Chinese students compete in real estate challenge

Updated: 2014-11-05 09:14

By AMY HE in New York(China Daily USA)

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Chinese students compete in real estate challenge

Students from Renmin University participated in the 6th Annual Cornell International Real Estate Case Competition in New York on Tuesday, where student teams from 17 universities were presented with a real estate problem and then given five days to come up with an analysis and solution. From left: Shen Yuan, Chen Yifan, Yi Fangxu, Yan Yingge, Xu Xin, Liu Liou, Li Jingyuan. Amy He / China Daily

Students from 17 universities across the world were given five days to solve a real estate problem based on an actual transaction that had been disguised.

A development property in California has run into financial issues. One of the partners in a real estate office wants to be involved in the transaction but has no development experience with multi-family homes. What kind of compensation structure can be used so that the investors' interests are protected if that partner cannot fulfill his obligations?

On Tuesday, the students from the top undergraduate academic real estate programs met in New York to present their answers in the sixth Annual Cornell International Real Estate Case Competition. The event washosted by Cornell's Center for Real Estate and Finance, part of the university's School of Hotel Administration.

Teams consisting of six students each made presentationsto judges representing various real estate and financial institutions, including the Carlyle Group, Moody's Investors Service, Blackstone Group Japan, and the Tishman Realty Corp.

The only participants from Asia came from China, with students from Renmin University of China representing the mainland and those from the Chinese University of Hong Kong coming from Hong Kong special administrative region.

Neither group made it to the semi-final and final rounds.

In those rounds, teams analyzed the transaction and developed a set of recommendations. The three teams chosen as the best then made their presentations to the full panel of judges.

Teams were judged on their investment recommendations, approach to the problem, presentation skillsand ability to answer and respond to questions from the judges.

The University of British Columbia won and received $10,000. The University of Wisconsin was second, $6,000;the University of Connecticut, third, $3,000; the University of Aberdeen, Aberdeen, Scotland, fourth, $1,500; and the University of Guelph, Ontario, Canada, fifth, $1,000.

"We were the only team from the Chinese mainland and we treasured this opportunity to participate," said Chen Yifan, a 22-year-old undergraduate student on Renmin University of China's team."We learned a lot from the judges' feedback. We also made friends with teams from other universities."

Chen told China Daily after her team gave its presentation to three judges that they

"were really impressed by our detailed analysis of the case, and they were also impressed by our presentation despite our language barrier." "We learned a lot during the question and answer part from the judges," she said.

Fabiana Lotito, one of the judges and senior director of global real estate strategy and research at TIAA-CREF, said that the Renmin students were detailed and analytical. "They're clearly well-trained in that respect," she said.

Other participating universities were Brown, Cornell, New York, Indiana, McGill, Cambridge,Michigan, Sydney, Texas and Villanova.