The Cambridge University Real Estate Finance and Investment Society (CUREFIS) has recently hosted the annual Cambridge University Real Estate Case Competition on the 8th March 2017 at Trinity Hall. The case competition, in its second year, saw a collaboration between CUREFIS with the Department of Land Economy – University of Cambridge, Cambridge University Land Society (CuLandSoc), Bayfield Training, British Land and Savills. With the main aim of providing students with a rare opportunity to apply knowledge acquired from academic studies to real life investment scenarios. This year’s participants are tested on key skills such as problem-solving, quantitative analysis, creativity, communication and teamwork – similar to how a project would play out in the real world.

Originally, seeing 44 participants spread across 11 teams, teams had just two short weeks to complete the challenge. This year’s case required participants to, firstly, compare and contrast between four different investment opportunities for a high net worth client. Next, teams had to propose one of these investment opportunities to the client based on their investment criteria. Investment opportunities this year ranged from student accommodation to warehouse, to more conventional asset classes such as residential and office buildings. The assets were also diverse in terms of geography spreading across the entire United Kingdom.  Apart from a qualitative assessment, teams also had to create an Excel model to analyse the assets from a quantitative angle. Teams were evaluated on numerous criteria such as the quality of analysis of the four investment opportunities and how they compared with each other, their proposed offer price, the quality of the business plan, the proposed funding package, and even creativity and originality!

Ultimately, 4 teams were picked for the final presentation. The final presentation saw each team presenting their findings for 15 minutes to a panel of judges which include academics and industry experts. The year’s panel includes Nick Mansley (Department of Land Economy), Dominic Reilly (Cambridge University Land Society), Natalie Bayfield (Bayfield Training), James Rolton (British Land), Lizzie Cullum (Savills) and Richard Jones. Following this, teams were also subject to a 10 minutes Q&A session in which every aspect of their proposals and models were scrutinised. The dedication of some teams was also very commendable, with one team pointing out that they even travelled to the site of their chosen investment opportunity in London.

After much deliberation, Team E was announced as the winners with Team G as the runner-ups. The members of Team E included Gabriele Ejikeme, Patricia Rus, Christy Kwan and Seung Jun Oh, and the members of Team G included Daniel Toh, Marius Harnischfeger, Katrina Chu and Philip Wilkinson. Congratulations to the winners and the runners-up! The winners were awarded a monetary award of £800 while the runners-up were awarded a monetary award of £200. All monetary awards were generously sponsored by the Cambridge University Land Society.

“The quality of all the finalist submissions were very high. Not only did they demonstrate their analytical and financial modelling skills, each team also showed creativity and entrepreneurial flair” Natalie Bayfield, Lecturer Mphil Real Estate Finance, University of Cambridge

Following this, the case competition concluded with a drinks reception where fellow participants and judges had the opportunity to network.

Thank you to everyone who collaborated with CUREFIS on this year’s case competition. We hope to be back next year with a bigger and more interesting case!

By Aiden Chong, President 2016/17, CUREFIS

The Cambridge University Real Estate Finance and Investment Society (CUREFIS) is a society with a passionate committee dedicated to helping its members discover their interest in the world of real estate. The society currently counts Bayfield Training, Blackstone, JLL and Schroders as its 2016/17 sponsors. CUREFIS provides students of the University of Cambridge the platform to gain insights into the real estate market beyond an academic scope, and to remain current in an ever-changing industry. In addition, the society also has a strong partnership with the Department of Land Economy – University of Cambridge and the Cambridge University Land Society.

For more information on the society, please visit and for parties who are interested in collaborating with CUREFIS on the Cambridge University Real Estate Case Competition, please contact [email protected].