Brad Smallwood ’90 joined Facebook in 2008, just as it was beginning to run advertisements on its platform and its annual revenues had not yet topped $100 million. Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg and Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg recruited him away from Yahoo, where he ran the display advertising business.
Now Facebook vice president of marketing science, Smallwood oversees a group of more than 500 people (roughly 20 percent of them have doctorates) who do analytics on the business side. Their responsibilities include helping advertisers measure digital ad effectiveness, building analytical and measurement tools, and more.
Smallwood’s post-Hamilton path included earning a master’s degree in operations research at Stanford University. “I guess my career aspirations were probably pretty similar to what I’m doing today. It’s just back then the Internet existed, but it was not a thing; it wasn’t used for business at all. So I was doing kind of what I do now for very different types of companies,” Smallwood explains.
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Doing business on the Internet now is mundane — Facebook’s revenues are in the $50 to $60 billion range, and Smallwood still likes going to work in the morning.
“The great thing about working at Facebook is that you can actually see the impact that you make on the world,” he says. “I know it sounds cliché, but the things that we do, we’re not doing them for a hundred people or a thousand people or even 10 million people, we’re doing them for billions of people.”