A team of six real estate-minded Texas A&M graduate students took a complex land development plan to competition at The George Washington University this spring and walked away with 3rd place and $2,500.

Students Alex Webb, Dalton Vann, Ellen Hsu, Jacob Milligan, Dilton Ding and Jesse Durden with their third-place trophy.
From an original set of 19 schools, the Texas A&M team—sponsored by Mays—won with its far-reaching architectural and financial plans to build and manage a community-friendly metro stop development in suburban Washington, D.C. Master of Real Estate students Ellen Hsu, Jacob Milligan, Dalton Vann and Alex Webb, MBA candidate Jesse Durden, and Master of Land Development student Dillon Ding were among teams from the top six schools to take their plan in front of expert development judges in the nation’s capital this March. It marked the first-ever George Washington University Real Estate Case Competition.

Mays students came in just behind George Washington Univeristy (1st) and the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School (2nd). The Aggie team also competed against Southern Methodist University and the University of Cincinnati.

The team worked with a real-world D.C. developer’s project, trying to find the right mix of buildings and environmental enhancements—including water features and a pedestrian promenade—for a section of land located at a metro transportation stop. They emerged with a solution that would add more acreage to the development with room for retail, residential and office buildings, and even a hotel. A detailed financial analysis forecast everything from construction costs to building occupancy rates.

“This was a chance for our team to put much of what we have learned in class into practice on a real world case,” said team member Alex Webb. “We gained a lot of experience in actually doing what a real estate developer does. It was both an opportunity and an honor to have competed against teams from such strong schools around the country.”

—Sommer Hamilton