2022 Best & Brightest Business Major: Zachary Benetatos, Hult International Business School

Zachary Benetatos

Hult International Business School

Brilliant storyteller and enthusiastic team player, continuously seeking opportunities for himself and others to learn.”

Fun fact about yourself: I was a contestant on the longest-running game show of all time “The Price is Right”.

Hometown: Apple Valley, California, USA

High School: Apple Valley High School

Major: Marketing

Minor: Psychology

Favorite Business Course: Behavioral Economics taught by Prof. Theocharis Papadopoulos.

Extracurricular Activities, Community Work and Leadership Roles During College:

Extracurricular Activities:

Social Entrepreneurship Society Co-Founder and President (2019-2022)

Global Ambassador for Admissions Team (2018-2022)

Hult Prize Volunteer, Participant and Mentor (2018-2021)

Welcome Week Leader (2019)

Faculty Fellow (2019)

Management Consulting Club (2018, 2019)

Awards and Honors

Hult Scholar:  Awarded university’s highest-level scholarship, based on personal achievement, intellectual promise, strength of character, and leadership potential.

Dean’s List (2018, 2019, 2020, 2021, 2022)

TedxHult Dubai Speaker: Delivered talk on “Transformation through meaningful connections” (2021)

WPP x Ford Motor Company Winning Team (2021)

Regional Finals Winner and placed in the Top 40 teams from over 250,000 contestants in Hult Prize, an award-winning startup accelerator program in partnership with the United Nations Office for Partnerships (2019)

Ernst and Young’s Project Capital Innovation Challenge Winner (2019)

“First year Superstar” — This award is given to only 1 first-year student at Hult International Business School for extraordinary contributions to student life, academic excellence, leadership amongst peers, and extra-curricular involvement (2019)

Volunteering/Community Work

The Inspirational Learning Group and Appleton School, College Mentor and workshop facilitator (United Kingdom)

Scholars of Sustenance Food Rescue, Volunteer (Thailand)

International Stability Operations Association, Volunteer (United Arab Emirates)

Where have you interned during your college career?

The Academy for Sales Excellence, Consultant: Dubai, United Arab Emirates

Google, Business Intern: Dublin, Ireland (Remote)

Decna, Co-Founder and CEO: Mumbai, India & London, United Kingdom

Where will you be working after graduation? Graduate School Student at Columbia University School of International and Public Affairs

What is the biggest lesson you gained from studying business? Doing well in business while doing good for others is not mutually exclusive. When applied together, these forces can generate an immeasurable impact. Business is as much about finance, management, and marketing as it is about using creativity and cultural knowledge to construct solutions to some of the many issues in society.

What advice would you give to a student looking to major in a business-related field? People. People, did I say people? Business is all about networking, and the power of relationships, so make sure you put your best foot forward by building strong bonds with your classmates and professors. Don’t spend the entire college experience in the corner of a library by yourself. That won’t do you any good in the long term. Make a proactive choice to learn about others and their life experiences. We live in a world where networking has become purely transactional. We are taught to collect business cards like they are Pokémon cards! It doesn’t have to be that way, and it’s your turn to change the status quo. Think how you will be of service and value to the people you meet and how you can create a productive relationship.

Majoring in business is a journey that will take you from your head to your heart. Your reputation and character make all the difference. Know your core values and what makes you tick before going into business school. This will help you navigate and make critical decisions even in the most uncertain times.

What business executive do you admire most? It would be Bertil Hult, Founder of Education First, because of his ability to build environments for cultures and ideas to intertwine. His empire has educated millions of students from 180+ countries. His schools located all around the world teach over eight languages. I believe that each new language learned works like a key, opening a door of endless possibilities. I’ve witnessed this myself when learning Italian and living with a host family and learning Chinese with EF in Shanghai. The global programs that Bertil has created inspire me to continue on a similar career path, one that is focused on connecting dreamers to opportunity.

Which academic, extracurricular or personal achievement are you most proud of? I am most proud of the impact trips I organized for students from my university to travel to Thailand in 2020 and Egypt in 2022. I wanted these trips to serve as an educational adventure, so we met with community-based entrepreneurs and NGOs. We lived with host families, stayed in eco-lodges, and slept on a train, sailboat, and even huts located deep within the jungle. Each day, someone would comment, “This is one of the coolest experiences I’ve had in my life.”

The travelers on our trips went from being classmates and, most of the time, strangers to a family with an unbreakable bond. The biggest gift for me comes post-tour since I’ve witnessed some of the travelers launch businesses related to sustainability and marketing. Others got into lifelong relationships. I know that tangible results do not always measure success, but for me, it lives within the memories and intangible experiences that are the true seeds of innovation. I am proud that I could make a difference in their personal and professional trajectory by organizing these trips and partnering with the right people to make it happen.

Which classmate do you most admire? Elia Lorenzi is incredibly disciplined and intelligent. He is the one classmate and friend of mine that truly has exhibited a growth mindset throughout the last four years I have been in class with him. His personal transformation has been one of the largest I’ve seen on campus from having a basic knowledge of the English language to being one of the most highly articulate individuals in the room that can understand the big picture and use his talent to teach and provide value to others. Sono fiero di te, Elia!

Who would you most want to thank for your success? I want to thank my most important mentor and role model, my father, for teaching me the importance of doing the right thing and never giving up. You worked 18+ hour days at the restaurant so that I could spend my childhood years with my mom — for which I am enormously grateful. I had an incredible childhood full of love, curiosity, and adventures, going to the library and developing an appreciation for culture and art even though we lived still in a small desert town with none of these institutions. In elementary school, mom was extremely involved as a volunteer, and it taught me the importance of being involved in the community as an agent of change, which formed my core values. You and mom would drive me over an hour away to participate in extracurricular activities at the playhouse and both go out of your way to help me develop and execute crazy science fair projects and funny rhymes to help me memorize my multiplication tables.

Until this day, when we speak on the phone with an absurd time-zone difference, you always find something to make me laugh. I know the sacrifices you made for all of us are immeasurable. Because of those sacrifices, I am proud of the man I am becoming. I know I don’t say this as much as I should but thank you for always believing in me.

Additionally, being part of this remarkable institution has allowed me to become globally minded and prepared for what the future holds. It has meant so much to the entire village of people that have supported me along the way – as it has to me, and I express my deepest gratitude to Hult Business School for providing me with a scholarship that completely changed my life.

What are the top two items on your professional bucket list?  

  1. Lead a world-class entrepreneurship accelerator that allows aspiring innovators to showcase their tools and platforms.
  2. Design global partnerships and programs that provide strategic support for businesses to benefit from intercontinental trade and investment.

What are your hobbies? I started doing puppet shows and delivering monologues as a kid in my living room to my mother and various stuffed animals. 15+ years later, those stuffed animals are now investors, entrepreneurs, and future changemakers. I have a great appreciation for all forms of art and entertainment, including plays, musicals, and electronic dance music festivals. Entertainment is beautiful because it brings together audiences comprised of diverse groups of people to have a shared experience that is uniquely meaningful to them. I also enjoy learning new languages and speaking with new people from different walks of life through my travels around the globe.

What made Zach such an invaluable addition to the Class of 2022?  

“Zach is one of the most whole-hearted students I have encountered in over 30 years of undergraduate teaching. He commits himself entirely to every class session, every reading assignment, every essay. In our most recent course together, Representations of London, Zach undertook an individual project which perfectly embodied his most distinctive quality: his gift for networking. The assignment was for students to develop their own “vision of London”, and Zach created a video history of the city’s rave culture. What distinguished the project most of all was the ingenuity and originality of Zach’s research. He chose the subject in part because of a series of conversations he had had with his hairdresser, who had not merely attended London raves but had been actively involved in their planning, management and promotion. The hairdresser put Zach in contact with a group of former colleagues, and Zach was able to interview them not just about their wild and wonderful past, but also about what they had done since, and how rave culture continued to shape their lives. The result was truly original work, powerful and moving evidence of his gift for making creative use of unusual and unusually productive contacts. Not many students would think of their hairdresser as a potential research resource, but Zach fearlessly and imaginatively engages with everyone he meets.

Zach is increasingly aware of how unusual his gift for personal relationships is. It is now integral to his career plans: to build global entrepreneurship accelerators. This seems perfectly suited to his adventurousness, his energy, his empathy, but most of all to his astonishing ability to make and work with friends.

In every class I have had with him, Zach has been incisive, articulate, reliable, thorough, and delightfully committed to getting the details right.

The qualities that mark Zach’s academic work have also been evident in his activities and leadership on campus. Students are eager to work with him on group projects, not just because of the quality of his own contributions, but even more because of his skill in getting people to collaborate, and to produce their best. Hult is still a new and developing institution, and Zach has done much to shape that development in a humane and productive way.”

Prof Dr. Alan Hertz
Professor of Humanities




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