Stephen Vaknin, MMH’ 14
New York, NY
Why Cornell? Why Hotel School?
I was busy expanding a startup of mine that focused on the furnished apartment business, and that interest (alongside my background in real estate) morphed into something deeper. I decided to study hospitality real estate finance, and after researching available programs, decided to go for gold and apply to the Hotel School.
What was your concentration and why?
My concentration was Hospitality Real Estate Finance. As I mentioned, my background is in real estate (construction and property management). Seeing as I had no interest in being an operations guy post-Masters’ degree and didn’t care for revenue management, finance was the logical choice. It ended up being the right choice as the professors at SHA were absolutely top-notch in their field.
What’s your best advice for prospective MMH candidates?
Know what it is you’re looking for in coming into this program (and how SHA can deliver), make sure the timing is right in your career, and be ready to work hard at succeeding and finding a own job. MMH is a niche degree, after all.
What is your most memorable MMH moment?
My most memorable moment was during the summer session where I took about 15 members of my cohort on a skydiving trip. As an avid skydiver myself, I knew that this experience was something that could take our minds off the workload and relax for the day.