Schulich MBA students seal the deal in national real estate competition

Two Schulich students in the Real Estate & Infrastructure MBA specialization placed first and second in a national real estate research competition.

Geoffrey Matthews finished in first place and won $10,000 at the Oxford Properties Group 2011 Real Estate Research Competition and Christopher Edey finished second and took home a prize of $2,500.

Geoffrey MatthewsRight: Geoffrey Matthews

In March, participants were asked to complete an essay that responded to the following question: “The Canadian office market declined less in the financial downturn than the US and UK office markets. Why?”

The competition was judged by a panel of real estate executives from Oxford Properties Group led by Juri Pill, senior vice-president, research. The criteria for winning included a combination of strong research and analytical skills. The announcement of the winners was made late last month.

“The competition was an excellent opportunity to put to work many of the skills I’ve acquired in Schulich’s Real Estate & Infrastructure program,” said Matthews, a second-year MBA student. “More importantly, however, was the knowledge I gained through the extensive research required by this competition. I hope that my findings were of as much benefit to Oxford as they were to my own professional development.”

“My strategy was to combine detailed research with good story-telling,” said Edey, who is also a second-year MBA student. “No one will understand what your research means without a strong narrative to bind it together to sell your ideas.”

Christopher EdeyLeft: Christopher Edey

Matthews credited McKellar, a professor of real property and academic director of Schulich’s Real Estate & Infrastructure Program, and Andre Kuzmicki, executive director of the program, with the strategic advice they provided to the Schulich students who entered the competition.

“Professor McKellar coached us on how to think about the research questions and structure our papers,” said Matthews. “He reviewed our drafts and offered constructive feedback. Previous real estate courses we took were also particularly helpful.”

Oxford Properties Group is one of North America’s largest commercial real estate investment, development and management firms. The organization oversees and manages approximately $16 billion of real estate and investments include office, retail, hotel, industrial and multi-family residential properties.


“This is a great accomplishment by two outstanding Schulich MBA students and a testament to the ability of our program in real estate and infrastructure to attract the very best students,” said McKellar.


The competition was open to Canadian MBA students in their last year of study.