Kellogg Real Estate Conference and Venture Competition

From startup visions to inflation predictions: Recapping the 2022 Kellogg Real Estate Conference and Venture Competition

Marking its first in-person gathering in three years, the Kellogg Real Estate Conference and Venture Competition showcased a broad mix of current events content and forward-looking ideas. From the frank inflation talk of a former U.S. Treasury secretary to the unveiling of novel startups taking their next steps toward success, the April 20 event delivered well beyond the promise of its subtitle, “Real Estate and Inflation: What Happens Next?”

Hosted by the Guthrie Center for Real Estate Research, the conference/competition pitted four teams of MBA students against each other for a grand prize of $25,000. A two-man Kellogg EMBA team took top honors for its vision of turning empty storage space into a win-win for customers and non-traditional providers.

Keynote Speaker: Lawrence H. Summers

Charles W. Eliot University Professor and President Emeritus at Harvard University. He served as the 71st Secretary of the Treasury for President Clinton and the Director of the National Economic Council for President Obama. 


From Larry Summers: Hard words on the soft landing

The conference keynote, delivered by Harvard University professor and president emeritus Larry Summers, proved newsworthy in and of itself. The former Treasury secretary under President Clinton and Director of the National Economic Council for President Obama took aim at the Federal Reserve’s monetary policy—expressing pointed skepticism that the Fed’s current inflation-fighting tactics would prove effective.

“Unfortunately, history is not very kind to a soft landing,” Summers told attendees. Contending that the Fed waited far too long to act on inflation, he cautioned attendees against holding out hope that the current inflationary spiral would cool to levels more in line with the previous decade, when rates of inflation averaged just above 1.5 percent annually between 2012 and 2020.

“I think it’s going to be a little harder to maintain really low inflation than it was historically,” Summers said in a Q&A with Janice C. Eberly, the James R. and Helen D. Russell Professor of Finance and Kellogg’s Senior Associate Dean for Strategy and Academics. “I guess I’d be quite surprised if the inflation rate as measured by the Consumer Price Index over the next five years was below 3 percent.”

In looking ahead, Summers also pointed to a root cause of today’s inflation. He said the government’s $2.8 trillion in stimulus money released as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic created “a substantial likelihood that the economic bathtub would overflow … that the economy would overheat.”

Noting that 70 percent of Fed tightening moves since World War II have been followed quickly by recession, Summers opined: “I think we have a quite remote probability of avoiding either the continuation of substantial inflation or the economy slipping into recession in the next two to three years.”

And somewhere between inflation and recession comes intervention, which has its accompanying hazards. "Policymakers will do," he predicted, "what policy makers with multiple objectives do, which is try to achieve both of them—and they'll take their pain on both sides."

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A panel's closer look at inflation's potential impact

A capital markets update panel took advantage of its hour-plus time slot to examine the timeliest of topics: the potential effects of inflation on real estate. One overarching conclusion was that while real estate offers a level of robust insulation, the uncertainty shaking the larger economy should give pause to all smart investors.

Moderated by Frank Schmitz, partner co-head and co-founder of PJT Parkhill Real Estate Group, the panel featured two Kellogg alumni,  Kimberly A. Adams ’01, Managing Director at JPMorgan Chase & Co., and Seth Singerman ’05, President and Managing Partner, Singerman Real Estate LLC. Also joining was Matt Johnson, a 2006 Northwestern grad and Managing Director, Morgan Stanley, along with Jeffrey F. Fastov of Square Mile Capital.

Speaking to volatility and its potential impact on investors, Anderson noted that “everybody is trying to find their footing as to how transitory is this and how do you make decisions when things are changing week by week." The good news, as she sees it, is that "real estate is a natural inflation hedge. It is extremely attractive today relative to other asset classes."

Johnson noted that “particularly from a real estate standpoint we're really in an absorbing perspective right now. The tone of most of my discussions with my clients has changed massively.”

Noting that the money supply has grown by 50 percent since the COVID-19 pandemic began (a point echoed in conference keynote remarks), Singerman asserted that “there could be some risk to growth. I think Goldman Sachs says there’s 20 or 30 percent recession risk and that feels reasonable.”

Agenda: April 20, 2022

Time Event
Registration Opens, Global Hub - 1st Floor
12:15 - 1:00
Networking Lunch, Global Hub - 2nd Floor
1:00 - 2:15
Capital Markets Update, White Auditorium - 2nd Floor
2:15 - 2:30
2:30 - 3:30
Keynote Address, White Auditorium - 2nd Floor
3:30 - 3:45
3:45 - 5:45
Kellogg's Venture Competition, White Auditorium - 2nd Floor
5:45 - 6:45
Networking Reception, Global Hub 2nd Floor



The 8th Annual Kellogg Real Estate Conference and Venture Competition took place on April 20, 2022. Registration is now closed.

Getting Here & Parking

Kellogg Global Hub
2211 Campus Drive
Evanston, IL 60208

Major airlines fly into both O’Hare International Airport and Midway International Airport. O’Hare Airport is approximately 45 minutes from Kellogg and Midway Airport is approximately 60 minutes from Kellogg, but you may want to allow more time for traffic.

Taxi service from both airports can be arranged in advance of your visit for a reduced fare. Pre-arranged rides start at approximately $35 from O’Hare and $50 from Midway. For up-to-date fare information, please contact a taxi service directly. 

We are happy to provide complimentary parking for visitors that drive to campus. Valet Parking will be available at the Global Hub entrance, and will be on a first come, first served basis. Should valet parking be full, we will also have parking vouchers available at the North Campus Parking Garage (2311 North Campus Drive.) The North Campus Parking Garage is the closest to the Global Hub. You can pick up a parking voucher at the registration desk in the Global Hub lobby. You will need this voucher before leaving campus. Should we run out of vouchers at the registration desk, make sure to ask the front desk staff for a validated parking ticket to exit the garage.

Directions to the North Parking Garage:
Take Sheridan Road to Lincoln Street. Turn east on to Lincoln Street and continue on to Campus Drive to the entrance of the North Parking Garage.

Walking from the North Parking Garage to the Global Hub:
Proceed to the elevator nearest stairwell A or B (south side of the garage) to the first floor. Exit the garage and cross Campus Drive: take the sidewalk to the left (east) of the Searle Building. Continue south, following the signs to the Kellogg Global Hub on the east (left) side of the walkway.

Taxi/Uber/Lyft Drop Off:
Take Sheridan Road to Lincoln Street. Continue on Campus Drive past the North Parking Garage. Follow signs to the Kellogg Global Hub.

Public Transportation

The Chicago Transit Authority (CTA) maintains an extensive system of elevated trains (also known as “the L”) and buses throughout Chicago and Evanston. The train stop closest to Kellogg is the Purple Line Foster stop on Church and Davis Streets. The 201 bus departs from the Howard St. terminal and stops on the corner of Foster and Sheridan.

Be advised, while inexpensive, taking the CTA from the airport can take up to 90 minutes and requires transferring trains.



Please email the Kellogg Real Estate Program

Platinum Sponsor

EQ Office

Silver Sponsors

Dermody Properties

In-Kind Sponsors

Expansive (formerly Novel CoWorking)
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Organizing Committee

Efraim Benmelech

Efraim Benmelech

Efraim Benmelech is the Harold L. Stuart Professor of Finance, the Director of the Guthrie Center for Real Estate Research at the Kellogg School of Management and a Research Associate at the National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER). Benmelech’s research interests are in the field of credit markets where he studies financial contracting, financial crises, securitization, bankruptcy and financial distress.
William Bennett

William Bennett

William Michael Bennett is the Principal and Founder of Level Office Management, LLC, a coworking platform that serves as the operating and development arm of twenty buildings in sixteen cities. Level Office was #94 on the INC 5000 fastest growing companies in 2016. Previously, Mr. Bennett founded and managed a company that acquired and redeveloped the 23rd largest portfolio of student housing assets in the US, earning #407 on the INC 5000 list in 2012.

Craig Furfine

Craig Furfine is a Clinical Professor of Finance. Furfine studies the functioning of interbank markets, securitization, and real estate finance, having published in scholarly journals including the Review of Corporate Finance Studies, the Journal of Business, the Journal of Monetary Economics and the Journal of Money, Credit, and Banking. He currently serves as an Associate Editor of the Journal of Money, Credit, and Banking.