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MBA students win funding for 'People Pods' housing concept

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A group of MBA students from France won the fourth annual Kellogg School of Management Real Estate Venture Competition.

A group of MBA students from France won the fourth annual Kellogg School of Management Real Estate Venture Competition.

Daniel Layug, Panita Vongkusolkit and Willard Walker created People Pods, a venture that plans to deliver modular housing units in partnership with Asian manufacturing companies to provide safe and clean housing options for factory workers throughout the region. In many Asian countries, employees of manufacturing operations live in substandard housing districts that are fraught with unsanitary conditions and lack clean water. The team intends to implement its first People Pod community in collaboration with Mitr Phol Sugar Corporation in northwest Thailand.

The idea impressed judges and won the team $100,000 in cash and professional services.

“I thought it was a creative idea and filled a definite need in the region,” said competition judge Frank Cohen, Senior Managing Director, Real Estate Group, Blackstone. “Along with the other judges, we were very impressed with all presentations given by the MBA teams this year, and were honored to be part of such a unique competition within the real estate industry.”

The final four teams were selected from MBA programs at Oxford, Columbia, Cornell and INSEAD. The judges based their decisions on a variety of criteria including quality of presentation, feasibility and the merits of the written plan.

The venture competition highlights the Kellogg Real Estate Conference which brings together the industry in thought, leadership and collaboration.