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School of Business Administration

Innovative Real Estate Competition at UD Cultivates Entrepreneurial Spirit

In February, the Crotty Center hosted a one-of-a-kind real estate competition where eight teams, consisting of 30 students, were tasked with exploring the feasibility of creating a Living Learning Community tailored for the 55+ community. This innovative initiative aimed to bridge the gap between older demographics and campus life, offering a spectrum of tailored services and amenities.

What distinguished this competition was its donor-driven essence. With a lucrative top prize of $7,500, students embarked on comprehensive research endeavors, meticulously crafting professional proposals analyzing the economic impact, financial viability, and logistical feasibility of the proposed senior living community.

The culmination of months of dedication unfolded at the final pitch competition. Each team demonstrated a deep understanding of the project's details, sharing inventive ideas and thoughtful suggestions.

"The task at hand encompassed addressing three pivotal questions concerning feasibility, the project details, and its potential impact on the broader Dayton community," explained Catherine Rafter, a senior in Business Economics and member of the third place team. " The culmination of our diligent efforts materialized during the pitch session, where we had the opportunity to showcase our hard work. Personally, I found the question and answer segment particularly gratifying, as it provided my team with the platform to effectively convey the distinctive merits of our project."

The judging panel, comprised of esteemed individuals including David Marshall, Director of the L. William Crotty Center for Entrepreneurial Leadership, Kat Cordier, Associate Director of the L. William Crotty Center for Entrepreneurial Leadership, Vince Lewis, Associate Vice-President of Entrepreneurial Initiatives, James Brothers, Senior Director of Development & Principal Gifts, Andy Veres, the generous donor of the competition, and Liz Grauel, Digital Pedagogy Librarian, undertook the crucial task of assessing the proposals. Their evaluation criteria focused on the robustness, innovation, and potential impact of each submission. With a total of $15,000 in cash prizes up for grabs, the stakes were high as teams vied for recognition and financial support for their projects.

"We learned a lot about market research and project management. There was a lot of research put into the report," explained Shaun Arif, a Senior in Finance with an Accounting Minor and a Financials Sector Head at the Hanley Sustainability Fund, who was on the team that won first place. "We learned about the world of real estate development, especially the market for senior care."

This competition provided students with hands-on experience in real estate development and management and facilitated invaluable industry connections. As plans for the prospective senior living community take shape, the top three teams may contribute further, potentially engaging in additional research and planning efforts.

"Since high school, I have had a very strong interest in real estate and would like to someday lead a career in real estate investment and development," shared William Arzola, a junior Accounting and Finance major on the third-place team. "Naturally, this competition sparked my interest, and it was an easy decision to become involved."

As the University of Dayton continues to champion an innovative approach to entrepreneurial education, initiatives like the Real Estate Competition underscore the School of Business Administration's commitment to fostering innovation, collaboration, and social responsibility among its student body. Through experiential learning programs and community engagement efforts, the SBA remains at the forefront of cultivating the next generation of entrepreneurial leaders.

Christopher Rores, A junior in Marketing and Entrepreneurship, was on the team that placed second and received $5,000 in cash; he shared that after the competition, he has a "better understanding of how commercial real estate works, how to draft a long and detailed proposal, and how to pitch a real estate project."

The Real Estate Competition at UD serves as a testament to the power of entrepreneurship in addressing societal challenges and creating positive change. With students at the helm, guided by mentorship and supported by visionary donors, the competition stands as a beacon of innovation and opportunity within the university community and beyond.

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