November 12, 2021
Alumni Spotlight: Eduardo Benatuil
By Bill Brink
Eduardo Benatuil didn’t have to wait long for an answer that would unlock his future.
During Benatuil’s senior year of high school, when his father visited Pittsburgh and asked his colleagues about colleges for his son, he got what you’d expect: Duquesne, Carnegie Mellon, and the University of Pittsburgh. Though he enrolled in Duquesne in the fall of 2007, Benatuil was exposed to Carnegie Mellon through an exchange program of sorts, visiting CMU several times with friends who attended the school and ended up becoming his classmates.
“If I’m doing this, where I’m going to be far from home [Venezuela], and living here in the United States and going to school in Pittsburgh, I might as well try to do what I can to go to the best institutions,” Benatuil said.
He met with Carol Goldburg, the Director (and now Executive Director) of Carnegie Mellon’s Undergraduate Economics program. After a conversation with Goldburg about his academic background and coursework, as well as a discussion about the Economics program, Benatuil received good news: He was in.
“The thing that really attracted me to Carnegie Mellon was looking at the data-driven and more analytical approach to economics,” said Benatuil, who graduated in 2011 with a degree in Economics and an additional major in International Relations and Politics. He now works as a Senior Associate Broker at Willis Towers Watson, an insurance brokerage firm in Chicago. “I liked the fact that the Economics department was focusing very heavily on statistics, calculus, and a more data-driven, analytical modeling of studies of economics.”
Even before college, Benatuil had his eye on international relations. Once he began taking IPS courses, he liked those taught by Dr. Kiron Skinner, the founding director of the Institute for Politics and Strategy and now the department’s Taube Professor for International Relations and Politics.
“I really enjoyed a lot of the discussions in her class and getting to learn more about foreign policy and history,” Benatuil said. “Her experience in government was always something I thought was very interesting to learn from.”
In Venezuela, law is an undergraduate field, and Benatuil considered a law degree for some time. He also wanted work experience before entering law school. Then he heard about Duquesne’s part-time evening program, which added a fourth year of study but offered the courses at night. Benatuil completed the program while working full-time, at Highmark, Synergy Consulting Group, and PNC Bank, where he ventured into various risk management and reporting roles.
“Carnegie Mellon, one of the things it did instill in me was a sense of hard work, a sense of having to manage your time, focusing on priorities but never letting anything fall off the table,” Benatuil said. “That’s something that I carried with me, not just throughout my professional career but also during my time in law school.”
During law school, Benatuil completed an externship with the Supreme Court of Costa Rica, drafting court orders involving constitutional mandates for the Costa Rican right to healthcare. He also worked as a clerk for Robb Leonard & Mulvihill in Pittsburgh.
“It was very interesting for me because it allowed me to do a little bit more legal research and writing, which was one of the courses that I greatly enjoyed my first year of law school,” Benatuil said. “I got to see how the court system, at least the local state court system, worked. I also got to foray into a few federal civil cases as well.”
Benatuil worked on civil litigation and insurance defense work with Robb Leonard & Mulvihill and did much the same at his first job out of law school, at SpyratosDavis LLC in Chicago. He represented clients in a variety of civil lawsuits in northern Illinois when his current employer came calling in 2019.
“When Willis approached me, they shared their belief that I would be a very good fit for this role because of my legal background, my understanding of the role that data and analytics plays in decision-making, and my experience in corporate risk management,” Benatuil said.
Benatuil advises Carnegie Mellon students not to rule anything out.
“You never know what you’re going to find, and you never know how something that you might not have thought you’re going to enjoy is actually very enjoyable, something that you do end up getting a lot of benefit out of,” he said. “And not just enjoying it, but making it a part of what you’re doing every single day. It’s being able to keep an open mind and, more importantly, staying flexible.”