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Career opportunities ramping up in real estate, expert says

17 October 2018
Real estate cast competition solves real world dilemmas
The real estate industry is one of Australia’s largest, yet it is largely ignored by universities as a legitimate field of study, says a leading researcher at the University of Sydney Business School.

Associate Professor Jamie Alcock made the remark following the Business School’s annual case competition which challenges undergraduate teams from across Australia and New Zealand to resolve ‘real world’ real estate dilemmas.
“Real estate is one of the biggest industries and largest employers in the country and yet many business school students are just not offered the opportunity to study the sector,” Alcock said. “They are not even encouraged to consider it as a possible career path.

“Our case competition this year attracted somewhere between 700 and 1000 entries, which is an indication of the interest in commercial real estate,” said Dr Alcock. “The standard of the final presentations before a judging panel of industry leaders was the best I have seen anywhere in the world."

Finalists were required to propose a strategy to manage a commercial property occupied by tenants who were financially impacted by e-commerce competitors.  
The winners, teams representing the University of Sydney Business School and the University of Auckland, will compete in November 2018 in an international competition hosted by New York’s prestigious Cornell SC Johnson College of Business. 
About 25 teams will take part in the Cornell competition, including New York University, Brown University, Georgetown University, Pennsylvania State University, China’s Renmin University, University of California at Berkeley, Stanford University and the Chinese University of Hong Kong. 
“These competitions give undergraduates a real understanding of this asset class, career direction and access to industry leaders,” said Dr Alcock. “For example, this year in Sydney our judging panel included Mirvac chief executive Susan Lloyd-Hurwitz.” 
Alexis Orsmond, a member of the winning Sydney team, described this year’s competition and the opportunity to compete in New York as “fantastic”. 

“I agree absolutely with Dr Alcock’s concerns about the teaching of real estate in business schools,” Mr Orsmond said. “Real estate is so tangible – it is all around us and I am surprised it is not recognised or considered as a career option.

The competition is of immeasurable value to students. "They gain experience at solving real-world problems with feedback and questions coming directly from industry professionals,” Dr Alcock said. “They also have the opportunity to network with the best undergraduate students in the country and with important sponsors.” 
The 2018 Sydney Case Competition was sponsored by Qualitas, JLL, Stockland, Fortius, Cushman & Wakefield, Cromwell Property Group, Mirvac, One Five One Property and Corrs Chambers Westgarth Lawyers.