By Lacie Blankenship
A team from Vanderbilt Business, consisting of Anisha Thanki (MBA’23), Gordon (Gordy) Trainor (MBA’23), and Michael (Mike) Mahony (MBA’23), placed second in the 2022 UNC Real Estate Development Challenge.
The Leonard W. Wood Center for Real Estate Studies at Kenan-Flagler Business School hosted 16 teams from the country’s top MBA programs for this invite-only case competition in Chapel Hill, NC.
The topic of the competition was a hypothetical development in the Washington, D.C. area; teams had to create a plan and present their recommendations on how to use the land, what buildings should go on it, and the approximate expenses of their proposal.
“Participating in the challenge allowed me to use the skill set I acquired in class on a real-world project and defend my pitch as if I was in a real investment committee,” says Thanki. “I now know how to look at a development project from all angles and am grateful to be taking this experience back to my summer internship.”
Teams received the challenge case the week ahead of the competition, which kicked off on Thursday, February 17 with a welcome dinner. Two rounds of presentations were held on February 18, followed by a closing social that night.
“Case competitions like the UNC Development Challenge is a great experience because it’s a fun competition, and not only are you networking with students that you could potentially work with in the future, but you’re also meeting industry professionals and getting your name out there,” says Trainor. “After the competition, we received some good constructive feedback from the industry professionals that acted as judges.”
Thanki, Trainor, and Mahony competed with teams from UC Berkeley, Dartmouth, and Rice University in the final round of the competition. Berkeley earned first place, while Dartmouth and Rice tied for third.
Teams that placed earned prize money to be used at their discretion; the Vanderbilt team won $5,000.
“I’ve absolutely loved the real estate classes I’ve taken at Owen, they’ve been unbelievable, and that was part of my incentive for participating in this development challenge,” says Mahony. “I’m very thankful for all the professors that gave us a foundation to build off of. Our entire concept was around things we talked about in class.”