One Man’s Passion for Entrepreneurship and Education
“Johnson helped to prepare me for the challenges of starting my own businesses,” he says. In his MBA program, he focused on finance, and he recalls particularly enjoying Professor Hal Bierman’s courses. One example of how his Johnson education benefited his work: “Capital budgeting courses gave me an extremely valuable tool – the skills to analyze projects before making calculated but risky business decisions.”
Quintanilla believes strongly in giving back and has made generous financial gifts to Johnson over the years. Recently, he and his wife established the Carlos and Clara Quintanilla Fellowship at Johnson, an international scholarship. “One of the main areas that my family foundation is interested in supporting is education, because education is key for the development of not only individuals, but also communities and entire countries. Social and economic progress follow educational investments. My family believes strongly that we need to help educate the next generation of leaders of our community in Monterrey, Mexico.”
For Johnson scholarship recipients, he hopes that the funding “will help students to get a great education and enable them to become great entrepreneurs. Start-ups like Apple, Microsoft and Google have always created more new jobs and generated more wealth around the world than established companies. Entrepreneurs have had more impact in local communities than big companies.”
Quintanilla’s passion for entrepreneurship is evident in his own extraordinary career. “I chose this career path over 30 years ago, when most Latin American MBAs chose to work as employees of big banks or large corporations. Being an entrepreneur and starting your own business can be very challenging and nerve-wracking. But successfully building your own business is as satisfying and fulfilling as finding the love of your life, marrying her, and seeing your children grow up to be successful” – all of which Quintanilla has also done.
Today, he is president of Quintanilla, Hache y Asociados (QHYA), a family owned and operated business that focuses on investments in the Mexican financial sector and on developing industrial parks in the United States. He is a founder and active participant in several financial services companies, including securities brokerage houses, asset management companies, and banks.
Among the most notable endeavors in his long list of accomplishments is helping to found two financial organizations and take them to successful IPOs. In the early ‘90s, Grupo Financiero Value was one of the first financial groups that traded on the Mexican Stock Exchange, and Banregio, founded in 1994, is now the twelfth largest bank in Mexico. Another notable project was his involvement in the 1980s in founding a venture capital firm, one of the first major participants to trade in emerging markets debt, which has since become a multibillion dollar sector of the international securities market. And another – Quintanilla’s development of some 500 acres as industrial parks in southern Texas has played a significant role in driving economic growth and making it one of the most vibrant economic regions of the United States.
Even as he oversees his multiple ventures and actively searches for and develops new opportunities, Quintanilla makes helping educational and charitable institutions a priority in his life. He has served as a trustee for several Catholic schools and other eleemosynary institutions and now serves on the University of Michigan Engineering Advisory Council, where two of his sons were educated.
Johnson benefits greatly from his volunteer efforts in several areas, as well as from his generous gifts. He currently serves on the Advisory Council and Major Gifts Committee. Along with other alumni, he is working to establish the new Cornell-Queens Executive MBA (CQEMBA) program in Monterrey, Mexico. He is also active in mentoring Johnson students and in working with the Admissions Office to follow up with admitted Mexican students.
Quintanilla’s impact on the world and on individuals is significant, and among those who have noticed are the members of Johnson’s Latino Business Students Association. In 2011, they awarded him their second annual Distinguished Latino Alumni Award. He was chosen for “his exceptional achievements and significant contributions to his profession, his community and society as a whole, and to Johnson, as well as for promoting the advancement of Latinos in the business world.”
There are unquestionably many more chapters yet to be written in the saga of Carlos Quintanilla’s passions for entrepreneurship and education. They’ll no doubt make fascinating reading.