Previous Competitions

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2017 Kellogg Real Estate Venture Competition

The 2017 competition took place in Chicago on April 19, 2017. Teams from the following business schools competed:

  • Booth School of Business, University of Chicago
  • Columbia Business School/London Business School
  • Haas School of Business, University of California Berkeley
  • Georgia Tech Business School
  • IE School of Business
  • Indian School of Business
  • INSEAD
  • Johnson School of Management, Cornell University
  • Kellogg School of Management, Northwestern University
  • SAID Business School, University of Oxford
  • Stern School of Business, NYU
  • Washington University Business School

2017 Winners View Photos from the 2017 Kellogg Real Estate Conference and Venture Competition »
The INSEAD team of (left to right) Willard Walker, Panita Vongkusolkit, and Daniel Layug took first place in the Kellogg Real Estate Venture Competition on April 19, 2017 with their idea of workforce housing made from shipping containers. Photo © Justin Runquist.


The 15 student teams pitched their ideas in the morning to a preliminary investment committee comprised of private equity investors. The top four teams – including teams from Columbia, Oxford, Washington University, and INSEAD – then presented to all conference attendees and a panel of judges, later in the afternoon. The structure of the competition simulated the real-world process of real estate entrepreneurs soliciting equity funds from private equity investors. Judges based their decisions off of criteria including quality of idea, feasibility, presentation persuasiveness, and the written plan.

An all-star panel of three judges were able to ask each team of finalists questions and provide feedback. The panel consisted of Frank Cohen, Northwestern graduate and Senior Managing Principal at Blackstone, Randy Rowe, founder and CEO of Green Courte Partners, and Laurie Smith, CIO at Blue Vista Capital Management.

INSEAD won with a pitch to build workforce housing in Asia from shipping containers. The other three finalists pitched a range of ideas, including Columbia with a proposal to create a pool of homes for members of the armed services, located near military bases. Oxford proposed a transit-based community in Spain, and Washington University pitched vacation homes on the east coast.

To learn more about the Kellogg Real Estate Conference and Venture Competition, contact Denise Akason.






2016 Kellogg Real Estate Venture Competition

The 2016 competition took place in Chicago on April 27, 2016. Teams from the following business schools competed:

  • Booth School of Business, University of Chicago
  • Columbia Business School/London Business School
  • Cox School of Business, Southern Methodist University
  • Haas School of Business, University of California Berkeley
  • Harvard Business School
  • Indian School of Business
  • INSEAD
  • Johnson School of Management, Cornell University
  • Kellogg School of Management, Northwestern University
  • McCombs School of Business, University of Texas at Austin
  • Mendoza College of Business, Notre Dame University
  • Ross School of Business, University of Michigan
  • SAID Business School, University of Oxford

Judges for the 2016 event were:

  • Neil Bluhm, Co-Founder and Managing Principal, Walton Street Capital
  • Jeff Johnson '83, CEO, Dividend Capital Diversified Property Fund
  • Maury Tognarelli, CEO, Heitman

2016 Winners
The Kellogg team of (left to right) Kendra Zehentbauer, Shane Corcoran, Frank Cohen, Tom Smithburg, Edward Yu, and Patrick Aylward took first place in the Kellogg Real Estate Venture Competition on April 27, 2016 with their idea of shared medical office space for physicians. Fourteen teams from twelve schools globally competed in the competition. Photo © Eddie Quinones.


The 14 student teams pitched their ideas in the morning to a preliminary investment committee comprised of private equity investors. The top four teams – including teams from Kellogg, Oxford, University of Texas (McCombs), and Harvard – then presented to all conference attendees and a panel of judges, later in the afternoon. The structure of the competition simulated the real-world process of real estate entrepreneurs soliciting equity funds from private equity investors. Judges based their decisions off of criteria including quality of idea, feasibility, presentation persuasiveness, and the written plan.

An all-star panel of three judges were able to ask each team of finalists questions and provide feedback. The panel comprised of Neil Bluhm, Northwestern Pritzker Law School graduate and Co-Founder / Managing Principal at Walton Street Capital, Jeffrey Johnson, Kellogg graduate and CEO at Dividend Capital Diversified Property Fund, and Maury Tognarelli, CEO at Heitman.

Ultimately, one of two Kellogg teams won with their idea of a co-working shared office space for physicians in Chicago. The team, named Envoy Physicians, pitched a real estate opportunity that would consist of medical suites that would act as both office and exam rooms, as well as common areas for doctors to collaborate. In order to create a warmer and more comfortable environment for both patients and practitioners, the structure and design would intentionally stray from the traditional hospital aesthetic. The idea is tailored for Direct Primary Care (DPC), the next evolution of concierge medicine in which patients pay physicians directly every month. Envoy would provide the real estate and operation management for physicians seeking to practice DPC who might not have the business acumen or desire to run a business.

The other three finalists pitched a range of ideas, including McCombs’ concept of Home Run Derby, an entertainment venue specifically centered around baseball simulation games, similar to TopGolf, for cities like Austin or Houston. Harvard also advanced to the final round with a south Atlanta multi-family project in which a currently vacant apartment property would be rehabilitated for workforce families and managed to foster community engagement. The last team finalist Oxford pitched AgRomania, a venture that would aggregate agricultural land in Romania to be sold at premiums. Other ideas from the competition included high street urban retail spaces, micro unit apartments in Manhattan, and workforce housing in ski towns.

To learn more about the Kellogg Real Estate Conference and Venture Competition, contact Denise Akason.






2015 Kellogg Real Estate Venture Competition

The 2015 competition took place in Chicago on April 27, 2015. Teams from the following business schools competed:

  • Booth School of Business, University of Chicago
  • Columbia Business School
  • Haas School of Business, University of California Berkeley
  • Harvard Business School
  • INSEAD
  • Johnson School of Management, Cornell University
  • Kellogg School of Management, Northwestern University
  • London Business School
  • McCombs School of Business, University of Texas at Austin
  • McDonough School of Business, Georgetown University
  • Ross School of Business, University of Michigan
  • Said Business School, University of Oxford

Judges for the 2015 event were:

  • John Z. Kukral, President, Northwood Investors
  • Eric C. Mogentale, Managing Principal, Walton Street Capital, LLC
  • Sam Zell, Chairman, Equity Group Investments

2015 Winners
The winning team of the 2015 Kellogg Real Estate Venture Competition is from the University of Chicago Booth School of Business. Students (left to right) Kevin Griffin, Matthew Olsen, Scott Ebbott, Rob Joyce, and Jan De Kuyper took home the $25,000 prize for their innovative plan to convert an unfinished Chicago transit station into a data center.







2014 Kellogg Real Estate Venture Competition

The inaugural competition was held in Chicago on April 28, 2014. Teams from the following business schools competed:

  • Columbia Business School
  • Harvard Business School
  • INSEAD
  • Kellogg School of Management, Northwestern University
  • London Business School
  • The University of Chicago Booth School of Business
  • The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania

Judges for the 2014 event were:

  • Erwin Aulis, COO, Northwood Investors
  • Jeffrey Furber, CEO, AEW Capital Management, L.P. and Chairman of the Board, AEW Europe
  • Christopher Merrill, Co-Founder, President and CEO of Harrison Street Real Estate Capital 
  • Stephen Quazzo, Co-Founder and CEO, Pearlmark Real Estate Partners

2014 Winners
The winning team of the 2014 Kellogg Real Estate Venture Competition was from INSEAD. Students Nikhil Amin, Alexis Labrecque and Mintaek Hong (left to right in photo) took home the $25,000 prize for their innovative parking idea.