Zach Clayton
Zach Clayton
Home Region

Raleigh, NC

Undergrad Education

University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, 07, BA Economics

Previous Experience

New Media Campaigns

HBS Activities

President of Republican Club, Entrepreneurial Club, TechMedia Club

“There's not a single person on campus I can't learn from. That makes every day exciting.”

From an early age, Zach Clayton says, "I've had a strong interest in politics." That may be a considerable understatement. In high school, Zach not only participated in numerous campaigns, but organized a group called "Freedom's Answer" to motivate more young people to get involved in politics.

"By college, I was eager to work with candidates in a more structured way," he says. That desire led to two business enterprises: The Resources Group, a public affairs organization, and New Media Campaigns, a company with web tools and services designed to "help companies and campaigns struggling to adapt to the new rules of politics online."

A realistic approach to true business challenges

As an entrepreneur, Zach faced struggles of his own. "I was doing twenty different things at once, dealing with issues in every function from accounting to marketing to operations," says Zach. "I realized I was figuring a lot of things on my own I shouldn't have to. With the right training, I could skip a few steps later on."

Zach came to HBS for its business realism. "Business and life are complex; there's rarely a clear right or wrong answer," Zach says. "You can find a book for formulas, but how about deciding whether to accept venture capital or boot-strap? When should you go IPO? How do you fire an underperforming employee? These aren't black and white issues, but gray. HBS' case method is the only learning technique I've come across that accepts complexity and treats that reality appropriately. You just can't deal with these issues without a case discussion."

Zach finds the entire HBS environment is built for in-depth education. "There's not a single person on campus I can't learn from," he says. "That makes every day exciting."

Acting entrepreneurially

Zach will broaden his perspectives through a summer internship with McKinsey & Co. in Atlanta where he will participate in a generalist consulting program. Regarding the future, "I'm not sure what organization I'll be in," says Zach. "But whether it's in an established company or my own, I'll continue to be entrepreneurial in the way I address problems. It's the most exciting way to live."