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Booth Wins Third Straight Title at Booth-Kellogg Real Estate Challenge

By Collin Nash, Weekend MBA  |  june, 2013, Issue 1
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The winning team (L-R): Amit Ghosh, Collin Nash, Asher Luzzatto, Alana Elsner, Jerome Nichols, Mark Frankel, Alejandro Sanhueza, Joseph Pagliari, Sam Zell, David Helfand and John Schreiber


On May 23, Chicago Booth and Kellogg faced off at Chicago's Waldorf Astoria in the twelfth Annual Booth-Kellogg Real Estate Challenge. Chicago Booth brought home its third title in a row, having won five of the last seven challenges. This year, the teams assumed the role of real estate investment managers and were charged with creating an investment thesis for a $250 million private equity fund focused on Brazilian real estate. Sam Zell, John Schreiber and David Helfand judged the event and unanimously voted for Chicago Booth. The team spent the spring quarter preparing for the presentation and was led by Clinical Professor of Real Estate Joseph Pagliari.

The judges were faced with examining two very different approaches to the assignment.

As Zell put it, "Judging these two presentations is like looking at Cézanne's portrait of Apples and Oranges—the teams were tasked with tackling the same assignment. However, one group saw apples while the other saw oranges."

The Booth team identified specific property types and potential partners, while the Kellogg team focused on the investment vehicle in which to invest, as opposed to the real estate. In the end, the judges credited the Booth team for presenting a plausible and insightful investment strategy. The Booth team was well represented from the various University of Chicago programs, including three Full-Time MBA students—Alana Elsner '13, Jerome Nichols '14 and Alejandro Sanhueza '14; two Evening Program MBA students—Mark Frankel and Amit Ghosh; one Weekend Program MBA student—Collin Nash; and one Law School student – Asher Luzzatto.

Per Alana Elsner regarding the experience, "the Challenge was a large stepping meet classmates and alumni with extensive experience in the [real estate] industry, to research a burgeoning area of real estate investment – Brazil, and to present in front of an elite group of judges and industry professionals. Throughout the process we received extensive alumni support and feedback, all of which was critical to our success. Above all, I appreciated the leadership and insight Professor Pagliari offered and the extensive support my esteemed teammates provided. I am proud to continue the tradition of success from the prior two Chicago Booth teams and look forward to cheering on next year's team."

Students interested in competing in next year's challenge offered in the spring quarter should consider getting involved now with the Real Estate Clubs and planning their schedule to take the Real Estate Investment courses offered in the MBA program.


The Booth-Kellogg Real Estate Challenge began in 2002. The Challenge is designed to bring the next generation of real estate leaders together to solve a timely, relevant and novel problem posed by leading industry professionals. These projects promote the students' learning by giving them hands-on experience in understanding business strategies in response to specific real estate development and investment opportunities.

Beginning in 2011, the Challenge format was changed from a private presentation to a public event, attended by a diverse group of prominent real estate professionals and held in downtown Chicago.

Last Updated 6/9/13
Last Updated 6/9/13