John Clayton
John Clayton
Home Region

Raleigh, NC

Undergrad Education

Wake Forest University, Economics, 2009

Previous Experience

World Bank Group

HBS Activities

LGBTSA Admissions Chair 2012-13, Energy & Environment Club, Real Estate Club

“Harvard not only brings the world to you, but brings you out into the world.”

John Clayton speaks French, Italian, Chinese, and Spanish, and his resume looks less like a CV than an atlas: He has studied in Bologna, Italy, and Shanghai, China, and worked on the sustainable-development portfolio of the World Bank on projects throughout Sub-Saharan Africa. Born in Raleigh, N.C., John says, “I loved growing up in the South, but I’ve always had an itch to see the world.”

After moving to the portfolio’s global strategy hub, John worked directly with the World Bank’s vice president for sustainable development on the Bank’s energy and environment strategies, as well as engaging external partners within the international development community.

Despite the high-quality exposure, John felt a need “for something different, less bureaucratic” and turned toward the MBA “as a platform to transition into the private sector. I’d like to find more efficient ways to bring economic growth to developing areas.”

Not just the “how,” but the “why”

Why HBS? John doesn’t hesitate to list the reasons.  “First, it’s the global perspective,” he says. “HBS is committed to teaching 30-40% of cases on firms outside the United States, and 34% of the students are international. This global exposure in the classroom is bolstered by the FIELD course your first year and by GIXs and IXPs your second year. Harvard not only brings the world to you, but brings you out into the world.”

“The case method? At first, it may seem weird to learn something like finance – which seems more conducive to textbook teaching – through the case method. But with cases, you interact with and engage your classmates to learn not just the ‘how,’ but the ‘why’. The case method puts you at the helm of the ship and forces you to think through your actions and their consequences.”

John also raves about his classmates: “Everybody I meet is not just incredibly accomplished, but friendly and down-to-earth. I‘m fortunate to be in a place where I can surround myself with some of the best people from all walks of life, from different industries, geographies, and backgrounds. Here, you learn not just from your professor, but more importantly from the 89 peers in your section.”

For his summer internship, John plans to broaden his background skills as a summer associate with McKinsey & Co. in Atlanta. Long-term, “I’d like to tackle urban development from an investment perspective,” says John. “There’s incredible potential, but also incredible challenges to be met.”