Sixth Annual Cornell International Real Estate Case Competition

2014 Cornell Real Estate Case Competition: A Record Field, An Intense Experience

Word has gotten around about the Cornell International Real Estate Case Competition. Come ready to learn and ready to compete. A total of sixteen teams from four continents traveled to New York City to participate in the November 2014 competition, which gives teams of six students just five days to prepare an analysis of an actual commercial real estate transaction.

In this year’s competition, participants were asked to step in as the development team of an international real estate private equity fund. Their challenge was to evaluate a project in Redwood City, California, where a local developer was planning the redevelopment of a vacant office building into high-end multifamily residences. The case required teams to conduct both a careful market analysis and feasibility study as well as to evaluate the soundness of the partnership agreement proposed by the developer.

Competition organizer Daniel Quan, a professor at the Cornell School of Hotel Administration and academic director of the Cornell Center for Real Estate and Finance, added that the student teams stepped up their presentations this year. Although the judges asked the student teams challenging questions, the judges were also impressed by the students’ knowledge and extensive analysis.

The top teams in the 2014 competition were, in order, University of British Columbia, University of Wisconsin, University of Connecticut, University of Aberdeen, and University of Guelph. The top winning teams share in the nearly $22,000 in prize money offered by sponsors. Other competing teams were Brown University, Chinese University of Hong Kong, Cornell University, Indiana University, McGill University, New York University, Renmin University, University of Cambridge, University of Sydney, University of Texas, and Villanova University.

This year’s competition featured a presentation by WX (New York Women Executives in Real Estate), which was well attended and received with 18 participants. Quan expressed his appreciation for the WX participation and for the organization’s members who took the time to spend with students to encourage them in their pursuits.

During the five days of the competition, the student teams prepare their analysis of the case and make their recommendations regarding the transaction. After a preliminary presentation round, five remaining finalist teams present their case solution to the full panel of judges. These real estate experts determine a winner based on the best overall analysis and presentation. The teams are judged not only on their investment recommendations, their approach to the problem, and their presentation skills, but also on their ability to answer and respond to questions posed by the judges.

The competition is supported by an all-star lineup of corporate sponsors, led by Title Sponsor TIAA-CREF. Other sponsors include YOTEL (the official hotel sponsor), Ackman-Ziff, Cantor Commercial Real Estate, Clarion Partners, Criterion Real Estate Capital, Grove International Partners, Macklowe Properties, Moody’s Investors Service, National Realty & Development Corporation, Paramount Lodging Advisors, Prudential Real Estate Investors, Sawyer Realty Holdings, Silverstein Properties, Inc., The Carlyle Group, Tishman Realty Corporation, Westbrook Partners. The competition is also funded in part by the Marjorie Boas Levins and Jack Levins /F.H.T. Rhodes Real Estate Case Competition Fund.