NAIOP SoCal Announces Inaugural University Challenge

Orange County, CA (March 5, 2020) — On Monday, March 30, five-member graduate student teams from the University of California, Irvine Center for Real Estate and the University of San Diego Burnham-Moores Center for Real Estate will meet head-to-head in NAIOP SoCal’s first-ever University Challenge.

The challenge is designed to test the commercial real estate expertise of the students. The teams will be asked to develop an oral presentation for the highest and best use of a hypothetical scenario involving a Southern California parcel of land and present their findings to a judging panel of local industry leaders as well as a live audience. What sets this competition apart is that it must be completed in just three days.  As compared to similar competitions that involve several weeks to prepare, the NAIOP SoCal University Challenge is structured to allow busy part-time graduate students to engage in an activity with a set time period.  In many ways the challenge is more realistic in that many real life real estate situations require a rapid response.

This year’s University Challenge involves Orange and San Diego county universities, pitting UCI against USD. The University Challenge follows the success of the NAIOP SoCal USC vs UCLA Real Estate Challenge held each fall.

“The University Challenge will be an outstanding opportunity to bring greater awareness to the talent of our young professionals. We have strong programs for real estate throughout Southern California. While the chapter has long celebrated the USC vs UCLA rivalry, this new challenge will provide an even greater opportunity to showcase the strong graduate program talent at UCI and USD. I look forward to what the students will present,” said Eric Paulsen, Chair, 2020 NAIOP SoCal University Challenge.

“We are excited about the NAIOP SoCal University Challenge.  Our students have participated in case competitions across the country, but the opportunity to do so in front of real estate industry leaders of Southern California, and right here in our backyard at UCI, is even more exciting.  The short time frame is a particularly interesting and noteworthy, and a test that they embrace whole-heartedly,” said N. Edward Coulson, Professor of Economics and Director of the Center for Real Estate, UCI Paul Merage School of Business.

“We’ve had several part-time students that cannot take advantage of our other competitions, study abroad or trips to MIPIM in France, and so working with NAIOP SoCal provides the chance to let them engage on a window that fits into their busy schedule,”  added Norm Miller, Professor at USD.

 The event on March 30, to be held on the campus of UCI, begins at 5:30 pm with networking.  Great sponsorship opportunities are available. For more information go to or contact the chapter office at 714-979-9131.

About the Center for Real Estate: The Center for Real Estate is a privately funded Center of Excellence that enables the UCI Paul Merage School of Business to offer a comprehensive professional and academic program in Real Estate and Urban Development.  The Center’s mission is to advance real estate knowledge and best practices through activities of teaching research and industry outreach.  For more information about the Center, please visit

About the Burnham Moores Center for Real Estate: As a “Center of Excellence” at the University of San Diego School of Business, the mission of the Burnham-Moores Center for Real Estate (BMC) is to help recruit, educate and mentor real estate students with the goal of facilitating their career pursuits in a socially responsible manner, with a global perspective and in collaboration with the real estate industry.  College Factual has ranked USD as No. 1 three years in a row in 2020, 2019 and 2018 in its category “Best Real Estate Colleges in the U.S.”

About NAIOP SoCal: NAIOP SoCal is a chapter of NAIOP, the Commercial Real Estate Development Association, and comprises more than 1,100 members serving the counties of Los Angeles and Orange.  NAIOP is the leading organization for developers, owners and related professionals in office, industrial and mixed use real estate, with more than 20,000 members in North America.  NAIOP advances responsible commercial real estate development and advocates for effective public policy.  For more information, visit

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