This November, my beloved Mentor/Peer Advisor/Graduate Real Estate Society President talked me into participating in this competition, even though I was 100% confident I would be unable to succeed since I had never actually built a real estate model before. I then realized that this would be an amazing opportunity to prepare for a summer internship in real estate, and it absolutely was.
Let me back up and explain this competition. UT had 9 teams participating, with one MBA student per team. There are around 200 teams competing in this competition nationwide. Our task was to take a case study based on a potential piece of property, come up with a design consisting of anything from office, commercial, multi family, retail, etc. etc., and make sure that it will be financially profitable by building a Pro Forma model and pricing out each property on the potential campus.
School started on January 17th. As did the competition. It continued throughout the first two weeks of school as I was put on a team with other graduate students in the school of architecture, landscape architecture, and urban planning. We received our case on the first day, and this year, the site happened to be in Houston! For me this was great, since I have lived in Houston my whole life and know the area like the back of my hand. Although I was not the designer, I was able to give them tips on what might and might not work in that area.
And so we began to plan. The days were long, the design was ever changing, and the task at hand was beyond challenging. As I mentioned earlier, it was totally worth it.
We did not have our final design until the last 3 or so days. This means I really couldn’t do much of the financial modeling until crunch time. Let me tell you, crunch time was intense. Luckily the 9 MBAs participating were all helping each other based on our past professional experiences and combining our research. I learned more during this process than I could have ever imagined. I now feel so much more confident going into a summer internship than I did before participating in this.
Now, the question people always ask me when I talk about this competition…… Did we win???
Unfortunately, I don’t know yet! The judgement process is a long one, and there are 200 teams participating, so I am not exactly holding my breath. I am just glad I was able to participate in such an experience and would highly suggest it to any first year real estate students next year who really need exposure to the financial side of the business!
Sidenote – If you have emailed me with questions about the Real Estate program here at McCombs (or with any other questions for that matter) and I haven’t gotten back with you, please email me again! I try my best to keep up, but as you now know, my first few weeks of school were pretty swamped and I might have lost track of a few of you!