A team of MBA students from York’s Schulich School of Business produced the winning solution to a development dilemma at the second annual Developers’ Den Case Competition held at the Schulich School of Business on Friday, March 16.
Ten teams competed in the real estate case competition between Toronto’s three major business schools, which included the Schulich School of Business, the Rotman School of Management at the University of Toronto and the Ted Rogers School of Management at Ryerson University.
From left: George Carras, president, RealNet Canada, sponsor of Developers’ Den; Winning Schulich team members Luke Chisholm, Jamil Bundalli and Philip Baron; Developers’ Den judge Philip Gillin, senior managing director and head of Canadian Real Estate, Sun Life Assurance Company of Canada
Competitors were asked to present a development proposal for a 10-acre parcel of land on York University’s Keele campus. The winning Schulich team, composed of Jamil Bundalli, Luke Chisholm and Philip Baron, presented a solution with a low-risk investment for the University. Their proposal focused on a development consisting of mid-rise residential and office buildings framed around a new commercial plaza that would serve students, staff and visitors. York’s only financial contribution to the proposed public-private development would be the land.
“This team is a real tribute to the calibre of our students and the real estate program at Schulich,” said James McKellar, academic director of Schulich’s Real Estate and Infrastructure Program.
Five teams – three from Schulich, one from Rotman and one from Rogers – made the semifinals. Judges for the event included top names in the real estate industry: Michael Cooper, CEO, Dundee Realty Management Corporation (also vice-chairman and CEO of Dundee REIT); Sam Crignano, president, Cityzen Development Group; Phil Gillin, senior managing director and head of Canadian Real Estate, Sun Life Financial; Geoffrey Grayhurst, president and CEO, Dorsay Development Corporation; and Fred Waks, president and COO, RioCan REIT.
“The calibre of all of the competing teams was very impressive, especially considering the four-hour time limit,” said Cooper. “The winning Schulich team’s proposal to build office and residential space around a retail complex and plaza [on the York University campus] looked great and is doable.”
Last year’s inaugural Developers’ Den competition, which was the brainchild of Andre Kuzmicki, executive director of Schulich’s Real Estate and Infrastructure Program, implemented with the sponsorship help of George Carras, founder and president of RealNet Canada, was limited to Schulich students.
The Developers Den event and $2,250 in prize money was sponsored by RealNet Canada, a real estate information and research service. Another $1,000 was added to the prize during the event by Sun Life Financial representative Gillin, who was among the judges impressed by the calibre of the competitors.
“This was an impressive handling of a high density development proposal and it was remarkable what they came up with in just four hours,” said Gillin, a Schulich alumnus and former lecturer in Schulich’s real estate program. “This team is reflective of the quality of students coming out of Schulich’s real estate program, which has evolved into one of the best real estate programs in the country.”
Some members of the winning Schulich team – Luke Chisholm and Philip Baron – along with Schulich MBA students Max Vo and Wes Myles, will now go on to compete at the semifinals of an unrelated case competition sponsored by the MIT Center for Real Estate.