SHA Students Take First in Berlin Strategy Competition

Tom Jaeger ’15, David Weinstein ’15, and Tyler Shine ’14 won the 2014 International Hotel Investment Forum (IHIF) Student Challenge in Berlin, Germany. Students were provided a case study about an investment opportunity and were challenged underwrite the investment and make strategic recommendations on acquisition pricing, positioning, branding, leverage and exit strategy. The Cornell School of Hotel of Administration Team, coached by Professor Dan Quan, competed against Ecole hôtelière de Lausanne and NHTV Breda University of Applied Sciences.

BerlinTom Jaeger ‘15 was proud to represent the School of Hotel Administration in this challenging endeavor, “Together with my teammates and friends David Weinstein and Tyler Shine, we developed an analysis on an investment and redevelopment project for an under-performing, fictional hotel in Zermatt, Switzerland. Acting as consultants for a fictional investment firm, each team in the competition developed a strategy to reposition the hotel, calculated costs, and outlined prospective financial statements. Each team had eight minutes to present their analysis and ten minutes to answer questions from the panel of seven judges, all senior-level industry executives.”

Professor Dan Quan, had high praise for their achievement: “I’m incredibly proud of the students who competed in the IHIF Student Challenge this year. Working together, they drew on all the skills they’ve learned in and out of the classroom.” Quan is the academic director of The Center for Real Estate and Finance (CREF), the epicenter of hospitality real estate, finance and asset management at Cornell and an active conduit that exposes students to relevant industry opportunities.

Raj Chandnani ‘95, one of the esteemed judges, commented on the competition, “The entry point for qualification was the underwriting and investment analysis. Cornell’s team was by far the most thorough, with alternate scenario analyses supported by market demand, including currency risk and interest rates. The Cornell team impressed the judges with the creativity in their investment strategy and recommendations.”

David Weinstein ‘15 found the opportunity to network and learn from other industry professionals to be invaluable, “I got to meet such a diverse group of those in the industry, from brand representatives to owners to those in operations. With over 2,000 investors, owners, and global hotel CEOs from more than 73 countries, we got to listen to the individuals featured at the various panels and events. The competition allowed us to meet students from other schools, some of whom I’m still in-touch with today.”