Name: Marc Benathen

Major at Baruch College (Degree Obtained): Finance/Investments, BBA
Company: Blink Fitness
Title: CFO
Graduation Year(s): 2002
School (if applicable) within Baruch College: Zicklin School of Business


1. Why did you choose Baruch? How did the college prepare you for the field you are in now?

At the time I was applying to colleges, while I knew I wanted to major in Business and Finance, I wasn’t really sure where I wanted to attend to college. I ended up sending out 15 applications and got about 10 acceptances. While Baruch wasn’t my first choice originally after visiting the campus, speaking with professors and students, it became clear that Baruch offered an amazing education and opportunity for a tremendous value. In September 1998, I became a freshman in Baruch’s Honors Program.

In addition to receiving a top rate Business and Liberal Arts education at Baruch, the college offered me access to numerous internship and extra-curricular leadership opportunities. To this day, I consider these experiences to be the foundation of my success.

2. What is one of your favorite memories you have from your time at Baruch?

I had the unique opportunity to participate in Baruch’s first-ever Entrepreneurship Competition on a team with one of my closest friends at Baruch (who is still today one of my closest friends) and be mentored by Dick Merians in what ultimately became the beginning steps for Executives on Campus Mentorship program. My team ultimately finished in second place in the competition, having patented and developed an RFID-based luggage tracking system.

3. What were you involved in while at Baruch? Did that influence you to join the BCAA board?

I was actively involved in numerous clubs and societies including AIESEC where I was President, Hillel, Golden Key, Finance Club, Junior Achievement and as a Campus Ambassador. These experiences helped me develop an affinity for Baruch and hone my leadership skills well beyond anything I could gain just from the classroom and internships. They also instilled in me the importance of giving back which is the main reason I joined the BCAA Board: To give back to the College who gave me so much!

4. What were the challenges you faced at Baruch? How did you handle these situations and did it help you grow?

The biggest challenge I faced at Baruch was one many Baruch students face. It was always a challenge to work in a professional position off-campus, attend classes full-time and be involved in several extra-curriculars while maintaining an active college social life. While little sleep and lots to do was pretty much the norm, I not only enjoyed every minute but it also helped me mature and grow in so many ways. The transition to working life after college was definitely a very smooth one thanks to this experience.

5. How did being part of the Baruch Mentorship program shape you-both personally and professionally?

Being one of the first mentors was a fantastic experience. My mentor, Dick Merians, not only took an interest in my education and professional aspirations but also me as a person and ultimately became a lifelong friend. This was something I never expected from a mentoring relationship but hope to be able to pay this forward as a Baruch alumnus.

6. How did your degree transition into the field you are in today?

I was a Finance major at Baruch College. Like many of my fellow Finance majors, when I originally started at Baruch I was fairly certain I wanted to work on Wall Street after graduation. A few internships into it, I quickly decided a potentially lucrative Wall Street career wasn’t something I was passionate about. Upon graduation, I landed a job in Corporate Strategy at NetJets, where I had the unique opportunity to work with the executive team of this Berkshire Hathaway owned company. From there I ultimately rose the ranks at several companies in finance and strategy before joining Blink Fitness in 2014. Today I am the SVP and CFO of Blink and haven’t looked back.

7. What drives you in your current profession?

As CFO for Blink Fitness, a rapidly growing fitness company, I can honestly say I wake up happy everyday to go to work and passionate about everything my company stands for. While I am extremely passionate about fitness, I get especially motivated to see the energy all of our gym associates bring, the energy of our members and the opportunity to bring positivity and well-being to many of the communities we serve. I always say if you want to be great at your job, find your passion, work hard and smart and the rest will fall into place.

8. Who is your role model and why?

My late father, Isaiah Benathen. My dad was actually a CUNY Kingsborough professor for 42 years until the day he unfortunately passed away. He always instilled in both my brother and I the value of hard work, working smart, giving every job or anything you do in life 100% and never taking anything for granted and always believing in ourselves. He and my mom were always our biggest supporters. It was always important to him to help those in need, whether it be a random homeless person, his local synagogue or a student who was juggling the challenges of being a single mother, working full-time and trying to get her nursing degree. I still remember on the day of his funeral meeting some of his students I had never met before and them telling me how he shaped their lives and what wonderful stories they heard about my brother and I. This truly touched me to my core. I aspire to always emulate these wonderful qualities in my own life.

9. What advice do you have for present and future Bearcats?

No dream is ever too big. If you’re willing to work for it, you can accomplish anything you desire and the strength of your Baruch education along with your experience will give you the foundation to achieve it no matter the competition.

10. What advice would you have for alumni who might want to be more involved with Baruch and the board?

There’s no time like the present! At the BCAA, our motto is simple “Supporting Past, Present and Future Generations of Baruch Alumni.” When Baruch alumni get involved, the entire Baruch community benefits and gets stronger.

11. What is your #1 goal for the BCAA?

On October 18, 2018, the BCAA will be celebrating our 50th anniversary with a very special Gala at Battery Park Gardens. I am very proud to be part of the committee planning the event. I hope to welcome other alumni at the event as we celebrate the great work the BCAA and it’s alumni volunteers contribute to the College.

12. How can people contact you?

 

E-mail: mbenathen2@yahoo.com