Our Alumni

Michael Velasco (MSRED '19)

Mike Velasco is a Low-Income Housing Tax Credit Asset Manager for M&T Bank who finds Affordable Housing projects that require equity in exchange for Tax Credits that fulfill the banks community reinvestment requirements.

Michael Velasco.

In addition to working in the Affordable Housing sector, he has held various positions within M&T’s Commercial Banking division related to commercial real estate underwriting and management. Velasco earned a BS in Economics  with a Minor in Finance from Ithaca College, and holds an MS in Real Estate Development from UB's School of Architecture and Planning. He enjoys outdoor activities with his energetic family and yellow lab.

Published November 3, 2022

Why did you choose UB to study real estate development?

UB offers a valuable program led by local industry experts offering students hands on experience tackling present day issues. Real estate programs are few and far between and not often provided by those living and breathing it daily. From an investment perspective, the return is significant, receiving a top-tier education at a SUNY value. Those in charge of running the program care dearly about its success and bring the best professors, speakers, and opportunities for the students.

What was the most important connection - person, place, or idea - you made during your time here? 

People. I have been out of the program since 2019 and still stay in touch with some professors and peers that are in the same industry. The real estate industry is a small world, so having a broad network is crucial to be successful. 

How has your UB MSRED experience uniquely prepared you for the world of practice?

The interdisciplinary approach to the program has allowed me to review real estate opportunities from different perspectives. This has afforded me the background to ask the right questions in order to better understand any present risks and mitigate them before it’s too late.

What do you see as the biggest challenge facing the industry today? How do you hope to make a difference?

The interdisciplinary approach to the program has allowed me to review real estate opportunities from different perspectives. This has afforded me the background to ask the right questions in order to better understand any present risks and mitigate them before it’s too late.

Limited resources require creative solutions to meet the needs of those without adequate affordable housing. There is a severe gap on the extremely low-income household spectrum that is not being met under the current model. We need new ideas that better leverage capital to fill this need. In the short term, as part of the LIHTC equity investment team, I strive to utilize the bank’s resources to make the most sizable impact in the areas of greatest need.

What gets you out of bed every morning? What passions and ambitions drive you in your professional practice?

Each morning I have the privilege of waking up with the knowledge my two young sons have a roof over their heads and a safe place to call home. Knowing this is not a reality for all families drives me to use my position in the bank to fill that need.

If you could offer current students in our program one piece of advice, what would it be?

There are many paths you can take with your real estate development degree. Stay open to unexpected opportunities.