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Tim Zak

Tim Zak

Associate Teaching Professor, Former Director of the Institute for Social Innovation

Tim Zak is an Associate Teaching Professor and Former Director of the Institute for Social Innovation at Carnegie Mellon University. He has spent over 25 years leading global organizations and advising executives in the public, private, and nonprofit sectors.

Professor Zak began teaching at CMU in 2002 as an Adjunct Professor of Operations Management and Manufacturing at the Tepper School of Business. In 2005, he also joined the adjunct faculty at the Heinz College where he focused on courses related to social entrepreneurship and innovation. From January 2007 until May 2010, he was the Executive Director of Carnegie Mellon’s start-up programs in Australia.  While in Australia, he was named to the inaugural board of The Australian Centre for Social Innovation (, an organization focused on tackling the country's most greatest social challenges.

Before joining CMU, Professor Zak was the founding CEO of the Social Innovation Accelerator, a private operating foundation providing seed capital and direct support for a portfolio of ventures focused on novel, financially-sustainable ways to address social problems. Prior to launching the Accelerator, he was a consultant in the Business Technology Office at McKinsey and a leader in the firm’s e-Operations practice. While at McKinsey, he served global clients in a variety of industries including Media and Entertainment, Health Care, and High-Tech and focused on the development of new, technology-based ventures.

He has extensive experience in start-up companies with senior management stints at both a B2B e-commerce company and a technology research and consulting firm. He was also a Manager in Arthur D. Little’s IT Practice and a Manufacturing Engineering Manager at IBM where he specialized in start-up production processes and the development of factory IT systems.

Professor Zak earned a Bachelor of Science degree with honors in Computer Science and Industrial Management from Carnegie-Mellon University and a Master of Science degree in Engineering Science with concentrations in Manufacturing Systems and Reliability from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. He also has an M.B.A. with distinction from New York University in Finance, Marketing, and International Business.

Courses Taught

  • 94-885 - Societal Consequences of Technological Change: Precision Medicine
  • 94-829 - Societal Consequences of Technological Change:Implications of 4th Industrial Rev

Additional Information