11/02/2015 | by Sarah Borchersen-Keto

Students from Texas Christian University are currently leading the Real Confidence University Portfolio Challenge, a year-long competition featuring teams from 15 universities seeking to create the best-performing portfolio from a mixture of real estate investments.

NAREIT has partnered in the challenge with the National Council of Real Estate Investment Fiduciaries (NCREIF) and Altus Group Ltd., a provider of independent advisory services, who is also managing the project.

One quarter into the competition, TCU’s team posted returns of 8.42 percent, followed by the University of Chicago team at 4.27 percent and Georgia State University’s group at 3.31 percent. The team from the University of Wisconsin came in fourth place, followed by the University of San Diego team in fifth place.

Under the terms of the challenge, each team chooses how it would allocate a theoretical $1 billion to four quadrants of commercial real estate investment: public equity, private equity, public debt and private debt. The best-performing portfolio over a four-quarter period will be declared the grand prize winner on July 30, 2016. The winning university will receive $50,000 for use within its real estate or business program. Alternatively, the money can be used on scholarships.

TCU and Chicago both allocated their entire portfolios to the REIT sector.

“The Real Confidence University Portfolio Challenge provides university students with an opportunity to put their classroom education to work in actually managing a real estate portfolio,” said Steven Wechsler, NAREIT’s president and CEO. “It’s a training ground for the next generation of investors to think directly and indirectly about real estate investment.”