Daniel Parravano ’17 has a passion for commercial real estate. So it’s no coincidence that he chose to attend UMass Lowell, which has opened 13 new buildings since 2009, and live in a city brimming with development opportunities.

“I was excited about all the up-and-coming projects like the new Pulichino Tong Business Center. This has been a time of major transformation at the university,” says Parravano, who earned his bachelor’s degree in business administration (with concentrations in finance and international business) this spring and is now pursuing his MBA from the Manning School of Business.

Parravano brings a true Italian-American perspective to his studies. He was born in Wellesley but grew up just outside of Rome after his parents returned to their native Italy. When he was 14, his family moved back to Massachusetts, and Parravano attended high school in Waltham.

“It was the perfect age to assimilate to both cultures and learn both languages. I got to experience the best of both worlds,” says Parravano, whose English is devoid of an Italian accent.

To get real-world real estate experience while in college, Parravano earned his residential sales license his sophomore year. Working for the local Century 21 office, he started by dealing with rentals in Lowell and Dracut before moving into sales. His biggest closing to date? A million-dollar home in Walpole.

“That was a nice learning experience,” says Parravano, who admits his clients were sometimes surprised to learn their realtor was still in college. “The key is confidence. You have to dress the part and make people feel comfortable.”

Parravano, whose MBA concentration is in finance, says his ultimate goal is to get involved with commercial real estate — an interest that was piqued when he learned about financial analytics as an undergrad.

An Honors College student, Parravano’s senior thesis was titled “Building a Real Estate Portfolio: How to Reach a Cash Flow of One Million Dollars.” It examined how “Gateway Cities” like Lowell can offer investors a better rate of return than other areas.

“With so many students coming in and an availability of jobs, Lowell’s really an emerging market, which is nice to see,” Parravano says. The research project benefited from the “tremendous support” of his thesis adviser, Visiting Prof. Michael Salach, along with faculty members such as Saira Latif, Kimberly Merriman and Asil Oztekin, he says.

“I’ve had so many great professors here who have opened a lot of doors for me, and that’s what’s different about UMass Lowell,” he says.

In addition to working as a resident adviser and serving as vice president of the UMass Lowell Real Estate Network Association, Parravano belonged to the finance and accounting societies. The highlight of his undergraduate experience was traveling to Omaha, Neb., with fellow Manning School students to meet billionaire investor Warren Buffett.

“I didn’t expect to represent the university at that level,” Parravano says. “UMass Lowell is such a great place. Looking back, I would make the decision all over again.”