center for Global Real Estate in 2015, McDonough students have placed third at the competition twice. To prepare for the event, the team sought advice from other members of the Real Estate Society.

“It’s like a small family here in the real estate program. That makes it one of our competitive advantages as an MBA program,” Popal said.