University of Missouri , Crosby MBA
Hometown: Columbia, MO
Undergraduate School and Degree: Troy University – Cellular and Molecular Biology, Spanish minor.
Where did you work before enrolling in business school? University of Missouri System – IT procurement specialist
Where did you intern during the summer of 2015? I co-founded a biomedical company with an oncologist, Hunter Biomedical LLC in Columbia, MO.
Where will you be working after graduation? Hunter Biomedical. Chief Executive Officer.
Community Work and Leadership Roles in Business School: In business school, I have been involved in the Trulaske Consulting Association, MBA Association, and Crosby Analytics Society. Outside of business school, I do fundraising work with the Dream Factory of Mid-Missouri, Relay for Life, and general cancer research.
Which academic or extracurricular achievement are you most proud of during business school? I am most proud of the fact that I am battling a stage 4 cancer diagnosis and not missing a beat, while undergoing chemotherapy, excelling in the MBA program, operating a successful personal website and blog, launching a biotech company from the ground up, developing a large professional network of high-profile business professionals, and performing all of my graduate assistant duties. I refuse to let my diagnosis hold me back in any way whatsoever. Catch me if you can, cancer.
What achievement are you most proud of in your professional career? So far, I am most proud of the work that I am currently doing with Hunter Biomedical. I truly believe this company will change the world, for the better.
Who is your favorite professor? This is a tough question, as there are several exceptional professors at the University of Missouri. However, after much deliberation, I would have to choose Professor Dan Turban. One of the most important skills that I have taken away from the MBA program is the ability to objectively self-reflect on my decisions, perceptions, attitudes, and actions, in order to develop my skills in all other aspects of my life. Professor Turban is completely responsible for showing me the true value in taking the proper steps to proactively develop this ability, which has enabled me to make exceptional progress, both personally and professionally. We have developed a personal friendship and I find his experience and knowledge invaluable to my personal successes over the last 18 months. I very much look forward to further developing our relationship as I grow and mature in all personal and professional endeavors.
Favorite MBA Courses? My favorite MBA course would probably be the very first course I stepped foot into on our first day. It is titled Introduction to Strategy and is taught by Professor Rick Johnson. In this class, we used a simulation that allowed us to manage an airline company and make approximately 40 different decisions every week that were directly related to the success of our company. As someone who did not come from a business background, the immediate immersion in such a class provided valuable insights into the interconnectedness of business decisions. I was also enamored with Personal and Professional Development and Exploring the Digital Globe.
Why did you choose this business school? I chose the Crosby MBA program for multiple reasons. One, it was in my hometown and would enable me to stay close to my family, whom I have a very close relationship with. Two, in my opinion, it was a high-quality program that would be a stepping stone to a very successful career. Three, the opportunity to obtain a master’s degree debt-free was highly motivating.
What did you enjoy most about business school? My favorite part has been getting to know my colleagues, the professors, the staff, and various individuals around the university campus who have a distinct interest in both the business school and its students’ success. I have developed many relationships that I am confident will be life-long and I believe that I will look back at my decision to go to business school at the University of Missouri as the best professional decision I have made and will ever make.
What is the biggest lesson you gained from business school? NETWORK, NETWORK, NETWORK. You never know whom you might come across who can change your life. I had always viewed networking as a necessary evil and went about it very nonchalantly before business school. After taking note of the effects of having a highly developed pipeline of successful professionals, I decided to make it a top priority. Now, as a CEO and entrepreneur, there is nothing more important to the success of the company, in my opinion, than our ability to establish positive relationships with as many high-quality people as we can find.
What was the most surprising thing about business school? I think the most astonishing things I have noticed from business school are how risk-averse most business people tend to be and how the vast majority of learning comes from outside of the classroom. Apart from those aiming to be entrepreneurs, most colleagues, alumni, and business professionals seem very afraid of almost any risk in any aspect of their lives. Truth or Dare with most business folks would be a boring game. Also, the most influential learning experiences for me came from outside the classroom. Case competitions and individual conversations with professors or industry experts were often far more valuable than lectures. Learning is great, but the application of that knowledge is exceedingly important and instrumental to success.
What was the hardest part of business school? The hardest part for me was to figure out what exactly I wanted to do with my business school education. I have always excelled in school, but had a wide variety of interests. Finding a way to hone the skills that I have into a career that I am passionate about has always been somewhat of a struggle for me. The exposure into many different components of business helped me to find my place. I never in a million years would have guessed I would have been an entrepreneur. Now, I can’t imagine doing anything else and am constantly formulating new ideas for future ventures. I want to change the world and the way we fight disease and the best way to do that is to create a revolutionary product and bring it to the masses.
What’s your best advice to an applicant to your school? The single most important thing that I think can be done to get the most out of business school is to leave your ego at the door. Nobody knows everything. Chances are, you don’t really even know that much. And, the more you learn, you realize how much you don’t know. Open your mind to all of the possibilities that will be presented to you and all of the subject matters. Businesses are very much interconnected and I would urge students to take a wide variety of classes in a wide range of disciplines.
“I knew I wanted to go to business school when… I was working a job that I knew was well below my potential and was in absolutely no way fulfilling.”
“If I hadn’t gone to business school, I would be… stuck in a dead-end job with responsibilities significantly below my intellectual ability, in an industry where I had no real interest or passion. I knew I needed those three letters behind my name.”
Which executive or entrepreneur do you most admire? Elon Musk. I admire his passion and his change-the-world mentality. He believes he can accomplish anything if he works hard enough, and I know that to be a very necessary quality in an entrepreneur.
What are your long-term professional goals? My long-term professional goal is to have Hunter Biomedical become a large and successful company. Plain and simple. This accomplishment will allow the company and myself to pursue many other product ideas, separate from our initial surgical device platform, which we believe will have a direct effect on the well-being of the world. Also, I want to inspire people.
Who would you most want to thank for your success? This is a cliché, but I don’t care. My parents and my family undoubtedly get the credit for the man I am today. I would not be where I am today without them. And, I am so thankful every single day to have such a strong and supportive family to rely upon.
Fun fact about yourself: I went to three different high schools and was an All-State athlete and two-time state champion! I love winning.
Favorite book: The Holographic Universe by Michael Talbot
Favorite movie: Gladiator
Favorite musical performer: Tom Petty
Favorite television show: “Anthony Bourdain: No Reservations”
Favorite vacation spot: Seaside, Florida
Hobbies? Crossfit, nutrition, wine-making, gardening, idea generation, and making connections with new people from diverse backgrounds
What made Zach such an invaluable addition to the class of 2016?
“Zach is the student that comes into my office to hang out and just talk. He has an extraordinary attitude with an impressive sense of humor. He has a passion for baseball, science, nutrition, and living a healthy lifestyle. During his time here, he co-founded and serves as chief executive officer of a biomedical company working to develop the way cancer is treated and diagnosed, with the very real goal of curing cancer. Integrating his love of nutrition, the company created a specific diet to fight against and prevent cancer. This past October, Zach was given a new battle. He was diagnosed with stage 4 colon cancer. Zach is now conquering cancer with confidence, bravery, and grace. Since his diagnosis, he started a blog. The responses he got about his diagnosis and blog updates have been incredible. There has been an outpouring of support both in the Crosby MBA program as well as in our local community. Zach captures the realities of cancer true and hard in his blog, but he also reiterates that cancer is just a word, not a story. Zach’s determination is unwavering and inspirational. Despite past and future obstacles he may face, whether they are related to a business venture or not, cancer has not and will not diminish his spirit or his strength. The business world should brace itself for all the wonderful things Zach will do.”
M.Ed., Academic Advisor
University of Missouri
DON’T MISS: 2016 MBAs TO WATCH