Ben Efraim, SBA '80

It started with a challenge from Ben Efraim’s dad. If Ben finished college early, his dad would give him the remaining money that a full four years would have cost. “I guess my entrepreneurial instincts went into high gear from that moment on,” says Ben.

After starting out at a large university, Ben quickly decided he wanted a different kind of experience. He transferred to Menlo, he says, attracted by its small size, its strong reputation as a top business school, its international flavor, and its “highly personalized setting near a big city but not in a big city.” He graduated from Menlo in three years by taking 19, 21, and 23 units per semester.

The Menlo Mix

At Menlo, says Ben, “we were a budding group of entrepreneurial students who wanted to learn how to do business and change the world – students from so many backgrounds and perspectives who challenged each other to think and produce beyond the obvious.” Ben brought his own international background to the mix at our business school, having grown up in Iran and attended high school at a British boarding school in Geneva, Switzerland.

In Menlo classrooms, says Ben, faculty presented students with case studies, with no right or wrong answers. “By my second or third year at Menlo we were entrenched in critical thinking, quantitative analysis, and other valuable business skills that matured us, personally and professionally.”

Around the World

As soon as Ben graduated, he went to work in New York and Germany, helping to expand his family’s import/export business. In 1983 he relocated to southern California to become an entrepreneur in earnest, founding Beptal Inc., a real estate development and management company based in Santa Monica, California. During the past 27 years, Ben has steered the company to thrive in uncertain economic times.

The Menlo Bond

“In my international travels, being part of the Menlo family has opened doors with other alumni,” says Ben. “I have picked up the phone and the Menlo connection has been almost a calling card, as the Menlo bond for all of us goes very deep.”

Capitalizing on the social networking revolution, Ben is building a new kind of alumni group in southern California, a model that can be replicated for our business school alumni around the world. “I see this as an opportunity for a group of people who were shaped by a Menlo College education, in a close geographic area, to grow valuable business and social connections,” he says. “We can share anecdotes, help the college, and perhaps what we find together can be shared with potential students.”

Read more Menlo alumni stories.