Double Demon Michael Episcope (BUS '94, MS '08), the cofounder of Origin Investments, a real estate private equity firm with nearly $500 million in assets under management, looks back on his time at DePaul with great reverence.
Without the flexible course schedule and the centralized Chicago Loop location that DePaul's business school offers, Episcope says he might not have been as successful as he is today.
"As an undergraduate finance student, I pushed my classes to night and worked at the Chicago Mercantile Exchange during the day," says Episcope. "There was no better way for me to learn than being able to juxtapose theory and practice."
Studying in Chicago, the center of commodity trading, also gave Episcope a unique opportunity to work in that industry while he studied for his degree. He graduated from DePaul in 1996 and found immediate success as a trader. He was twice named among the top 20 traders in the country by Trader Monthly magazine.
After a lucrative career, Episcope decided to retire from trading in 2005 and focus on a new passion. He wanted to find a means of investing his own capital and he decided real estate was the answer.
Episcope sees a lot of overlap between floor trading and real estate investing because both are about generating returns, identifying inefficiencies and profiting from them.
To enhance his skills, he returned to DePaul to get a Master of Science in Real Estate degree.
"What I liked about DePaul's program was the fact that it was focused on real estate and real estate only," says Episcope. "DePaul has some of the best faculty in the country, an enormous alumni group and a well-recognized degree, so you can be confident when you graduate from the school that the degree actually means something."
Episcope co-founded Origin Investments in 2007 while he was in school, and he remains one of the largest investors in the firm’s real estate. The aim of his organization is to help people achieve financial success through real estate investments. His ambition is to continue to grow the company into a world-class organization and help shape the industry.
"A lot of my success is owed to DePaul," says Episcope. "I really have an affinity for the school and I want to see it continue to excel and lead in Chicago."
Episcope remains in close contact with the college. He is a sustaining board member of the real estate school. He also has served as president of the DePaul Real Estate Alumni Alliance, and has hired interns from DePaul to work at his company.
Episcope guest lectures at DePaul and also will be a guest panelist on "The Impact of Crowdfunding on Real Estate Finance," a roundtable discussion sponsored by the Real Estate Center at DePaul on Thursday, May 19.
For information about the roundtable discussion, click here.
For more information about the MS in Real Estate, click here.