2017 Best & Brightest: Zechariah Hintz, Cornell University (Dyson)

Zechariah Hintz

Cornell University, Charles H. Dyson School of Applied Economics and Management

“Loud, quirky, listener?, adventurous, big thinker, big shoes (15), perma-grin, foodie, stereotypically type A.”

Fun fact about yourself: Have traveled to 38 states and six countries.

Hometown: Heppner, OR

High School: Heppner High School

Major: Applied Economics and Management, concentration in Marketing

Favorite Business Courses: Entrepreneurial Marketing and Strategy

Extracurricular Activities, Community Work and Leadership Roles During College:

  • Alpha Gamma Rho Social Fraternity, Executive Board Member
  • Phi Gamma Nu Business Fraternity, National Director of Interactive Media
  • Ezra’s Army, President
  • Townhouse Student Council, President, Residential Advisor
  • New York FFA volunteer
  • Cornell Food Marketing Fellow

Where have you interned during your college career?

  • Cornell Cooperative Extension, Intern Rsearcher, Westport, NY
  • Fresh Direct, Meat Merchandising Intern, New York City, NY
  • Smithfield Foods, Biorenewables Intern, Smithfield, VA

Describe your dream Job: Running a company that works to bridge the divide between agricultural producers and global food consumers through innovative and exciting marketing tactics, all while helping tens of thousands of families have secure, livable incomes that can bring them joy and a feeling of fulfillment

Which executive or entrepreneur do you most admire? Elon Musk. The production of food is not appealing to the average consumer; it can be a bit of a snore. The same is true for sustainable cars — I have yet to hear someone my age light up about the thought of owning a Prius. However, Mr. Musk has taken sustainability and made it sexy, a thing that everyone now wants to own. I want to be the Elon Musk of the agricultural industry.

What did you enjoy most about majoring in a business-related field?  The applicability of my courses. I am a hands-on learner, and business courses give you the opportunity to actually practice the very skills you are learning about in a lecture hall or in a textbook.

What is the biggest lesson you gained from studying business?  Take the risk and adapt. Businesses thrive and die based on a person’s willingness to try starting a business and that same person’s ability to adapt their product, business model, and strategy based upon the real-time feedback given throughout the process.

Where would you like to work after graduation? I am working at Smithfield Foods in a management training program

What are your long-term professional goals? To run a business, or own a business, and provide value to consumers and agriculturalists alike, while making sure that my employees are given every opportunity possible.

What advice would you give to a student looking to major in a business-related field? Be open-minded about the opportunities that come from having a formal business degree, and don’t follow the money — follow your passion. There are too many finance/Wall Street groupies; be unique.

“I knew I wanted to major in business when…I took a gap year between high school and college where I was able to visit with over 70 players in the agricultural industry, from farmer to retailer, and recognized that I had a passion for the business and consumer side of the chain.”

“If I didn’t major in business, I would be…either an agricultural sciences major or a political science major.”

“Before I entered business school, I wish I had known…that I can be just as successful as my classmates by not going into finance or accounting — it would have saved a lot of time thinking about the what-ifs.”

What was the happiest moment of your life? Reading my acceptance letter to Cornell

Which academic, extracurricular or personal achievement are you most proud of? Getting a return offer from my junior internship — it was like everything I had been working for finally paid off.

What animal would you choose to represent your professional brand? A starfish. I am willing to make mistakes and will grow back a limb if I lose it in the process of reaching success

Who would you most want to thank for your success? My mother. She always held me to a higher standard than my classmates, and that made a huge difference.

What would you like your business school peers to say about you after you graduate from this program?  That I made a positive impact on my business school and that they think I will be very successful after college.

Favorite book: Color of the Sea by John Hamamura

Favorite movie: Good Will Hunting

Favorite musical performer: Adele

Favorite vacation spot: Rapallo, Italia

What are your hobbies?  Traveling, photography, cooking and baking, singing loudly, drinking craft beers or wine with my friends

What made Zechariah Hintz such an invaluable addition to the Class of 2017?

“As a member of the Class of 2017, Zech brought humor, leadership, creative talent, insightful mentoring and a strong focus on the people in his life, including students, staff, faculty and administrators.

Zech can make you laugh or smile in a second and after interacting with him one feels just a little bit happier. He is an outstanding and insightful teaching assistant in the classroom, an empathetic listener in every setting and a fascinating advocate in political discussions. Zech has creative talents that manifest in his photography or attention to presentation slides and he also knows how to run a spreadsheet and analyze a business case. He has a heart for the world and the brains to make a difference.”

Deborah Streeter
Bruce F. Failing, Sr. Professor of Personal Enterprise and Small Business Management
Charles H. Dyson School of Applied Economics and Management


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