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MBA professor combines his passions to help students learn through experience
April 16, 2014
Kefallonitis and Beneri at the APEX Asia event in Shanghai . 
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Nov. 4, 2013, Efstathios Kefallonitis, assistant professor for the marketing and management department at SUNY Oswego, was a guest speaker at the Airline Passenger Experience (APEX) Asia Conference, where he once again coordinated with alumna, Lauren Beneri.

Kefallonitis has been a professor at SUNY Oswego for three years and is also the Founder and President of branding.aero, a brand experience management agency for the aviation industry.

Beneri graduated from SUNY Oswego in 2008 with her MBA in management and is currently employed with Kellen Company, where she works full-time on APEX-trade organization, planning events and conferences.

The Oswego connection

Outside of teaching, Kefallonitis focuses his time on the airline industry, specifically in branding through his firm in New York City.

During the APEX Asia event, Kefallonitis presented “Creating an Authentic and Memorable Onboard Experience: Positioning Techniques and Future Outlook,” which discussed improving the passenger experience.

“I want to do projects that students can benefit from and gives them a real perspective on how the world works, but also an opportunity to showcase their strengths and network,” Kefallonitis said. “I think SUNY Oswego has a long tradition of helping out, not only locally, but regionally and nationally.” "
Efstathios Kefallonitis, Assistant Professor
Marketing and Management

Beneri, account executive at Kellen Company and director of programs and services for APEX, first contacted Kefallonitis over three years ago, asking for guest speakers to attend the APEX EXPO in Seattle, which is exclusive to experts and decision-makers committed to elevating the level of the airline passenger experience.

“We send out a call for educational topics for our events,” Beneri said. “Once we decided on speakers, we sent out speaker agreements to get their bio and that’s when I realized Kefallonitis was a professor at Oswego.”

Kefallonitis has participated as an invited speaker for three APEX events.

Beneri has been working for Kellen Company for over four years through the association management side where they manage non-profit associations and professional societies.

As a student at SUNY Oswego, Beneri had immense opportunities, which prepared her for success at Kellen Company.


Kefallonitis and his MBA 514 class at Syracuse Hancock International Airport.

Beneri gives back to Oswego by participating in the New York City Career Connection program put on by SUNY Oswego’s alumni office, which gives students an opportunity to network with alumni in the industry.

Teaching through experience

During the Fall 2013 semester, Kefallonitis combined his two interests, aviation branding and teaching, and had his MBA 514 students participate in a project for Syracuse Hancock International Airport.

Students met the heads of the operations of the airport to create a marketing plan that would bring people through the airport and to the Upstate New York area.

After surveying visitors at the airport, students created a plan based on the information gathered and presented it to the airport directors.

“I want to do projects that students can benefit from and gives them a real perspective on how the world works, but also an opportunity to showcase their strengths and network,” Kefallonitis said. “I think SUNY Oswego has a long tradition of helping out, not only locally, but regionally and nationally.”

For more information on Kefallonitis’ presentation at the APEX event, visit the APEX Asia page. To learn more about the SUNY Oswego’s MBA programs, visit oswego.edu/mba.

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