Posted on April 29, 2024 by Wendy Frost

Watching her parents succeed through hard work and perseverance, Stephanie Florez applied the same philosophy to her time at UTSA. The end result when she graduates this May in three years with her B.B.A. in Real Estate Finance and Development is a full-time job as an investment banking analyst with Wells Fargo in New York City.

May 2024 graduate Stephanie FlorezFlorez, a senior at the Carlos Alvarez College of Business, never considered another career path for herself other than business. Growing up a child of immigrants (her mom is Korean, and her dad is Colombian), she witnessed their passion for entrepreneurship, which included flipping houses and owning a restaurant.

“Business is the backbone of the economy,” said Florez, a Bold Promise scholar from San Antonio. “It can be applied to any field.”

Taking advantage of the many career resources available to UTSA students, she applied for internships her first year at UTSA utilizing Handshake, UTSA’s job platform.  She credits the university’s Career Center, the college’s Student Success Center and the Najim Center for Innovation and Career Advancement with helping her prepare.

“UTSA is the place to be with all the resources,” she said. “Everyone is welcoming, and they want to help you succeed. As big as UTSA is you still can receive one-on-one support.”

She first participated in a virtual internship with Project Destined, an organization that provides students with training in real estate, entrepreneurship and financial literacy.  Florez took part in an eight-week program that focused on commercial real estate.  She returned to work with them the following year as a program manager, leading a team of interns.

“That experience really helped prepare me for my future positions,” said Florez. “I liked real estate because I could go behind the scenes and see how things work.”

She then landed a coveted role as a commercial real estate summer analyst with JPMorgan Chase and Co. in Los Angeles her first summer at UTSA. “It was a really great experience, and it helped me gain perspective on the real estate industry.”

Florez also joined the Najim Center’s Strategist Program, an experiential learning program that provides students with real-world business experiences. “I valued the opportunity to be able to give back to my community by working on these projects,” she said.

Last summer she completed an investment banking analyst internship with Wells Fargo in New York City. As a part of the real estate securitization and capital markets team, she worked on two projects that included pitching an investment retail suite based in Buda, TX and developing a 30-page FICC memo.

“What makes real estate so unique is that it gives opportunities to so many different types of people as well as connects people together,” she said.

In addition to her professional pursuits, Florez was active with several organizations at UTSA. She was a member of Delta Sigma Pi, the Investment Society, the Professional Businesswoman Society and helped relaunch the college’s chapter of the Association of Latino Professionals for America.

Building her network early on, she also participated in two business immersions to San Francisco and Washington, D.C. as well as numerous site visits and roundtables through the Embrey Real Estate Finance and Development program.

“UTSA does a good job of including commuter students,” she said. “I had so many opportunities to connect with my peers as well as with leaders in the real estate industry, like Walter Embrey.”

Capping off her senior year, she was selected as an inaugural member of the Alvarez Ambassadors, a group of student leaders who cultivate a sense of community within the college, promote resources to fellow students and engage with prospective students.

“I love the diversity and perspective that I’ve gained at UTSA,” she said. “And, I value being surrounded with like-minded students who are just as driven as me.”

Meeting her best friend her first year at UTSA, she has enjoyed amazing experiences expanding her global perspectives by traveling with friends within the United States as well as internationally to Brazil, Japan, Indonesia and Jordan. “One of the best things about UTSA is the relationships that I have developed.”

Although she’ll leave soon for New York, Florez will always consider San Antonio home.  “I hope people remember me not for the things that I’ve done, but how I’ve made people feel. This community has established my identity, and I’ll never forget that.”

— Wendy Frost