Real Estate students Carter Ramos (left) and Nick Wright finished in third place at the fifth annual Colvin Case Study Challenge.
Real Estate students Carter Ramos (left) and Nick Wright finished in third place at the fifth annual Colvin Case Study Challenge.

Two students from the Program in Real Estate finished in third place at the Colvin Case Study Challenge. The competition, hosted by the University of Maryland, featured entries from universities and programs across the nation. The Pamplin College of Business team, comprised of Carter Ramos and Nick Wright, was the highest placing undergraduate team in the competition.

“Carter and Nick’s success is a great building block for their careers, and the recognition they bring to the Program in Real Estate benefits current and future students,” said Kevin Boyle, Willis Blackwood Real Estate Director.

“The Colvin Case Study Challenge tasks teams with finding a development project in their metropolitan area from the last five years,” explained Jeffrey Robert, collegiate assistant professor of Real Estate and faculty advisor to the team. “They then document the entire lifecycle of the project, from planning to development to delivery, highlighting challenges and innovations along the way.”

Teams develop a professional report on their chosen development project, which is judged by leading real estate professionals on several criteria, including a depth of understanding of markets, project valuation, finance, urban design and sustainability, entitlement processes, and operational issues. The top four teams are then chosen to give a 20-minute presentation to the judges, followed by a 15-minute question and answer session. Presentations were done virtually this year due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

Ramos and Wright began work on their project in early September in Real Estate Investment Analysis, a course led by Robert. Project submissions were due in November, and final presentations were given in December, coincidentally during final exams.

“It was incredibly rewarding to see our hard work pay off after months of research for the case study,” said Wright, a junior from Warrenton.

The Program in Real Estate did an incredible job of preparing us for this competition. The professors and coursework within our program are phenomenal and it made me extremely confident in our submission.”

Wright and Ramos decided to focus their project on the development of West Half, a multi-family residential and retail building adjacent to Nationals Park in Washington, D.C. To be successful in the competition, the team had to learn and understand industry-driven decision-making despite having never worked in the industry.

“Through the competition, I was able to learn important factors that help contribute to a great real estate development,” explained Ramos, who graduated in December. “The knowledge gained from this case study and the Program in Real Estate has put me on the right track towards a successful career in real estate.”

One of the keys to the team’s success, according to Robert, was meeting with developers. “Every conversation with a professional helped them to learn industry jargon. Every engagement improved their literacy.”

“This was a terrific networking experience,” added Wright. “Carter and I were able to have multiple conversations with the developer and he provided us with great feedback.”

“Our students produced high-quality work for a high-pressure competition,” added Robert. “That illustrates the quality of our students and the quality of the Real Estate Program.”

He continued, “It is rewarding working with students dedicated to real estate.”

Robert pointed out that the success of the program, and, in turn, the success of its students, would not be possible without the assistance and dedication of others.

“Our success is not possible without the support from Dean Robert Sumichrast as well as Kevin Boyle,” he said. “Dedication and commitment to extra-curricular learning activities set our program apart.”

Added Boyle, “The team’s success, coached by Dr. Robert, shows the dividends we are enjoying from Dean Sumichrast investing in the Program in Real Estate.”