Carl Haacke ’81

    Alumni > Carl Haacke ’81

Carl is founder and CEO of Skylight Group and former Economics Adviser at the White House National Economic Council under President Clinton. He is also a current parent at City and Country School.

What have you done since graduation?

I’m the founder and CEO of an Internet start-up company. Previously, I was a strategic consultant to organizations such as the New York Times, Ford Foundation, TiVo, Microsoft and Viacom. I also founded Skylight Wireless, another startup that created customized information services for public spaces. I also worked for the White House National Economic Council and the US Department of Labor.

I attended high school at the United Nations International School, and then graduated from Wesleyan University with a degree in Political Science. I have two graduate degrees from Columbia University, one with the School of International and Public Affairs, and an MBA.

How did your education at C&C shape the way you look at the world and the role you play in it?

It instilled me with integrity. I know that perpetual learning is exciting because it means growth. I learned not to accept everything people say because even the best can be wrong.

Do you consider yourself an innovator? A problem solver? A good citizen?

Yes, yes, yes. I’ve spent my life as all three.

How did City and Country define your notion of a job?

A job is a responsibility; it’s connected to other people who rely on you.

In what ways do you feel your education continues to this day?

Being smart is very, very hard and requires constant learning, rethinking and evaluating.

Have there been any interesting moments (big or small) in your adult life when you felt your time at City and Country affected a decision you made?

More than single moments, I think C&C created a mindset through which to look at the world all the time. If I’d pick one, I would pick a moment in the Store when we had to restock with more blue paint. We had to go to the paint store to buy it, bring it to our store, stock it and sell it to others in the School. After doing that, I was able to visualize the supply chain that enabled us to bring paint to the kids in the School who relied on us. Then I realized that all stores operate that way, in fact, the whole economy.

Is there anything else you’d like to add or explain about your experience at City and Country?

The financial situation we’ve just experienced in our world provides a glaring reminder of the importance of a C&C education. People took things at face value and pursued short term self interest without broader insight into the world. City and Country takes a different approach. They work to create real leaders who can think independently to solve complex problems. The “deeper” preparation that C&C provides, in addition to the basic academics, is far more valuable.