-By Scott Lynn


Every fall season, the University of Texas at Austin McCombs Real Estate Finance & Investment Center (REFIC) sponsors the National Real Estate Challenge where graduate student teams from the top business schools in America come to Austin to compete in front of a panel of senior commercial real estate executives. The competition showcases some of the very best future real estate talent in action, where they work as teams to present and make recommendations on a complex commercial property situation. For the attendee, the experience is equivalent to watching the best teams in a one-day, winner-takes-all college playoff tournament.

This year’s National Real Estate Challenge case study involved evaluating the feasibility of acquiring two separate assets: a suburban office building and a boutique hotel. Nineteen teams competed, and their school identities were kept secret—each team assumed a fictitious business name so no team had home field advantage. No cheating, favoritism, or unsportsmanlike conduct was allowed. Judges were all CRE professionals from a wide variety of disciplines and geographic locations. After a grueling, all-day competition and judging process, the winner was…

University of Texas at Austin McCombs School of Business

The University of Texas at Austin McCombs School of Business for the second year in a row!

Other teams who participated were:

  • 2nd Place: Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University
  • 3rd Place: Columbia Business School
  • 4th Place: Kenan-Flagler Business School, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Honorable Mentions:

  • University of Virginia Darden School of Business
  • UCLA Anderson
  • UC Berkeley Haas School of Business
  • University of Southern California

Whether a team placed or not, the experience and the relationships created by all participants is priceless. I highly recommend attending a competition if you’re interested in seeing what our top business schools are turning out in the way of future commercial real estate talent…phenomenal!

To learn more about the McCombs Real Estate Finance and Investment Center, go to https://www.mccombs.utexas.edu/Centers/REFIC.

The author, Scott Lynn, is the founding principal of Metropolitan Capital Advisors. Scott may be contacted at (972) 267-0600, or by e-mail at slynn@metcapital.com.