Downtown Las Vegas is undergoing a transformation, combining the old with the new. One of the people on the forefront working to maintain the classics while embracing fresh ideas is Alexandra Epstein.

(Photo courtesy of Alexandra Epstein)

(Photo courtesy of Alexandra Epstein)

Her position is executive vice president and managing partner for her family business, El Cortez Hotel & Casino, one of the oldest casino/hotels in Las Vegas operating in the same building since 1941. The 28-year-old is also studying at Columbia Business School to obtain her MBA.

“I was born and raised in Las Vegas and education has always been important to my family,” Epstein stated. Encouraged to receive the best education possible and return to her hometown, she left Las Vegas to obtain her undergraduate degree at Columbia University in New York City. Epstein originally pursued pre-med and planned on becoming a doctor, but after three years, realized the medical field was not for her.

After returning to Las Vegas and working for the family business as well as participating in the changes in revitalizing downtown Las Vegas, Epstein wanted to add to her business education since she was now a business owner. “There were some deficiencies in my business knowledge and I wanted to get that education. However, with everything happening in downtown Las Vegas affecting my business, I didn’t want to leave for years to complete my degree.”

Columbia University offers a full-time MBA program on an executive schedule. “I loved the opportunity to go back to New York City,” Epstein explained, “and I have been working on my MBA since January 2013. I fly back to Columbia every month for one week.”

“There were many reasons for why I wanted to pursue a graduate degree. I wanted to legitimize my opinions with regards to business. Having an MBA would help in terms of decision-making at our business.”

Epstein believes that one should work before pursuing a graduate degree. “You will be able to apply your education better with real life experience, whether an MBA or master’s in some other specialized area. Higher education helps with self-confidence and provides a good base in any career path.”

Debbie Hall is practically a Las Vegas native (34 years and counting) and loves experiencing everything in Southern Nevada from the Las Vegas Strip to the surrounding mountains and Lake Mead. She also teaches at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas and loves sharing her knowledge. Her work can be found on


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