Real estate student found a world of opportunities at Rutgers
Maria Burgos spoke no English when she emigrated from Uruguay at age 14. School officials in New Jersey held her back a year and assigned her to an English as a second language program.
“I set a goal of learning English in six months. I read and practiced all the time,” the 2017 Rutgers Business School-Newark graduate recalled. The next school year, she entered Carteret High School in the mainstream curriculum, with no need for ESL.
That same determination powered her through Rutgers Business School. The married mother of two young children took every course offered by the Rutgers Center for Real Estate, served as president of the Real Estate Society, and, along with two teammates, won first place in the 2017 University of Miami Real Estate Case Competition.
“Maria had a great thirst to learn as much as she could about the business of real estate,” said Kevin Riordan, executive director of the Rutgers Center for Real Estate.
Burgos impressed Riordan with her ability to balance family life with all her campus activities. “If something needed doing, I knew I could count on her,” said Riordan, who is the advisor to the Real Estate Society.
Again and again, Burgos demonstrated the qualities that have become a Rutgers Business School brand: resilient, resourceful and responsible.
Burgos and her husband, Alex, live in Roselle with their two children, 11-year-old Valentina and 5-year-old Julianna, whom they homeschool. Burgos contends with health problems that forced her to take off two semesters. “I had difficulties going through school, but I kept going,” the 32-year-old said.
Burgos was the only undergraduate to take Riordan’s graduate-level Capital Markets class, which ignited her interest in that aspect of real estate. Rutgers Business School helped her land two internships, a first job, and then her dream position: working as a capital markets analyst for Aareal Capital Corporation in New York City.
Looking to recruit an analyst, Aareal management reached out to Riordan, who recommended Burgos. Riordan’s class “prepared me for this opportunity and gave me the confidence to analyze more complicated deals,” Burgos said. She underwrites debt for real estate transactions that average $100 million in the seven largest metropolitan centers in the U.S., she said.
Burgos earned scholarships from both the Rutgers Center for Real Estate and Women Executives in Real Estate of New York, which also provided her two years of post-graduation mentorship. She continues to keep in touch with Rutgers Business School instructors who encouraged and supported her, including Riordan, George Jacobs, who teaches a graduate-level course in real estate development; Ellen Kendall, who teaches real estate law; and Morris Davis, the Center for Real Estate’s academic director and Paul V. Profeta chair of real estate at Rutgers Business School.
“I think Rutgers Business School is the best program there is,” said Burgos, who majored in finance with a concentration in real estate. “They invest so much in their students, opening up a world of opportunities for them.”
- Margaret McHugh
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