USC Price School of Public Policy

Dollinger MRED students win two real estate case competitions

December 16, 2013
USC Price students, along with Professor Chris Redfearn and Sonia Savoulian, pose with the Silver Shovel.

USC Price students, along with Professor Chris Redfearn and Sonia Savoulian, pose with the Silver Shovel.

Students from the Dollinger Master of Real Estate Development program at the USC Price School of Public Policy recently won two prestigious real estate case competitions — the National Real Estate Challenge in Austin, Tex., and the NAIOP USC vs. UCLA Real Estate Challenge in Los Angeles.

Associate professor and MRED director Chris Redfearn called it “a milestone moment for USC’s graduate real estate programs.”

“Each year, as our students prepare to take part in these competitions, they are asked to hold to two guiding principles: to represent USC proudly and to put in every effort to make a proposal that they would invest in,” Redfearn said. “Both of our teams honored this commitment. The quality of their performances, against the backdrop of the quality of the competition, puts USC at the top of real estate education.”

Members of the winning USC team at the National Real Estate Challenge in Austin, Tex.

Members of the winning USC team at the National Real Estate Challenge in Austin, Tex.

The National Real Estate Challenge, which took place at the University of Texas on Nov. 19-20, featured 16 highly regarded MBA and MRED programs across the country, including UC Berkeley, Chicago, Columbia, Cornell, Georgetown, Michigan, Northwestern, NYU, UCLA, UNC- Chapel Hill, Texas, Vanderbilt, Virginia, Pennsylvania’s Wharton School and Wisconsin.

The USC team consisted of Peter Hillakas, MRED ’14; Clay Madding, MBA/MRED ’14; Scott Moffatt, MBA/MRED ’14; Marc Rasmussen, MBA/MRED ’14; Mike Bjerke, MBA ’14; and Jason Ceglarz, MBA ’14.

The competition focused on a real estate investment case on behalf of an institutional fund. The students were tasked with conducting a financial and strategic analysis for two office building opportunities.

Meanwhile, the NAIOP Real Estate Challenge – held at USC’s Town & Gown ballroom on Nov. 21 – featured a team of USC students competing against their cross-town counterparts from UCLA. The NAIOP (National Association for Industrial and Office Parks) is a leading professional association in the field of commercial real estate development.

The USC team included: Stephen Anderson, MRED ’14; Daniel Bertao, MRED ’14; Nick D’Argenzio, MRED ’14; Matt Keipper, MRED ’14; and Christian Santos, MRED ’14.

In the NAIOP competition, the students were asked to present the highest and best use on a development site. This year, the parcel was a prime water front location in Long Beach.

Both teams suggested a mixed-use project incorporating retail stores, a hotel and apartments. But in addition to that, the USC students also responded to concerns from the community, city council and California Coast Commission with a well-designed and financially feasible proposal.

With the victory, the NAIOP competition’s prize – the Silver Shovel – will remain at USC for the second straight year.