Team of Penn State Smeal undergrads wins Maryland real estate case competition

December 14, 2018

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — A team of three undergraduate students from the Penn State Smeal College of Business combined to take first place in the 2018 Colvin Case Study Challenge, a national intercollegiate real estate competition hosted by the University of Maryland’s Colvin Institute of Real Estate Development.

Senior real estate students Brett Ambrogi (the captain) and Jake Scott were joined by sophomore Adam Raggi. That trio claimed the first-place prize of $10,000 in the two-round competition. The University of St. Thomas (Minnesota) placed second, SUNY-Buffalo was third, and Cornell placed fourth. The second- through fourth-place teams each won $2,500.

In Round 1, teams were tasked with submitting a written case study of a recently completed innovative real estate development project. The challenge is designed to hone professional skills and reveal the knowledge base and understanding of markets, project valuation, finance, urban design and sustainability, entitlement processes, and operational issues.

During Round 2, the four finalists were invited to Maryland’s College Park campus on Dec. 8 to present their case study, in person, to an industry panel of judges.

The Penn State team, coached by Steve Bisbee, adjunct instructor of risk management, selected the Fraser Centre in downtown State College as its signature development focus. The Fraser Centre includes 65,000 square feet of retail space, anchored by Target, a 165-room Hyatt hotel, the Federal Taphouse bar and restaurant, and 26 residential condos. The 155-foot tall building is the tallest in State College.

The Smeal students had the opportunity to work with 1988 Smeal accounting alumnus Gary Brandeis of Real Estate Capital Management, who developed the Fraser Centre.

“This process was a lot of fun and I’m so proud of the team,” said Brandeis, who traveled to Maryland to witness the team’s presentation. “I think this competition and the work these students put in can be one of those special moments they will remember throughout their careers.”

To prepare for the competition, the Smeal students participated in a semester-long elective course offered by the Department of Risk Management in coordination with Smeal’s Institute of Real Estate Studies and Real Estate Bootcamp. Ambrogi, Scott and Raggi were selected from more than 25 students in Risk Management 497A: Real Estate Case Competition Course.

(Media Contacts)

Last Updated December 14, 2018