As the plans for Stanford GSB’s new home, the Knight Management Center, were being formulated, both the administration and the architects were aiming for a design that would inspire big ideas. The school had long been a source of entrepreneurial thought that has changed business around the world, but it is only now, after the Knight Center is a reality, that Stanford GSB has a fitting physical presence.
Marcos Galperin, MBA ’99, fully embraced that risk-taking spirit during his time at the business school and put it to work founding MercadoLibre, the largest e-commerce platform in Latin America, with several Stanford GSB classmates. So now it is fitting that he has invested in the future of the school with a $1.5 million gift to name two spaces in the Knight Center.
“I don’t think I would have done what I did in another school. Stanford really encourages you to take risks,” Galperin says. “And because of that I wanted to give back to support Stanford GSB’s new facility, in which great new ideas will be sparked.”
His financial support is recognized in the naming of the Galperin Family Classroom on the first floor of the MBA Class of 1968 Building and the Marcos Galperin Classroom on the ground floor of the neighboring Serra East Building. He also made a significant contribution to the MBA Class of 1999 Classroom on the first floor of the W. Carter McClelland Building.
The Knight Management Center marks a new chapter in the life of the business school. Its flexible indoor-outdoor spaces encourage collaboration and transparency and have become a gathering place for not only Stanford GSB community but also for the larger university. Cutting-edge technology enables teleconferencing and distance learning, and enhances the learning and teaching experience in the classroom. A distinguishing circular structure in the middle of the eight-building collection houses the Arbuckle Dining Pavilion, named for former Dean Ernest C. Arbuckle, who transformed the school in the 1960s. The center is graced by several eye-catching modern art pieces serving as odes to the concept of change.
As the design of the Knight Center takes risks, so did Galperin in establishing MercadoLibre. While Galperin was at Stanford GSB, Jack McDonald, the Stanford Investors Professor of Finance, arranged for his student to drive John Muse, cofounder of the Hicks Muse private equity firm, to the airport. Galperin ran his business plan for MercadoLibre by Muse in the car and the investor quickly grabbed at the chance to support the venture. Soon after, Galperin assembled a small team that got together in a garage in Buenos Aires and launched MercadoLibre in August 1999.
In 2001, eBay bought an 18% stake in the company, which went public in 2007. For 2011, MercadoLibre generated $4.8 billion in gross merchandise volume, up 41.5% over the previous year, and reported consolidated net revenues of $298.9 million and net income of $76.8 million, up 37.9% and 37.1%, respectively. MercadoLibre operates in 15 countries, with more than 32 million unique visitors and an average of 1.7 billion pages viewed monthly.