The winning team.
The winning team.

A team of students from The Schulich School of Business at York University in Toronto won first place in the eighth annual Developers’ Den international case competition, beating 11 teams from leading graduate business and professional school programs. Teams of MBA students from Ivey School of Business and the Schulich School of Business placed second and third, respectively.

Started in 2011, Developers’ Den is Canada’s longest running real estate case competition.

The winning team was made up of Schulich MREI students Alannah Bird, Derek Wei, Jordan Trinder and Bao Nguyen, who received a $6,000 prize. Ivey’s MBA team, Evan Reidel, Eric Koehn and Jarvis Lu, placed second and received $3,000. Schulich’s MBA team, Zachary Weinstock, Sam Magalnik, Asfar Rana and Parminder Dod, finished third and received $1,500.

The final-round presentation and awards reception drew over 100 industry representatives, who joined with 14 expert judges to watch North America’s top real estate students perform and network with the competitors and industry peers.

“The Developers’ Den competition provides an important opportunity for the best students to develop and showcase their analytical, creative and presentation skills as emerging talent in front of leaders within the real property sector,” says Jim Clayton, who was recently appointed to the Timothy R. Price Chair at Schulich’s Brookfield Centre in Real Estate and Infrastructure. “We are grateful for the tremendous support the competition receives from industry and alumni.”

The hypothetical case was prepared by volunteers of the Alumni Organizing Committee in partnership with global real estate investor, developer and manager Oxford Properties Group. The case involved Oxford’s DIX30, a 210-acre site comprising a 2.7-million-square-foot outdoor integrated lifestyle/retail centre in Brossard, Que., on Montreal’s South Shore. Phase 1 of the competition required teams to provide a 10-year strategic plan to drive the centre’s asset value while exploring a retail strategy and opportunities available through a master planning exercise.

A twist was introduced in Phase 2 of the competition, when finalist teams were presented with an unsolicited offer to buy the property, recently valued at $716 million, for $800 million. Teams were tasked to assess the viability of the potential sale, considering current valuations, tenant activity and rent roll, as well as a competing adjacent property. Teams opting to hold the property were challenged to recommend ways to increase its value, while producing incentives and/or improvements to retain the 50 per cent of tenants with expiring leases over the next three years in the face of a competing mixed-use community under construction next door.

“The competition was fierce as teams from each school brought forth their best and brightest, showcasing their skills with a healthy dose of competitive spirit,” says Christian Petersen, co-chair of the Developers’ Den Alumni Organizing Committee and a Schulich MBA graduate from the Class of 2013.

“We threw a curveball at the students and not only did they demonstrate the ability to problem-solve within a short-period of time, but they proved that they could think on their feet and answer difficult questions when presenting to our esteemed panel,” says co-chair Christine Trinh, a fellow Schulich MBA graduate from the Class of 2013.

Last year, Schulich launched a Master in Real Estate and Infrastructure program to complement its long-standing MBA specialization in Real Estate and Infrastructure.

The winning teams competed against teams from the Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation at Columbia University in New York; Johns Hopkins Carey Business School in Washington, D.C.; and the Rotman School of Management at the University of Toronto.

Along with presenting sponsor Altus Group, competition sponsors included Cadillac Fairview and Oxford; Quad; Smart Centres; Diamond Schmitt Architects; KPMB Architects; BA Group; Bousfield Inc.; CBRE; Colliers International; Great Gulf; Harbour Equity; Hullmark; and Minto Properties.

Proceeds from Developers’ Den will benefit Schulich’s Real Estate and Infrastructure Student Experience Fund.


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