Real Estate 1

Real Estate Team Brings Home First Place Prize

The Monmouth University real estate team received a first-place prize for the second consecutive year on Friday, Nov. 13. The intercollegiate competition, titled “Monmouth University Kislak Real Estate Institute Competition,” also consisted of students from Baruch College, Lehigh University, and Villanova University.

The team was given one month to develop a proposal for the highest and best use of a property, which was a mobile home park located in Highlands, NJ.

“It’s a very rigorous month,” said James Azarian, senior business student and captain of the real estate team. “We all see it as the equivalent of the internship. We’re dealing with real life issues and real-world scenarios. Some of us want to go into real estate development, so this could help us when we go into the job market and tell them we worked on a development proposal. It’s a good experience.”

Real Estate 2The $5,000 first place prize was divided among the team members, which included Captain James Azarian, Annalaan LeMay, Sergio Martinez, Michael Pavicic and bench players Joseph Zecchino, Jack Cusack, Michael Gauthier, Olivia Mackie. Irene McFarland, Specialist Professor of the Kislak Real Estate Institute and the Department of Economics, Finance, and Real Estate, coached the team through the competition.

“As the team’s advisor, I guide the students on how to approach the process of responding to the case prompt, suggest resources for them to obtain relevant information, answer questions and generally act as a sounding board,” McFarland said. “However, the development proposal and presentation are their work, reflecting their ideas, creativity and analysis. What they put together was truly impressive.”

Although the real estate team has been competing for the past three years, Azarian stated that this is the first big year for them. “Because we won a competition last year, our team grew and we gained a lot of recognition at Monmouth and in New Jersey,” he said. “Even in these tumultuous times, the team was able to combat adversity and retain our title.”

Business administration student and team member Sergio Martinez said, “Winning the Kislak Real Estate Competition was one of my goals this academic year. I always believed this team complements each other and that we are academically prepared to perform. I am very happy to have won this competition and made great friends.”

Real Estate 3The Kislak Real Estate Institute was established as a part of the Leon Hess Business School so that Monmouth could “play a more active role in the economic and educational development of the State of New Jersey,” according to the University’s website.

“These competitions offer up real challenges that people in the real estate business are facing today, including how and where people live, play and work,” McFarland said. She also noted that the competitions allow students to gain exposure to a prestigious panel of judges and other industry leaders who scout students for jobs and internships, expanding their professional networks.

“This competition has helped to better understand the real estate development process, to work in a team, to think outside the box, and to test different ideas and identify which ones work best financially,” added Martinez.

“The students who participated in this intercollegiate real estate competition are extremely hardworking, dedicated and passionate about real estate,” said McFarland. “Seeing their efforts recognized with a first-place award is enormously gratifying. I am so proud of the way they worked together as a team and pushed themselves to deliver a very creative and thorough proposal for a very challenging development project. These students are terrific ambassadors of the University.”

Real Estate 4

The Kislak Real Estate Institute also recently entered another team of students for the first time in a retail real estate challenge hosted by the International Council of Shopping Centers (ICSC), McFarland said. The Monmouth ICSC team, consisting of Zach Greiner, Olivia Mackie, Ryan Lupo, Michael Gauthier, and Emily Barreira, were coached by an industry mentor to develop a proposal for a new IKEA store.

“This is one of the more prominent real estate professional associations,” McFarland said. “While our team did not win over the other eight schools who competed, the judges and industry mentor who worked with our students were highly complementary of the Monmouth team’s performance, particularly since they were new to the process. The student participants all said it was an incredible experience and they were pleased by how much they learned.”

PHOTOS COURTESY of James Azarian