UNC Kenan-Flagler Business School

UNC Real Estate Development Challenge

February 22, 2019

Our Challenge

The UNC Real Estate Development Challenge is a case competition hosted by the Leonard W Wood Center for Real Estate Studies at Kenan-Flagler Business School. An invitation-only event, the Challenge convenes 16 teams from the US’s top MBA programs to compete.


UNC Challenge ROI

  • $20,000 in cash prizes for top finalist teams

  • Top industry judges

  • Amazing networking opportunity

  • Bragging rights and a resume highlight

  • Recognition from industry, alums, peers and potential employers

  • Earn Challenge swag

  • Visit Chapel Hill!


Drilling Down

The Case Challenge officially begins with the distribution of the challenge case on the Thursday before Challenge week.  Until the Monday morning of Challenge week, teams work furiously to put together the best comprehensive solution to the development case.

By Thursday evening, teams gather in Chapel Hill for a welcome reception and dinner. The next day, the challenge competition begins in earnest. Using four presentation rooms simultaneously, teams present their case solutions in a 20-minute presentation, followed by 5 minutes of questions from judges who are experts in the real estate industry.

Only after lunch the teams learn which four teams will move to the finals in the afternoon. The "Final Four" present again in the afternoon to the entire judging pool and the remaining teams. Cash prizes are presented and teams celebrate a job well done at our social that Friday night in Chapel Hill.


2018 Challenge Trivia

  • The 2018 Challenge Case grew out of a real world project working with a well known university in Washington DC.  The university had recently begun to seek partners to assist them in developing properties over which it has control.  In particular, the university had recently acquired one of these properties in a land swap subject  to satisfying the tenets of an approved "plan".  Each team would present to the university real estate team a well-conceived development plan which would satisfy their objectives, most notably, to earn a high return with minimal risk.  Like most of our cases this one was not without its many moving parts and constraints.
  • The winning teams for the 2018 Challenge were: UNC, Kenan-Flagler Business School won first place and the University of Wisconsin at Madison took second.  The teams from Rice and UCLA tied for third.
  • Companies represented on our 2018 panel of judges included, Jonathan Carr of Grosvenor, John Clarkson of JBG Smith, Kelly Dunbar of Childress Klein, Michael Eskra of The Dilweg Companies, Steve Felix of Felix Weiner Consulting Group, Erica Siegel Henning of Lionstone Investments, James Kane of Starwood Capital Group, Laine Kenan of Solution Property Group, Chris Lackett of PGIM Real Estate, John Maurer of Bell Partners, Gordon Merklein of UNC, Bob Murphy of MRP Realty, James Nozar of Strategic Property Partners, Roger Pratt of Elite International Investment Fund, Donna Preiss of Preiss, James Ray of Metlife Real Estate Investors and Matt Seals of BlackRock Alternative Investors.

2018 Challenge Judges