Wharton team wins Villanova Real Estate Challenge

"Team Work" – as the four students called themselves – defeated 15 other groups

· April 7, 2013, 9:35 pm

After four days and a couple of all-nighters, Wharton students pulled through a win in the 4th Annual Villanova Real Estate Challenge.

Last Friday, Wharton juniors Michael Mirski, Joe Slosburg and Eric Wright, along with Wharton senior Jay Yang were announced winners of the challenge. The group, called “Team Work,” won a grand prize of $5,000, defeating 15 other teams representing top undergraduate real estate programs from across the country.

Students were given the task of developing real estate for a plot of land in west Manhattan that would help improve the neighborhood. The challenge is based off an ongoing project called “Hudson Yards” to create a new urban neighborhood for 15 billion dollars in New York City, according to Yang.

The Wharton team decided to create a 36-story apartment, retail and office combination.

“What we envisioned is a mix that caters to a young demographic, especially with the trend of technology and startups moving into New York City,” Yang said.

The team received the case on the morning of Monday, April 1 and worked for approximately 30 hours, conducting research and analysis until Thursday evening in preparation for their Friday presentation judged by senior executives in top firms in the real estate industry.

Yang added that the team used their individual strengths and experiences to create the final product.

“I think the core takeaway from doing development work is how much it draws upon different areas of real estate,” said fellow team member Mirski.

Two members of “Team Work,” along with other students, also took first prize in a competition sponsored by Cornell University in November 2012, where the team received a different real estate challenge.

Wright, who participated in both challenges, said, “Cornell is cool because there’s a quantitative element, but this one has a lot more creativity involved.”

He added that he enjoyed the experience because he was able to work closely with his classmates and do what developers in the real world do on a day-to-day basis.

“I thought it was really valuable,” Wright said. “It’s always interesting to do a case when you have time pressure. Everything moves really quickly … It’s all kind of real time action.”

A previous version of this article stated that there were two students on the team. In fact, there were four students on the team. Additionally, the prize for winning the competition is $5,000 not $1,000.

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