Team Proposal Focuses on Redesigned Office Environment for Manufacturing Industry
A team of four graduate students from the C. T. Bauer College of Business were named finalists recently in a global real estate competition during the 2nd Annual Academic Challenge at the CoreNet Global Summit.
Full-time Bauer MBA students Benjamin Goss, Franco Rivero, Shane Gossard, James Greene and undergraduate student Ross Perez were among the world’s best at the 2nd Annual Academic Challenge at the CoreNet Global Summit, besting 39 other university teams from around the globe, including The Nederlands’ Eindhoven Technological University and Indian Institute of Technology – Bombay.
During the competition, teams were assigned a specific industry and tasked with creating a plan to redesign the office space of an organization within that sector. The Bauer student team was charged with the manufacturing industry and spent the first half of the competition interviewing industry professionals to fine-tune their proposal.
“We talked to people that we thought were relevant and people that had a connection to the University of Houston,” Goss said. “All these major corporations were coming by and trying to talk to the students and see what they were doing. We asked as many questions and gathered as much information as we could, and then we had to somehow turn that into a presentation to develop by 10 a.m. the next morning.”
Before the summit, the team received guidance from Bauer’s Real Estate Program Executive Director Keith Richards, who helped coordinate conference calls with industry experts in preparation for the competition.
“He drove a lot of traffic to our booth,” Rivero said. “We had individuals and professionals within the industry come talk to us, which was great not only for the purposes off the actual competition but also to connect with individuals that have been doing this for so long.”
The team also met with Gerald D. Hines College of Architecture adjunct faculty member Sofia Fonseca, who presented at the conference and has experience in corporate real estate. Once the team developed their strategy, they presented their plan to a panel of CoreNet judges.
“We concluded that there needed to be more open and shared spaces, with breakout areas like you might see in Bauer buildings, where teams can meet, as well as private locations where you might be able to meet one-on-one and do your annual review with your boss and not have people interrupt,” Goss said.
According to the students, the competition gave them a firsthand introduction into the world of corporate real estate, while allowing them to apply some of the skills they’ve learned throughout their time as Bauer students.
“I think this is really a collection of everything you learn in the Bauer MBA program,” Gossard said. “You really get a chance to apply different areas like marketing, because they really tie in well to that. I think others who might not be in real estate might enjoy this because it’s very broad. There are a lot of different industries involved.”
Franco added: “I would say a lot of it for me was getting that exposure, that insight into the corporate real estate. I honestly didn’t think there were so many different pieces that come together for corporate real estate. That gave us a little bit more of an understanding of what it has to offer, what makes up corporate real estate and how important it is for a lot of different Fortune 500 companies.”
By Priscilla Aceves