When we connected with ACU Online grad Clay Hunt, he was vacationing with his family in Colorado. He warned us it might get rambunctious since Clay and wife Kristin have three young children: 6-year-old Stella, 3-year-old Hattie, and 2-year-old Lux.
Clay was a charter student in ACU Online’s MBA program, joining in 2015 with the very first online MBA cohort and graduating in December of 2017. “And it was fantastic,” he adds. One of the biggest benefits to come out of the experience was the inspiration to start his own company, Oso Perforating. Clay says of the MBA program, “I was so impressed with it and frankly, it’s led me to where I am today. And I’m grateful for it.”
Choosing ACU Online for his MBA program
Clay Hunt earned his undergraduate degree in Finance from Angelo State University, but he also took on-campus classes at ACU. He says getting an MBA was always in the back of his mind; he just wasn’t clear on the right timing. He had a full-time job while also creating a home with Kristin. But as he got busier, Clay realized, “Hey, life’s not going to get any simpler. And, so, there’s not a better time than now.”
Clay had been longing to understand business and entrepreneurship on a deeper level and knew an MBA would provide what he was looking for. While he did explore three other programs from large Division 1 schools, he was “ecstatic” when he learned about ACU Online’s newly launched online MBA program through LinkedIn.
What drew him to ACU? “I’d had the history with the university. I loved the time I was there for a stint in my undergrad program. But also, I was really busy with life. And, so, I was looking for MBA programs that specifically didn’t require a GMAT. I thought it would be a waste of time to spend a month or two studying for the GMAT before I ever got into an MBA program.”
Clay’s experience as an online grad student
Finding time for studies with a newborn and a 3-year-old at home was an admitted challenge for Clay Hunt. But the innovative online technology and scheduling flexibility of ACU’s program simplified the process. He appreciated being able to attend live lectures or watching them later when the busyness of life got in the way.
Clay enjoyed the ease of collaborating with his fellow MBA students on projects using Google Docs and other tools. He shares, “I feel like on-campus learning and online learning are coming much closer together from a standpoint of the value and the benefits that you can get and the technologies that you learn through online learning compared to on-campus learning. I think we’re even surpassing on-campus learning.”
Clay keeps tabs on the professional trajectories of his cohort members via LinkedIn. “I have watched several people I was in group projects with excel in their career. Whether they’re starting their own businesses or moving up in the organizations they were in, it’s happening. The MBA program has obviously been valuable and impactful in those people’s lives too.”
A long-held vision comes to fruition
Clay Hunt was working as a full-time employee when he began his graduate program, but he always knew he’d go out on his own. He recounts, “I really felt God driving me in the direction of starting my own company. I have an entrepreneurial spirit.” The education he received from ACU not only helped prepare him to start a company, but set him up for success as he learned more ways to be productive and add value to his organization.
Before starting ACU’s graduate program, Clay was unsure about how to bring his Christian faith into the marketplace. He wondered, “Should they be separate? I can go on mission trips, or I can even get involved in nonprofit organizations, but I don’t know how to join or infuse Christianity into a for-profit organization.”
Clay continues, “This MBA program really showed me how to do that. The way they specifically did that was every single thing we studied—everything we talked about on a daily and weekly basis—had its academia or business aspect and acumen to it. And then the follow-up question was always, ‘Well, what’s the Christianity perspective on this?’”
“So, it [the online MBA program] started to cultivate that mindset and communication among my program peers. And through that, I started praying, ‘Hey, I really feel you, God, telling me this is a direction I need to go, to start my own company. And what does that look like?’ And one thing led to another, and I let Him guide my path because I felt angst about it the entire time.”
Clay says going out on his own was a huge leap of faith. “I had a great cush job that paid me well that I could have stayed there and everything would have been great.” But he believed God was leading and pulling him along, and so he followed. In February of 2017, Clay founded Oso Perforating and realized “my full hope, faith, and trust are in Him. And He took Oso and made something spectacular out of it.”
A perforated pocket full of miracles
Oso Perforating is a manufacturer of downhole tools for the oil and gas industry. Clay is eager to share more on how his experience at ACU contributed to what happened after he started the company in early 2017. “It’s really profound and quite incredible from a business standpoint. As I stand back and look at it from a secular perspective, this is the type of stuff that you hear about in Forbes magazine. Our company has been wildly successful.”
Clay delights in recounting the reassuring signs of God’s guiding hand along the way. Immediately after he started the business, “God introduced me at church to my now business partner, David Knecht, while we were volunteering to fill communion trays.” Even though Clay’s background was in finance, he’d spent more time in sales. When he learned David was the director of finance for a large, publicly-traded concrete and aggregate company, he knew God was at work.
Clay adds, “There were so many times we just said, ‘All right. God’s leading this. He’s got this. These are not coincidences. These are miracles. And this is a direction He wants us to go. Let’s just keep going full bore.’”
When asked for his final thoughts, Clay Hunt remarks, “I used so much that I learned from my MBA program to take Oso at a rapidly scaling pace to where it is today, along with prayer and petition, of course. If I hadn’t had that background from the academic standpoint—specifically my MBA program—I don’t think we would have been as successful as we are today. It’s a fantastic story that God’s writing, and I’m excited to see what the future holds.”