Published: Dec. 13, 2015
Stephen Stefiuk

Born and raised in Miami, I attended the University of Florida for microbiology and cell science. There was such diversification and proliferation in the real estate industry that firms began to hire science grads and teach them everything they needed to know on the job. I worked as an analyst in Miami and Orlando for eight years for a fully integrated real estate development and financial services firm. Developers would come to our firm for senior credit placement through the consulting entity and we would also provide additional capital in the form of subordinate debt through funds we raised from accredited investors. Every single deal was unique and different from the previous one and I had an excellent boss and mentor to guide me along the way.

Florida’s real estate sector was hit especially hard during the recession and I found myself fortunate enough to be able to pursue my hobbies and see the world. I worked, traveled, studied and volunteered for over two years in Asia, spending the most time in Thailand, India, South Korea and the Philippines. I learned to read, write and speak Hindi and Korean, honed my skills as a photographer and became an advanced-level scuba diver with over 100 dives on four continents. By my side the whole time has been my wonderful wife, Shannon, who works as a speech language pathologist for the Aurora Public School district. After a one-hundred day honeymoon through ten countries, we packed up our stuff and drove a moving truck 1,800 miles to Colorado.

I knew I wanted to go back to school for a graduate degree and also enter back into the real estate industry. The one year MS program in Real Estate seemed to have been designed exactly with me in mind. It offers me a chance to burnish the academic skills and science behind real estate and the CU Real Estate Center acts as a great confluence of industry leaders in Colorado that exposes students to the myriad of sectors within the real estate industry.  Not a week goes by without a real estate professional visiting campus to discuss their work and company, offer guidance and advice for employment, and discuss actual projects and deals that are completed or in progress.