Real Estate Students Compete in Exclusive International Case Competition

Students from Leeds took part in an invitation—only real estate competition hosted by the University of Southern California. The International competition featured only nine schools with the best real estate programs in the country competing for the top spot.

This year’s team included four seniors and two juniors:

  • Toby Kropp - Finance/Real Estate/Philosophy `17
  • Nick Pepper - Finance/Real Estate `17
  • Garrett Russell - Architecture/Environmental Design/Real Estate `17
  • Breanna Williams - Finance/Real Estate/Leadership Studies `17
  • Diego Elousa - Finance/Real Estate `18
  • Dustin Braham - Finance/Real Estate `18

  • Leeds has competed in every year of the competition since 2005 and won the championship in 2013. The other schools that received invitations this year were the National University of Singapore, University of Auckland, University of Wisconsin, University of Texas, Villanova University, Ohio State University, Southern Methodist University and the University of Southern California. This year’s winner was the University of Southern California.

    “I am very impressed with the outstanding job our students did both in the months leading up; preparing for this competition as well as their abilities at the event,” said Curtis Sears, a senior instructor and case competition coach. “We love the kinds of learning opportunities that these case competitions provide. We know that competitive experiences help produce exceptional professionals and we’re happy to see the effort that they put into this competition.”

    The Leeds team even had to compete for their positions on the team. Interested students were invited to present to Curtis Sears and Real Estate Center Director, Mike Kercheval. The candidates selected by Curtis and Mike were the ones with the best mix of soft and hard skills in presentations, analytics, critical thinking, material preparation. Most importantly, the students demonstrated having complementary talents across the six-person team. For the past several months, this team met with their advisor every week for three hours to go over other case competitions examples to prepare them for this year’s event.

    “These case competitions are critical to giving our students experiential opportunities to solve real-world problems. We know how valuable practical experience can be for students to hone their skills and gain the knowledge necessary to be prepared professionals after graduation,” added Mike Kercheval, Director of the Real Estate Center at the Leeds.

    A subset of this case competition group is expected to start preparing for the Cornell International Council of Shopping Centers (ICSC) Real Estate Case Competition in May, held at ICSC’s massive real estate convention in Las Vegas, Nevada.

    To learn more about the Real Estate Center and other Leeds academic centers of excellence, visit

    USC Undergraduate Case Competition - Team Selected!

    A team of undergraduate students has been selected to represent CU Boulder, the Leeds School of Business and the CU Real Estate Center at this spring’s USC International Real Estate Case Competition. The team includes seniors Nick Pepper, Breanna Williams, Diego Cantu, Dustin Braham, Garrett Russell, and Toby Kropp. All are participants in the Leeds real estate program and candidates for the Real Estate Certificate. The team was selected by audition.

    Over the semester, the team will work with Leeds real estate faculty, staff, industry professionals and a speech and communications coach to learn how to effectively analyze, organize and present its findings and recommendations concerning a complex commercial real estate development case. They will travel to Los Angeles and USC in April to compete against a number of the top undergraduate real estate programs from around the world including USC, Wisconsin, Texas, NYU, Villanova, Ohio State, the University of Auckland and the National University of Singapore.

    Teams from CU Boulder have achieved notable success in this competition over the years having placed highly more consistently than any other school. This year’s team will work to continue that tradition of success and once again elevate the reputation of the real estate program here at Leeds and CU Boulder.

    Congratulations to the team and GO BUFFS!

    CUREC Student Recognition Awards

    In celebration of the CUREC 20th Anniversary, we are pleased to announce a new initiative to recognize our students and their outstanding efforts.

    Please see the "Request for Nominations" form for all of the details, and nominate an outstanding real estate student! Recognition of these award recipients will be presented at the 20th Anniversary Gala on April 28, 2017.

    Nomination deadline is February 28, 2017

    CUREC - Internal Graduate Case Competition

    On December 8, 2016 three teams of CUREC graduate students (both MBA and MS) competed in the Bascom Graduate Real Estate Case Competition. The competition was funded with a grant from The Bascom Group. The case study, a multifamily acquisition/rehab in Las Vegas, Nevada, was also provided by Bascom. Student teams were asked to evaluate the investment opportunity, suggest an offering price, recommend debt financing, provide a financial analysis of the acquisition and rehab, compute expected unleveraged and leveraged IRRs on the property, forecast partnership cash flow and estimate expected returns for Bascom as well as the passive investors. The teams were given 20 minutes to sell their proposal to a panel of industry judges.

    The team consisting of Malcom Craig, Ashley Dancer, Taylor Egner and Juan Rodriguez took first place and a cash price of $5,000. The second place team was awarded $3,000 and the third place team was awarded $2,000. I would like to thank David Kim and The Bascom Group for funding this important exercise. I would also like to thank the judges for taking the time to evaluate the students’ performances. The judges were Brad Blash (Crossbeam Capital), Kim Koehn (K2 Ventures, LLC), Kevin Knapp (Element Properties), Kiely Wilson.

    2017 Seattle Real Estate Trek

    With the first day of classes for the spring semester on the horizon, a group of 15 real estate-focused MBA and MS students recently spent three days in Seattle, Washington, visiting with industry players and learning about the local market. As is typical for a CUREC "Trek", the schedule was packed with developers, investment managers, operators, and market experts.

    Led and organized by CUREC Associate Director Katie Latier and Executive Director Mike Kercheval, the group visited a total of twelve companies, spanning all product types. They also made time to explore the city a bit and enjoy some of the Seattle's delicious seafood.

    Highlights of the trip included:

  • A tour of the Hotel 1000 led by General Manager Pritpal Singh. The students also were presented a market overview by representatives from Visit Seattle.
  • A visit to Amazon's active construction site in South Lake Union, and conversations with Chris Broadgate from Amazon and Josh Devenyns from Seneca Group.
  • A tour, presentation, and CU alumni happy hour at the historic Smith Tower, hosted by Ned Carner from Unico.
  • A presentation and conversation with Steve Reents from Bentall Kennedy.
  • A presentation and hard hat tour of Schnitzer West's Madison Centre project in downtown Seattle, hosted by Steve Cook and Dan Ivanoff.
  • A presentation and site walk of Urban Villages' adaptive reuse and alley activation project in historic Pioneer Square, with Jesse Bank and representatives from Sellen Construction and Shed Architects.
  • A conversation with a group from Vulcan Real Estate, a development firm founded by Microsoft's Paul Allen.
  • A site tour of Lake Union Partner's State Hotel project (a historic renovation) near Pike Place Market, with Joe Ferguson and Newton Breiter.
  • A conversation with Kilroy Realty, hosted by Rob Swartz and Monique Diego.
  • A tour of Luma Condominiums and Infinity Apartments with Suzi Morris from Lowe Enterprises.
  • A tour of Boeing's 737 manufacturing facility with Jeff Adelton.
  • The group brought a deep curiosity to each visit, and made excellent use of the opportunities to gain firsthand knowledge from professionals in the field. They returned to Colorado with fresh perspectives, ready to apply many new ideas to their studies and their ongoing careers.