Skip to main content

Meet MMH Alumni: Stephen Vaknin ’14

Stephen Vaknin

Stephen Vaknin, MMH’ 14

New York, NY

Stephen is a New York native, born and schooled in NYC, but raised between NYC and Israel.  He came to MMH with an entrepreneurial real estate background and ventured into hospitality real estate finance.  Right now he is still involved in real estate, but his main focus is growing his family’s security business where he serves as a Director.  With only two and a half months until graduation, it is always exciting to talk to alumni from the previous class and see what they are up to one year out of MMH.  I connected with Stephen through Facebook and was delighted when he agreed to share why he chose the MMH program and what he’s been up to the last year.

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.

Skip to toolbar