Marquette Business students take first place at real estate competitions

The Marquette team that competed at the NAIOP Minnesota Real Estate Challenge poses with its trophy and check.
The Marquette team that competed at the NAIOP Minnesota Real Estate Challenge poses with its trophy and check.

Two teams of Marquette real estate students won major regional case competitions this past week, marking the first time ever that Marquette has swept both competitions in the same year. 

The NAIOP Minnesota Real Estate Challenge was held on Thursday, April 21, with Marquette taking the top spot after advancing past a preliminary round earlier in the day. The final presentation was held in front of the NAIOP Minnesota chapter of members, with more than 200 professionals in attendance to witness their development proposal for a parcel of land in Shoreview, Minnesota. 

Two days later, the Harold E. Eisenberg Foundation Real Estate Competition was held in downtown Chicago at Wintrust’s Great Hall, with nearly 100 real estate professionals on hand to witness Marquette take top honors in the undergraduate division. The team presented a redevelopment proposal for a site in the West Loop of Chicago where Johnny’s Ice House, an ice hockey rink, training facility and bar, is located. 

The NAIOP Minnesota student team was made up of seniors Catherine Botchek (team captain), Michael Jensen, William Powers and Madeline Warren. The Eisenberg Foundation student team included Jane Eaton (team captain), George Haikal, Jennifer Sims and Daniel Talar. 

The Marquette team that competed at the Harold E. Eisenberg Foundation Real Estate Competition poses with its trophy.

Both teams were led by Abiola (Michael) Adetoro, instructor of practice of finance in the College of Business Administration, who teaches a course around these competitions called REAL 4330 – Advanced Real Estate Analysis. Adetoro is also a 2015 graduate of the prestigious Associates in Commercial Real Estate (ACRE) training program. 

“I couldn’t be more proud of our students,” Adetoro said. “They worked as a team without egos, took feedback constructively, and were constantly asking questions and making adjustments that made their projects better. Even more importantly, they were willing to take risks with ideas, and they really took the time to understand the community and craft a story that met the needs of all their stakeholders. They absolutely deserved the feeling of winning these competitions.” 

Marquette teams have historically done very well at these competitions, including previously winning the NAIOP Minnesota competition five times (2009, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2020) and the Eisenberg Chicago competition three times (2012, 2018, 2019). Teams took runner-up honors an additional eight times combined between the two competitions. 

 “Being able to participate in a ‘real world’ experience like this during college is the highlight of our team’s semester,” said Botchek. “Regardless of the outcome, we already won from the relationships formed and the experiences gained.”  

Both student teams will be honored at the Center for Real Estate’s 11th annual Real Estate Strategies Conference on Wednesday, May 4. The event will be held from 8 a.m. to 12 p.m. in the AMU Ballrooms. 

The Center for Real Estate at Marquette University 

The mission of the Center for Real Estate (“CRE”) is to support Marquette University real estate students by delivering deep learning experiences that prepare them for fulfilling and successful lives. Founded by 45 generous donors in 2008, the CRE has a nearly 100 percent placement rate for full-time graduates each year since 2012. The CRE continues to support the Associates in Commercial Real Estate training program for BIPOC individuals in southeast Wisconsin, which was founded at Marquette in 2004. In 2021, the CRE founded the Real Estate Asset Program (REAP), the first undergraduate-only classroom-based real estate investment program in the nation, where students analyze, pitch and manage real investment deals as part of a $2 million pledged equity fund from a group of investment committee members.  

For more information about the Center for Real Estate, please contact Andy Hunt, Vieth Director for the Center for Real Estate, at