On Thursday, February 2nd, a team of four undergraduate Real Estate Badgers, George Schelble, Brewster Nolan, Wes Gervais, and Ben Cummings, traveled to Philadelphia to compete in the Mulroy Real Estate Challenge. The development-based case competition is hosted by the Villanova School of Business, and provides fantastic hands-on learning experience for all student participants.
On the night of their arrival, the team attended a welcome reception and dinner, receiving their room assignments and presentation time slot for the following day. The dinner provided a great opportunity to network with real estate professionals and other teams. The Wisconsin team made final preparations back at the hotel, and went to bed tired from a long day but excited for the opportunity that awaited them the following morning.
The 16 semifinalist teams were broken up into four rooms to present in front of three judges. One team from each room was selected to progress to the final round to present in front of ten judges and the other student teams. Wisconsin had the fourth and final presentation time slot in the morning semifinal round, and delivered a fantastic development proposal.
The proposal was a mixed-use development plan on a 2.25-acre parcel of land in Austin, Texas. The plan included 110 affordable units, 110 market units, and 28,800 SF of retail space. They performed a feasibility analysis including four different uses, met stringent Imagine Austin density bonus requirements, developed a retail leasing strategy to meet community needs, added sustainability features to reduce operating expenses, and provided a risk mitigation strategy for each step of the process.
The first judge to provide feedback in the morning said it was the best presentation he had ever seen as a judge in the competition. After 10 minutes of questioning and 5 minutes of general feedback, the team left the morning round feeling confident about their chances of making it to the finals. Shortly after, a Philly cheesesteak lunch was provided as the teams waited for the finalists to be announced. The Wisconsin team was thrilled to hear their name announced and quickly prepared to give the first presentation of the final round.
In front of 12 judges and over 200 people in total, the team once again knocked their pitch out of the park. Additionally, the team provided solid and composed answers for the questions directed their way by the final judges. The Wisconsin team then was able to watch the other teams present, and hear alternative ways to approach the case. After the final presentation and judge deliberations, Wisconsin was announced as the runner-up 2nd place finisher. The team was excited to have placed so high and grateful for the amazing experience of participating in the case competition.
Thank you to Villanova University and the DiLella Center for Real Estate for hosting our students and putting on such an amazing competition!