The Swartz Report: March Madness V.2

Don SwartzPost written by Donald Swartz, President and Principal at Swartz + Associates, Inc. | Lover of Chiefs, Royals and golf | Avid “Cruiser” | Poker Enthusiast

Last year around this time I wrote about my son’s entry into the driving world. So far, so good, although we sadly said goodbye to my 2003 Saab in the Fall and upgraded to a 2013 Honda Civic with the oh-so-important bluetooth technology! (Side note – we donated the car to our local NPR affiliate. I would strongly encourage anyone looking to “retire” their old car to consider donating as an option. It’s easy and serves the cause of your choice.)

Well, a year has passed and we just recently completed our Spring Break trip, in what I will fondly call March Madness V.2.  Imagine mixing in NCAA basketball with college visits and now we’ve uncovered what true March Madness is all about.

March Madness (1)Visits to Georgetown, American, Virginia, Richmond, Wake Forest, North Carolina, Elon, Davidson surrounded by the Big Ten basketball tournament in DC and the 1st – 2nd round games in Greenville, SC. Add in an after-trip to Tulane and the question begs to be asked, “What were we thinking?” Finally, throw in another family joining us for the adventure AND another family for the basketball fun and now we are talkin’…… MARCH MADNESS!

Several have inquired, and to be honest, myself included, about the need to see so many schools in a condensed period. How can you tell the differences? Don’t they all start to seem the same? Which school was ranked by which publication as the best (fill in the blank)?  What’s the enrollment and did I really hear the tuition correctly?

March Madness (6)How can you tell the differences?

Don’t they all start to seem the same?

Which school was ranked by which publication as the best (fill in the blank)?

What’s the enrollment and did I really hear the tuition correctly?

What I ultimately realized is the need to look at the trip through a prospective college student’s eyes. Their perspective is probably a little different than things a parent may find important. For example, would a parent look at the number of students wearing school colors or logoed apparel? How many students walk around campus in groups as opposed to walking with headphones in isolation? What is the importance of Greek life as compared to those not interested in the Greek system? These types of questions are very different from wondering what the ratio of students to professors is or the amount of credit for high school AP courses transferring to college hours.

March Madness (3)Ultimately, the reason for the number of visits is to provide options…the sort of “vibe” a campus provides, the sense of comfort as one leaves home for their first extended period, social interaction and, of course, dining options. It’s certainly a far cry from the cafeteria lines I passed through during my initial years at college.

In a sense, I believe we approach our business the same way. When we look at the valuation of a property, we want to make sure we explore all options, especially if our initial conclusion doesn’t warrant a potential appeal. We want to create and provide an analysis to our clients that makes them comfortable in their decision to trust us with the review of their property or portfolio. Whether an appeal is warranted or if we’re successful in an appeal, the most important aspect to me is that the client believes they’ve made the correct decision in hiring us. Everything else will take care of itself.

Back to the important stuff……

For the 20th consecutive year, my team has failed to make the Sweet 16 of the NCAA Men’s Basketball tournament. While it was fun to be at the regional tournament and watch games as a pure basketball fan, I have to admit it would be fun to have “skin in the game” during the second weekend. One can dream…..

Good luck to not only all who have their brackets intact or your favorite team still in the hunt, but also to those involved in the great college search. I truly enjoyed the trip with my family and friends. Thanks for taking a few minutes to read about our journey.

March Madness (4) March Madness (5) March Madness (2)

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