Cornell Students Win Real Estate Competition

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L to R: Christine Boyd '12, Andrew Quinn '12, Steven Rowe '12, Darren Wang '12, Siheng Han '12, Omer Ben-Zur '12

A team of six students from Cornell’s undergraduate minor in real estate earned first place in the third annual Cornell International Real Estate Case Competition on November 10. This marked the second win for the Cornell team since the competition was established by the Center for Real Estate and Finance in 2009.

Cornell's team—Omer Ben-Zur '12, Christine Boyd HumEc '12, Siheng Han '12, Andrew Quinn '12, and Steven Rowe '12, and Darren Wang '12, with Amy Yao '13, Collin Hoo '12, and Shirley Gu '13 as alternates—won the competition after beating last year’s champion New York University, Indiana University, and Maastricht University in preliminary judging. In the final round, Cornell went up against the team from University of Wisconsin at Madison, who ultimately took second place, and the team from Pennsylvania State University, who placed third. Other teams competing in the event were Renmin University of China, University of Connecticut, University of Guelph, University of Michigan, and Villanova University.

"I was so impressed by all the teams that participated this year. Each analysis was smart and insightful, and the hard work the students put into their presentations was obvious," said Daniel Quan, Singapore Tourism Board Distinguished Professor in Asian Hospitality Management at Cornell's School of Hotel Administration, who organized the event. "The caliber of competition has grown each year. We also had the most teams ever, with eleven universities represented, and we were able to offer the largest prizes so far—$10,000 for first place, $4,000 for second, and $2,000 for third."

After having four days to analyze and prepare investment recommendations for a case developed by Clarion Partners and based on an actual strategic financial positioning management project in Manhattan, the eleven teams convened at TIAA-CREF headquarters in New York City to present in front of the panel of judges. When giving their presentations, the teams acted as imaginary advisory firms so that the judges did not know from which school each team came. Their assignment was to give a 20-minute presentation on their planned strategy and to answer questions from the judges.

In addition to Quan, the Cornell team was coached by Judi Brownell, dean of students and professor of management and organizational behavior, and Wally Boudry, assistant professor of real estate.

Judges of the competition were Peter Baccile CALS '84, vice chairman, J.P. Morgan Securities Inc.; John E. Beaman, head claros trader, AREA Property Partners; Sally Gordon, managing director, risk and quantitative analysis group, BlackRock; Alan M. Krause A&S ’52, MBA ’53, chairman, Mid‐America Management Corporation; Trevor Michael, managing director, global real estate, TIAA‐CREF; Joanna Mulford, principal, Prudential Real Estate Investors; John G. Orrico, president, National Realty and Development Corporation; Michael Profenius, private real estate investor; Kevin Riordan, president and CEO, CreXus Investment Corporation; and Robert Vahradian, senior managing director, GTIS.

Sponsors of the competition were Archon Hospitality, AREA Property Partners, BlackRock, Clarion Partners, Golden Tree Insite, Mid‐America Management Corporation, National Realty & Development Corporation, Prudential Real Estate Investors, TIAA‐CREF, Westbrook Partners, and Westport Capital Partners.

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