Learn to start a successful business from those who have actually built them to the tune of over $100 million annual sales.
When Acton teachers step onto campus each day, they come from the real world. From the shop floor. From the sales room. From long nights juggling customer needs and operational complexities and wrestling with the same questions Acton students are asking themselves every day. These aren’t theory-driven academics. They’re real, successful entrepreneurs who’ve started small and, through trial and error and perseverance, have grown their businesses—up to $100 million in combined sales every year.
But talk doesn’t mean much. We’ll let their actions tell the story.
Are you as committed to your success as we are?
Our teachers care deeply about what they do. That’s no pleasant phrase; our teachers tell us that—outside of their families—the Acton students are their number-one priority. Every day, they bring their all to the classroom.
Do you take your success seriously?
Because they do. So much so, they’ve put their own success on the line for it.
Why do they teach?
Because they get as much back as they put in. They learn and relearn the fundamentals of business in the process. They know their success depended on teachers and mentors that invested in them. They know the power and fulfillment of seeing students turned entrepreneurs come back five, ten, fifteen years later, living successful and satisfied lives. Entrepreneurship is their passion; they wouldn’t be doing anything else.
Our entrepreneur-teachers are:
- Proven in the boardroom and gifted in the classroom
- Running successful businesses, leading venture capital firms, and coaching entrepreneurs
- Dedicated to seeing you succeed in class and in your career
UFM Acton MBA Team
Hugo Roberto Díaz Ramírez
Executive Director at UFM Acton MBA in Entrepreneurship
María Alejandra Alquijay Aguilar
Director of Operations at UFM Acton MBA in Entrepreneurship
Juan José Ruíz
Albert Loan is a professor at Acton MBA at UFM in Guatemala City, Guatemala. He did his undergraduate and graduate work in Economics at George Mason University in Fairfax, Virginia and also received a Masters of Education from Endicott College in Beverly, Massachusetts. He is a trained Montessori teacher with credentials in Secondary I and Secondary II from the American Montessori Association. Since 1995 he has been employing Socratic Practice and a host of discovery learning and collaborative methodologies in his teaching practice. His interest in both economics and pedagogy led him to the study of organizational culture and alternative forms of corporate governance, and in 2016 he established Polycentric Learning Group, which helps businesses, schools, and organizations cultivate their own learning culture. Albert is originally from Up State New York.
Alex is a serial entrepreneur and an active investor with a passion for new ideas and effective implementation. His business ventures include a central American retail chain founded in 2001 and sold in 2010 (Bazar International SA, founder and CEO), a commercial real estate company (AI Realty, founder and director), an investment fund in shipping (USH, partner) and a multinational telecom services company with operations throughout Latin America and Africa (Televida Group, co-founder).
Alex currently acts as chairman and CEO of Televida Group, a company that focuses on the continuous innovation and improvement of products and services available to mobile phone users.
In addition to his business activities Alex founded with his brother Ilias, the "Fundación Poulias | La Sonrisa del Niño" in Guatemala. The Poulias foundation and its program “La sonrisa del niño” aim to accelerate the development and maximize the potential of Guatemalan children living at or below the poverty line, through education, coaching and cultural activities.
Alex is also an active member of the Young Presidents’ Organization (YPO).
Alex graduated from Princeton University with an honors degree in Comparative Literature, a concentration in Economics and diplomas in European cultural studies, romance languages, and hellenic studies. After working as an investment banker with Salomon Brothers in London for several years, Alex received his MBA from Harvard Business School in 2001.
Born and raised in Athens Greece, Alex is fluent in Spanish, English, French and Greek. He loves sports and believes in the balance of a healthy mind in a healthy body. Since 2001 Alex has been based in beautiful Guatemala, a country towards which he is deeply grateful.
Mr. Safie was born in Guatemala in 1957, he graduated as Industrial Mechanical Engineer at Universidad Rafael Landivar. Mr.Safie has started a wide variety of businesses since his early years at school. While in college, he and his brother co-directed a candy distribution company which still operates in the local market.
Mr. Safie's businesses range from a coffee-brokerage company, called RECASA, founded in 1983 and still operating; up to his current operation as franchiser for Burger King Guatemala. As franchisee for Burger King, he operates over 43 restaurants. Overall, Mr. Safie has been founder or co-founder of over 10 companies where over 1,500 people work.
His most important venture is his family, he married his wife Hilda and together they have 4 children: Cristina 24, Lourdes 23, María 20 and Mateo 16, with whom they love spending their spare time.
John Glasgow (BA, M.Ed.) is the owner and general manager of Open Gate Digital Solutions.
Originally from Canada, John has lived in Guatemala since 2000, working first as teacher at an International School before moving into the Latin American business world in 2005. Since starting his first business here, John has worked with both national and international clients from various sectors in Guatemala, Mexico, Honduras, Panama, the United States of America, India and the Philippines in the areas of corporate training, educational consulting, and software and online platform design and development.
In addition to running Open Gate, John is currently the second Secretary of the Board of Directors of the American Chamber of Commerce, where he also served as the president of the Education and Training Committee from 2009 to 2012 and the technical advisor for the Business Future of the Americas event in 2013. He has spoken frequently on the topics of education, Corporate Social Responsibility and technology at universities, teacher training events, TED X, and U.S. State Department Tech Camps. In 2012, John was commissioned by the Canadian Embassy in Guatemala to produce a report on the current state of the international education market in Guatemala.
Juan Ignacio de la Rosa
Born in Guatemala in 1976. Founder and co-founder for a group of small thriving companies serving clients in Guatemala, El Salvador, México, and Panama. His ventures include technology, real estate, advertising and electronic markets.
Mr. de la Rosa is an Electronics Engineer, MEE and MBA from Universidad Francisco Marroquin, he became excited in taking part of the Acton program in Guatemala after experiencing a personal transformation during the “MyEj course from Acton”.
“Trying to find balance between personal life, working for somebody else and following a true calling in the entrepreneurial world has been no easy task. Becoming your own boss, learning to accept failure and recovering quickly all are great challenges. The Acton MyEj program delivered me a set of tools to help me move forward as an entrepreneur and as an individual. As a teacher in the Acton program my objective is to make these experiences available to others”..
Juan Mauricio Bonifasi
Juanma Bonifasi co-founded several entrepreneurial ventures which are now growing together interdependently as Grupo Entero.
The companies serve in diverse industries: Real Estate, Financial Services, Wellness, and Dental Services; and are located in Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras and Perú. Mr. Bonifasi loves to learn and create value. He is married and a blessed father of three. With his wife Ana, he recently founded The Acton Academy Guatemala. Juanma is striving to live a life of meaning, integrated to principles and enabling growth while staying true to his essence.
Ramón Parellada was born in Dallas, Texas in 1961. His parents moved to Guatemala two months later where they have resided ever since. He married María Mercedes and together they are raising four children: Jaime (22), Lourdes María (20), María Mercedes (18) and Javier (16). He is a Businessman and Director of companies in flexible packaging manufacturing, blow molding containers, thermal cups, raw materials and plastics recycling.
Mr. Parellada is a Chemical and Industrial Engineer by training with a Master in Business Administration from Universidad Francisco Marroquin – Guatemala. He has also finished a Master in Economics at UFM and is currently working in his thesis. He is currently a teacher of different courses for graduate and undergraduate students in free-market economics, money and banking and managerial economics.
Treasurer and Trustee of Universidad Francisco Marroquín. Member and former treasurer of “Asociación Módulos de Esperanza” and “FUNDAYUDA” (charity organizations). Director of CEES (Centro de Estudios Económico-Sociales). Member of “Philadelphia Society”. Member of the Guatemalan Chamber of Journalism. Columnist in the daily newspaper Siglo XXI .
Pablo is a serial entrepreneur and educator. His experience revolves around innovation, entrepreneurship, search funds and high-growth software in the fields of machine learning and cognitive science. Pablo Started in 2011 with Lumosity; an online platform that helps people develop their cognitive abilities. He structured and managed the scaling team and added 27 million users after his team took charge. Since 2015 Pablo has been Founder and Managing Partner of Gestla Ventures, a Latin American Innovation Management Consulting Firm focused on building sustainable business strategies and a Search Fund Accelerator focused on Small and Midsize companies in high-growth industries and with wide productivity gaps. To contribute to the entrepreneurial ecosystem in the region, he has partnered with HBS professors and recently launched Oqeniq Business School to meet the need for high-quality, practical and affordable business-education for people in the middle-class market.
Pablo graduated from Universidad Francisco Marroquín with a degree in Psychology. He later specialized in Behavioral Science at Harvard University, holds an Advanced Management Degree by Harvard Business School and He's currently pursuing his Global Executive MBA at IESE Business School. Pablo is an avid reader and has an obsession for accelerated learning curves.
At ACTON MBA he has found a place where "birds of the same feather flock" and he profoundly believes that Guatemala has the potential of becoming one of the greatest countries in the world if it's led by a prevailing entrepreneurial mindset to tackle our biggest problems.
Jean Paul Dent
Juan Carlos Coronado
Alfonso is a highly accomplished executive with more than 28 years of experience in ExxonMobil. His leadership and management skills are demonstrated from a broad range of positions, locally and internationally, such as Operations, Sales, Distribution, Finance and Planning. He has proven achievements in leadership of high performing teams and in the development of solid Corporate Cultures with emphasis on continuous improvement, innovation, excellence and employee motivation. He provided strategic advice to the Retail President and his Management Team in Headquarters to enhance the profitability of the business.
Business Experience Alfonso led support centers in Guatemala, Bangkok and Budapest, where he created and implemented a culture based on values which delivered outstanding results, including motivated employees, satisfied customers, a continuous improvement mindset and improved profitability in the retail business in excess of 40 million dollars. Through his leadership, Alfonso ensured a smooth closing of the support center in Guatemala maintaining morale and standards, retaining 100% of key talent and a 10% overall employee turnover 7 months after the announcement.
He led strategic investment plans to improve profitability in Egypt, Argentina, Distributor business in the United States, natural gas business in Colombia and Dealer business worldwide.
Alfonso led teams in Latin America with significant achievements such as: o Transportation savings of more than 15 million dollars o Increased retail market position in Colombia after more than 15 years of steady decline o Recognition as one of the best operations of airport plants, import terminals and lube blending plant in the region
He worked in a Latin America regional office, where he was a member of the team that redesigned the organization, under the guidance of McKinsey & Co.
Other business experience includes leading a financial, accounting and treasury team, direct operation of retail service stations in Guatemala and Virginia and managing a start-up company that was profitable and selling at capacity after one year of operation.