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Michael Dunn, MBA 90,
MA 94 (Asian Studies)
CEO, Prophet, San Francisco
It's a sunny day on San Francisco Bay, the glorious scene framed in glass windows 15 floors up at marketing-consulting firm Prophet.
Far across the water stands the 307-foot Campanile, a push-pin pointer that marks the Berkeley campus where Michael Dunn, Prophet's CEO, built the networks that would become a crucial element of his success. "I didn't think that this is going to be my foundation for building a career," says Dunn. "I was interested in a lot of things."
Before Haas, Dunn spent three years in Japan as a financial analyst, a model, and a Tokyo Disneyland backup dancer.
At Haas, Dunn and five others founded a group to share their mutual passion for entrepreneurship. Dunn also worked part-time at a Silicon Valley startup specializing in hedgefund analytics, becoming its sales and marketing VP after graduation.
After the company was sold, a Berkeley grad lured Dunn to another startup developing software for big investment banks. Within three months, Dunn became CEO. But after four years of triple-digit growth, he got booted by venture capitalists who wanted an older chief for the IPO-bound company, which never ended up going public.
Then came a call from Haas Board member Scott Galloway, MBA 92, who was running online retailer Red Envelope and several other Internet projects. Galloway hired Dunn to help him rationalize his endeavors, including Prophet, whose only client was Levi Strauss.
Then another call, from Haas Professor and branding expert David Aaker. With Aaker as vice chairman, Dunn built Prophet into a company that boasts $75 million in annual revenue and a client list including Cartier, UBS, and GE.
"In very unexpected ways," says Dunn, "the people I had built initial connections with at Haas turned out to be very pivotal at critical junctions of my career."