Schulich MBA team wins global real estate case competition

A team of MBA students enrolled in the Real Estate and Infrastructure Program at York’s Schulich School of Business has successfully defended the school’s title as reigning champion of the Argus Software University Challenge.

Christina Giannone, Simon La, Hosup Lee, David Lyons and Philip Ristevski outshone teams from 21 universities across six countries to win the $8,000 first prize. The winner was announced on April 26. Other competing schools include Columbia, Cornell, Chicago and Cambridge. A team from Schulich also placed first in the Argus Software’s 2012 University Challenge.


Above: Schulich team members, all of whom are specializing in real estate and infrastructure. From left: David Lyons, MBA ’14 candidate; Simon La, MBA ’14 candidate; Philip Ristevski, MBA ’14 candidate; Hosup Lee, MBA ’13 candidate; and Christina Giannone, MBA ’14 candidate.

The Argus Challenge is an online case competition that requires students to prepare a case analysis using Argus DCF Valuation Software, the industry-standard real estate valuation tool.

This year’s challenge, “Urban Regeneration: The Springfield Monorail Redevelopment”, required students to evaluate the feasibility of a redevelopment plan for a mixed-use redevelopment site with retail, office and transportation components.

“We concluded that the project as it stands would not be feasible. Our financial analysis was strong, and we went beyond the numbers by assessing the overall development risk, including environmental, economic and social sustainability of the project,” says Lee, an MBA ’13 candidate. “The classes provided in Schulich’s program in real estate and infrastructure certainly prepared us well to tackle the development case from multiple angles, and it was a great opportunity to use what we learned outside the class setting.”

A diversity in skill sets also allowed the Schulich team to leverage off individual members’ knowledge in development, sales and leasing, construction funding and investment management, Lee says.

Lee and another member of the winning team, La, were also on the Schulich team that won the 2013 Developers’ Den case competition on March 1. Ristevski was a member of the Schulich team that recently placed second in the Developers’ Den III competition.

Earlier this year, Giannone was also a member on a multi-school team that received an honourable mention in Urban Land Institute’s prestigious Gerald D. Hines Student Urban Design Competition.

La and Giannone are currently on the executive of the Schulich Real Property Students’ Association and Ristevski will serve on the executive during the 2013-14 academic year.

“I am very proud of the Schulich students for stepping up to win the Argus Challenge for the second year in a row,” said Andre Kuzmicki, executive director of the Real Estate and Infrastructure Program. “Our students have been doing exceptionally well in national and international case competitions against students from other leading business schools and that underscores the advantages of our real-world approach to teaching real  estate and the high quality of our Faculty.”

In 2012, Schulich MBA students enrolled in the Real Estate and Infrastructure Program also placed first in the MIT Commercial Real Estate Case Competition, the Argus Software University Challenge and the Developers’ Den case competition.