Real Estate Team Competes in the Villanova Real Estate Challenge

The University’s real estate team took home fourth place in the Villanova Real Estate Challenge against 16 other teams from universities throughout the United States.

This was the second year in a row that the team has made it to the final four of the competition. Dr. Peter Reinhart, director of the Kislak Real Estate Institute and specialist professor, said, “The fact that we made it to the finals was just awesome for a relatively small school against very big schools.”

The Villanova Real Estate Challenge took place during the week of April 1 in Philadelphia, PA. The other universities in the competition included New York University, Wharton, Cornell, Penn State, Georgetown, Indiana University, Drexel, Florida State, Lehigh, University of North Carolina, University of Wisconsin-Madison, Virginia Commonwealth, Villanova and York.

According to Reinhart, each university picked a team of four members. The University’s team was made up of Jacob Menture, Cliff Green, Shaneil Stokes and Chris Cianfarini. Three of the members on the team are senior business majors with a concentration in real estate. Cianfarini called himself the “black sheep” because he is the only business major with a concentration in economics and finance. Each team had to pick a team name so the judges of the competition would not know which team was from which school. Menture, Green, Stokes and Cianfarini picked the name “Synergy Capital Investors.”

On the morning of April 1, all of the teams received an email of an analysis of a complicated real estate situation. According to Reinhart, the teams did not know what the case was going to be and they were not allowed to have any help from anyone else, including him. However, they were allowed to use the Internet, but only if it was free. Reinhart said that paid websites could put teams at an advantage.

Green believed that the hardest part of the competition was the timeline and the limit on their resources. “We were only given three and a half days to prepare the case and were allowed no outside information that could provide us real time quotes and market advice, something we would have had access to [if] we [were] involved in an actual development project,” Green said.

Each team had to put together a PowerPoint presentation of no more than 20 slides and prepare a verbal presentation. They were able to work on everything until midday on Thursday, April 4. The actual Villanova Real Estate Challenge would take place the next day in an office building belonging to Ernst & Young.

On Friday, April 5, the teams were picked randomly into four different brackets. Judges were then split up to listen and watch all of the different presentations. After each team presented, the judges selected one team from each bracket to create the final four. Once the final four were selected, the whole competition was moved to the The Bellevue Stratford hotel so everyone involved in the competition could watch the final presentation. The winners were then announced immediately after the final four presentations.

“It’s just random who goes first, second, third and fourth. We went fourth so I got to see the other four presentations,” said Reinhart. Wharton had won first place, while Indiana University won second and Penn State won third. Even though the University received fourth place, Reinhart felt that “Synergy Capital Investors” had the best presentation. He said that other people watching the presentations agreed with him, too.

Along with a trophy, each team member won $500. “Even though it was an honor to place fourth in this national challenge and we were proud of the work we had put in, the team was disappointed that we were ranked fourth out of the competition,” said Cianfarini. He and the other team members felt that their presentation deserved a higher rank.

Menture said that during their presentation, he overheard the team from Wharton say, “Wow, they are good.”

Even though the team members were disappointed, they still enjoyed being a part of the Villanova Real Estate Challenge. Menture said, “The best part of it was really working with the other guys and making some really good friends. Each one of us [is] very intelligent and it was one of the first times outside of the workplace that I worked in a group so fluent and in sync.”

Cianfarini agreed with Menture. “Together the team accomplished a difficult task and enjoyed the rush of competition at the Villanova Challenge,” he said.