Milena Lizarazo

Degree: Master of Business Administration

College/School: College of Business

Milena Lizarazo had the value of education drilled into her by her late father, an electrical engineer who always looked out for his daughter. At 19 she landed a job as a customer service agent at a bank in her native Colombia, and soon after she looked up to see him at her window. He made her an offer she couldn’t refuse. “I will pay you whatever they are paying you so you can devote all of your time to school,” he told her.

That spurred Milena to dive full-time into her business studies at Universidad de La Sabana, a move she has never regretted. She earned a degree and not long after relocated to New York to work in finance. Years later, she visited Miami Beach and heard about a group of condo owners unhappy with their management company. Enterprising and determined—she wanted to move to the Sunshine State to earn a Florida Real Estate Sales Associate license—she drew up a plan and sent a copy to every owner in the building. They hired her, and she has parlayed that success into her own company.

At FIU Milena saw her horizons expand when she took an organization information systems class with Associate College of Business Dean Susan Clemmons. Milena says the class that focused around the “Internet of Things” was rich and interesting. It centered on what an MBA professional should be trained and prepared for – real business life situations.

Milena will now focus on expanding her the business she began in 2009, which grew from one condo building to more than100 rental properties on South Beach. Her newly acquired expertise promises even bigger things ahead.