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MBA Students Win Over Investors in Mock Real Estate Development Challenge

October 30, 2013
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A rendering of the mixed-use urban project proposed by University of Miami students.

A pair of students from the School’s Accelerated MBA in Real Estate program gained hands-on experience with real estate leaders and explored a mixed-use development case study as part of “The Power Developers Challenge” at the CBRE Multihousing Summit on October 8.

The annual event, held at The Four Seasons Miami, brought together over 500 real estate owners, operators, investors, and multifamily experts for a day of thought leadership and networking.

University of Miami MBA students Catherine Cai and Tom Speno, who are also interns at Swire Properties and Banyan Street Capital respectively, were joined by Mitch O’Reilly, a Master in Real Estate Development and Urbanism (MRED) student in the School of Architecture.

The University of Miami team was tasked with presenting a mock urban development deal to an audience of potential investors, which consisted of actual real estate investors and professionals who would select the most attractive project to invest in. Meanwhile, a team of rival investors from the University of Florida proposed a project for a suburban development.

   
Pictured: Accelerated MBA in Real Estate students Catherine Cai (left) and Tom Speno (middle).

The University of Miami team proposed a mixed-use project featuring retail shops on the ground floor and 51 residential units after selecting a site on Alton Road in Miami Beach, designing the building and conducting a financial analysis for the project.  The team also received guidance from real estate professionals while formulating their projects.

The audience ultimately selected the University of Miami team’s project as the most attractive venture. Moderator Tim Peterson, chief financial officer of Altman Companies, praised the team’s financial analysis for winning over the potential investors. 

“It was a great learning experience,” said Cai. “We study from textbooks but it was a different experience to apply what we learn in the classroom to a real-life condo development.”

“We had invaluable access to industry professionals, and it was also a unique opportunity to walk through a whole project from start to finish,” added Speno.

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