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This article first appeared in the NAHB Builder Outlook 2021 issue of Pro Builder.

The NAHB Student Competition is a monumental project that gives students an opportunity to be exposed to all the facets of the home building industry.

For most construction management students, the focus of their studies is on building science, estimating, scheduling and the process of constructing homes, buildings, and infrastructure. However, to be successful in this competition, students must broaden their scope of understanding and think about more than just the construction operations by looking at projects in their entirety from soup to nuts.

Instead of just focusing on the role of an onsite construction manager/supervisor, they get to play the role of market analyst, financial analyst, landscape architect, sales counselor, marketing manager and operations manager. It is the ultimate test of critical thinking skills. Furthermore, the actual deliverable for the competition is very much like what any company would turn in to their asset/investment committee for approval of new projects. This competition is about as “real world” as it gets.


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During the two years that I competed, I had the amazing opportunity of working with highly talented professionals that formed the foundations of the local network that I came to build as a professional in the industry.


For myself, this competition exposed me to the vast expanses of the home building industry. From my classes at University of Denver, I knew that I was interested in this industry, but I did not fully come to realize the many opportunities that exist within the industry until this competition. During the two years that I competed, I had the amazing opportunity of working with highly talented professionals that formed the foundations of the local network that I came to build as a professional in the industry. In fact, it was thanks to the competition that I was offered an incredible job with Oakwood Homes after graduation.

After finishing presenting with my NAHB Student competition team, the Chief Operating Officer from Oakwood Homes, who had been sitting in the audience during the presentation, approached me and asked if I would be interested in being one of the first rotational associates in their pioneering, accelerated leadership program. Three years later, I am a manager of entitlement and acquisition for the Oakwood Land Company, and I continue to utilize the skills I acquired in this competition every day.

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