In mid-to-late April, three University of San Diego student teams vied in three separate real estate competitions that pitted them against other top teams from colleges and universities globally, nationally and locally.
The team of Alex Leonard, Skye Morland, Dan Buoye, Mike Kelly and Bryan Grissinger (pictured above, left to right), all students in USD’s Master of Science in Real Estate program, entered the third annual Argus Software University Challenge. The team, which had Professor Charles Tu as its faculty advisor, earned a second-place finish, a $4,000 award and recognition as the top team from the United States. York University in Toronto won the title, but USD placed ahead of 27 other teams including schools such as Cornell, University of Chicago, Clemson, University of Colorado, University of Pennsylvania, Vanderbilt and New York University.
The competition required each team to simulate a comprehensive, real-life development analysis of a fictitious commercial real estate project through the use of Argus software. A panel of academic and industry professionals judged the entries.
A second USD team, consisting of undergraduate students Brandon Arner, Eric Hertel, Dietrich Nascimento, Milan Brandon, Adrian Hochstrasser (pictured, left to right) and Cassie Wells (not pictured), competed in the International Case Competition hosted by the University of Southern California. Advised by instructor John Demas, the USD team earned third place in this invitation-only event. It marked the first time a USD team had placed in this competition, which included teams from Wisconsin, USC, University of Texas-Austin, Villanova, University of Auckland, University of Colorado and New York University.
The USC event required the teams to address a real-world real estate problem as posed by leading practitioners in the real estate industry. Cases were judged by 25 of the top real estate leaders in Southern California and beyond.
The third USD real estate student team, also comprised of undergraduate students, competed in a local event, the NAIOP-San Diego University Challenge, with teams from University of California, San Diego and San Diego State University.
The three-person USD team, consisting of junior Jameson Johnson, seniors Kelly Ness and Cowas Jehangir and advised by faculty member Vivek Sah (pictured, left to right), vied in this case competition that was ultimately won by SDSU.
The students were asked to provide their recommendations on the highest and best use of a piece of property owned by Policy Advisory Board Executive Committee member Ash Israni. The property in question, located at 2045 Pacific Highway in Little Italy, is one block from the San Diego harbor. The USD team’s recommendation was to build a boutique hotel there, capitalizing on the location’s viewing opportunities and a demand for hotel space in the San Diego region.
The competitions proved to be a formidable task for all students involved. It gave them a real-world experience, showcased critical thinking skills and expanded their knowledge base.
— Inside USD staff
Learn more about USD’s Burnham-Moores Center for Real Estate, graduate and undergraduate degree programs.