Featured (List) Featured (Slider) News

MU Students Compete in National Mulroy Real Estate Challenge

A group of Monmouth’s real estate students advanced to the semi-finals of Villanova’s Mulroy Real Estate Challenge. The competition took place from Thursday to Friday, Feb. 2-3, at The Union League of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

The Mulroy Real Estate Challenge is a national case competition hosted by the Villanova School of Business’ Daniel M. DiLella Center for Real Estate where teams representing universities across the country compete against one another.

Gina McKeever, DBA, Lecturer and Interim Director for the Kislak Real Estate Institute, advised and mentored Monmouth’s team, consisting of Aaron Chang, Alexa Prus, Carson Rooney, and James Huber.

“We enter the Villanova case competition every year. As the group’s advisor, I wanted to put together a team of real estate students that would be enthusiastic about the opportunity and remain committed through the entire process,” said McKeever.

There were 23 entrants for this year’s competition from 17 different higher education institutions, including California Polytechnic State University, Georgetown University, Pennsylvania State University, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and Virginia Tech.

According to McKeever, each group is given the same raw parcel of land in which students must prepare a development proposal given zoning constraints, cost assumptions, and potential inclusion of affordable housing.

“We had to study the land feasibility of the area (Austin, Texas) and worked together in calculating our financials for the development in hopes of creating the desired returns for our ‘investors,’” elaborated Chang, a senior real estate student. “Along with this, we had to incorporate creative and environmentally friendly components to our building, such as green roofs, maintaining the existence of pre-existing trees, and the positioning of our building.”

According to McKeever, the groups had a week to analyze the site and market and prepare a 20-slide PowerPoint. After the group advanced to Round 16, they earned the opportunity to present their proposal at the Union League of Philadelphia.

Although Monmouth’s team did not make it to the finals, the group still found the experience rewarding.
Prus, a senior real estate and finance student, said, “I am honored and grateful to have had the opportunity to work alongside such a talented and dedicated development team… The collaboration, commitment and hard work displayed by each member made for a truly unforgettable experience— I couldn’t have asked for a better team to work with!”

“Getting ready for the competition was a challenging yet rewarding experience for all of us. Even though the preparation spanned over four months, it felt as though time flew by,” concurred Chang. “During this time, the four of us bonded and got to know each other as great friends. When we finally made it to the actual competition, we finally met other students and professionals who endured the same process.”

McKeever underscored the many reasons why experiential education opportunities such as these are important for students. She began, “The team was exposed to a practical application of theories learned in class. The site was a raw parcel of land, and students got to see firsthand the intricacies and details that go into ground up development.”

In addition to the educational benefits, the Mulroy Challenge advanced students’ social networking abilities as well.

“They [the students] bonded as a team and expanded their professional network. Many members of the Leon Hess Business School’s Business Council sat through mock presentations and provided valuable feedback. Students also met other real estate students from universities throughout the country and practitioners who judged the competition,” expanded McKeever.

Prus added, “It is important for students who are aspiring real estate professionals to participate in challenges like these because they provide valuable opportunities for exposure as we were able to network with other young professionals and development companies.”

Prus and Chang both attributed the team’s success to McKeever’s mentorship.

“Dr. McKeever was truly the best we could have asked for. She provided guidance, knowledge, and her support throughout the entire process— whether it was sitting with us for countless hours or being there as a friend when we needed it most,” said Chang.

“I’m proud of all the time and effort the students invested in the competition. It was a great experience for me and the team,” said McKeever.