Nathaniel Nadaff-Hafrey

Nathaniel Nadaff-Hafrey

Class of 2008, America Field
Business Development at Google
Nathaniel Nadaff-Hafrey

Thesis Title: "In Search of ‘The City of All Faiths": Post-9/11 Culture Wars, Historical Reclamation, and Hybrid Heroism in The 99 and The Zein Series

What Now: I lead a business development team at Google in Mountain View. We focus on an ecosystem of advertising agencies and Google partner companies that, in turn, work with high-growth companies (ranging from startups to local businesses).

I wish that I had a perfect origin story for my career, thus far, but the truth is that I could have easily wound up in a completely different corner of industry. Indeed, just one month prior to my graduation, I had signed (but not mailed) paperwork accepting a job at a hedge fund in Manhattan. Instead, based on little more than a deep interest in the then-nascent Internet video ecosystem, and a more-than-somewhat-naive fascination with “startups,” I took a job as one of two people on the Analytics team at a fledgling Boston-based company that had built a unique ad/content measurement infrastructure for digital video.

Now, over eight years later, I have held a variety of roles at three early-stage startups (all in the media/analytics realm), worked in seed-stage venture capital, finished my MBA at MIT Sloan, and, most recently, taken a position at Google (even here, a History & Literature background causes double-takes).

I realize now that H&L creates entrepreneurial students. The process of crafting provocations in sophomore tutorial, of designing a junior tutorial syllabus and essay topic, and, finally, of embarking on a senior thesis gave me the curricular experience I value most: the opportunity to create, refine, and execute my own course of study. My education in H&L, and at Harvard more generally, shaped me in countless and fundamental ways. I am thankful, each day, to have had such a diverse course of study, and one that emphasized excellence in research and communication, both verbal and written. It is these skills and learning experiences that shaped me most profoundly as a thinker, and now as a professional.