Former exchange student is leading authority in business re-engineering

Efrain Benavides Cantu.

An expert in business transformation, Efrain Benavides Cantu, MBA ’85, is much in demand, both as a consultant to leading companies in Latin America and as a visiting lecturer and invited speaker. He credits his UB education as a key to his success.

Benavides’ opportunity to study at UB was serendipitous. A native of Monterrey, Mexico, he earned his bachelor’s degree in Management Information Systems (MIS) at ITESM (Instituto Tecnologico y de Estudios Superiores de Monterrey) in 1982. Benavides was appointed assistant professor at the newly established ITESM campus in Toluca, a suburb of Mexico City.

Due to the economic crisis in Mexico at that time, it was difficult for Mexican students to afford to study abroad. However, when UB signed an exchange agreement with ITESM in 1983, Benavides became the first ITESM student to enroll in the UB School of Management MBA program under the auspices of the exchange.

He did so well at UB that he was encouraged to continue for a PhD degree. He declined, and now jokes that he “repented his decision while on the plane back to Mexico.”

Considered by Expansión, a major business magazine in Mexico, as one of the leading authorities in the field of business re-engineering, Benavides is president of Consultores Asociados en Administración, S.A., the Mexico City-based consulting firm he founded in 1988.

His firm has been hired by some of the most important companies and organizations in Mexico and Latin America, including Aeroméxico, Banco Nacional de México, Chase Manhattan Bank (Panama), Coca Cola and the Mexico City Government, among others.

Benavides’ areas of expertise include business transformation, knowledge management, organizational learning, marketing strategies, process innovation, entrepreneurship and business consulting, executive information systems (EIS) and non-linear business strategies.

He is frequently a guest speaker at a variety of international business and technology forums, and has written several books, including Distributed Data Processing: A Managerial Approach and Administration of the Information System Function. He has also developed and marketed software technologies (BPR: Business Process Reengineering and Best Practices Replication ®), as well as methodologies for EIS implementation. His work is published regularly in magazines and newspapers, as well as on major internet sites.

In fall 2001, Benavides was invited by the Swiss Business School of Zurich to teach in its intensive International Marketing Management MBA course, in which he combines e-learning techniques with in-person case discussions and on-line research. This prestigious program draws students from all over the world and employs an international and pragmatic approach – one that Benavides first learned at the School of Management.

What Benavides most valued about the MBA program at UB was the international exposure it gave him and the opportunities provided to work with fellow students on team projects. The program also allowed him to pursue independent research.

Two School of Management faculty stand out in his memory of his time at UB: Arun Jain, Samuel P. Capen Professor of Marketing Research and chair of the Department of Marketing; and Stanley Zionts, Alumni Professor Decision Support Systems, Department of Management Science and Systems.

“Dr. Jain always motivated me to do my best,” Benavides said. “Dr. Zionts was my intellectual challenger; he, and some of his colleagues, nominated me as a candidate for the MBA Achievement Award of 1985.”

Benavides highly recommends UB’s MBA program. “It’s one of the best and most cost-effective programs available. UB has one of the leading business schools in the U.S.”

When he returned to Mexico, Benavides was appointed dean of the Business School at ITESM in Toluca. He continued in that position until he established his consulting company in 1988.

Written by Barbara A. Byers, APR