Each year, the University of Guelph in Canada organises the Undergraduate Real Estate Case Competition (URECC) to challenge undergraduates to redefine the built form environment by completing a full-scale development proposal and bid on an iconic piece of the Toronto landscape.
For the first time this year, the competition (which was held virtually due to the pandemic) was opened to universities outside North America. It welcomed a total of 18 teams from Canada, United States, Sweden, Australia and Singapore – with team SMU being the only one from Asia.
The team from SMU comprised undergraduates from the SMU Real Estate Track and the Real Estate & Alternative Investments student club (SMUREAL), namely:
Participants were given one month to create a development proposal which comprised financial, market and sustainability analyses, zoning considerations and overall feasibility. Team SMU was challenged to rethink an iconic development site in Ontario, Canada, and present their proposal to distinguished judges from the industry. They first sought to understand the complexities of the real estate market in Canada and identified key investment themes. Based on their market analysis, they then created a development proposal for a mixed development which aligned with the city’s master plan and would sustainably provide an ideal environment for the locals to live, work and play in while achieving superior returns for investors.
After competing against the sharpest minds looking to join the global real estate industry, the SMU team was awarded the Financial Analysis Award for their robust financial model by the judging panel comprising industry professionals from Allied Properties REIT, Starlight Investments, and Deloitte.
Team leader Marcus Chioh shared that the competition provided a platform for his team-mates and him to apply key skills and competencies that they learnt in SMU. “We sought to translate what we gathered from our research into building a quantitative financial model that reflected underwritten assumptions and trends. Then, we applied the methodologies of future cash flows as well as the sensitivity of these cash flows to the model, which resonated strongly with the judges in Canada. I'm glad that our team picked up practical and valuable skills during the process of the case competition," he said.
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