Investing in Our Future

Prophet Sharing

Scott Galloway, MBA 92, extends a hand to students from immigrant families

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A generous donation from Scott Galloway, MBA 92, honors his own educational experience by funding scholarships and fellowships for high-achieving undergraduate and graduate business students who come from immigrant families, as he does.

Not a lot of executives can get away with delivering a speech the way Scott Galloway does. In 15 minutes flat, he’ll blow through a 90-slide presentation and don a wig to lip synch a few bars of Adele’s “Hello”— just to drive home a point.

But Galloway’s on-stage antics aren’t the reason why more than a million people tuned in to one presentation alone that he gave last year. Galloway is almost single-handedly changing the way brands market in the digital age, much the same way he helped companies recognize brands as assets in the 1990s with his company Prophet Brand Strategy (co-founded with classmate Ian Chaplin, MBA 92) and later helped pioneer the rise of e-commerce when he co-founded Red Envelope, an online specialty gift retailer, in 1997.

Today, Galloway, a professor of marketing at New York University’s Stern School of Business, owes his celebrity in marketing circles to the advent of big data and the full-service business-intelligence firm he founded, L2, Inc., in 2009 to benchmark brands’ digital competence in the age of social media. L2’s flagship product is the Digital IQ Index, which collects millions of daily data points on the online presence of some 2,000 brands across 11 of the world’s biggest consumer markets. Household names like Estée Lauder, L’Oréal, Procter & Gamble, Clorox, and Kimberly-Clark are among the companies paying between five and seven figures a year to access Galloway’s data- driven insights into, say, how the gender of a CEO or the location of a company’s headquarters affect a brand’s digital footprint.

“We’re trainspotters,” says Galloway. “We collect all this data to see where the patterns are.”

Earlier this year, L2 was sold to technology research firm Gartner, which allowed Galloway to make good on a promise he made to UC Berkeley. Galloway signed the university’s Founders’ Pledge, a commitment of entrepreneurs to give back to Berkeley when they attain success. To date, some 265 founders have signed.

Galloway, the child of a single immigrant mother, credits many of his accomplishments to an affordable education—first as a UCLA undergraduate and then at Haas—and to the doors that Berkeley opened for him. “I was a remarkably unremarkable kid,” he says. “Cal made what probably seemed, at the time, like an irrational bet on me. It changed my life.”

Now, Galloway is paying his good fortune forward with a remarkable $4.4 million gift—the second-largest ever from an MBA-only alum. His philanthropy will create the Galloway Fellows Fund, scholarships and fellowships assisting generations of high-achieving undergraduate and graduate business students at Berkeley-Haas who also come from immigrant families. Fellows will meet with Scott and each other, to form a collective cohort of students with a shared experience.

“I make no delusions about what are the pillars of my modest success, specifically the big hand of government in the form of UCLA and Berkeley,” Galloway says. “I want to ensure that hand remains extended for the next generation of aspiring business leaders who come from immigrant families. I also hope this sends a signal to current and future immigrants that most Americans remember where we came from and welcome them to the land of opportunity.” —Krysten Crawford

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