UVA Darden Grad Khurrum Malik (MBA ’07) Brings Curiosity Custom-Made for the Digital Age to Spotify

By Sally Parker

University of Virginia Darden School of Business alumnus Khurrum Malik (MBA ’07) says his father’s dream to travel the world sparked the curiosity that has carried him forward since he was a young boy.

Curiosity still motivates him as head of marketing for Spotify’s advertising business, and in a recent profile on Darden’s Alumni Spotlight, Malik described how curiosity, comfort with numbers and a broader perspective on enjoying life have been crucial to succeed in the rapidly changing field of digital marketing.

Malik says his career is built on themes that emerged at Darden. He remembers Professor Paul Farris exhorting his class, “I expect marketers to be as financially astute as bankers, and then be marketers also. Marketing is more math than you think.”

“He was right,” Malik says. “I purposely took a ton of finance classes and a lot of data analytics classes.”

He also recalls the words of Professor Ed Freeman: “I’m going to teach you how to enjoy the moments of life. You’ve been living in data and bullet points, and you’re going to accelerate and you’re going to forget to smell the roses.”

Freeman’s lesson “was about using the muscle of appreciating the moment and not turning everything into data,” Malik says. “Darden is a purpose-driven school. That’s a big part of it. They don’t just do things to get an economic output. They do them with purpose. That makes it a special place.”

Read the full profile on Darden’s Alumni Spotlight.


About the University of Virginia Darden School of Business

The University of Virginia Darden School of Business delivers the world’s best business education experience to prepare entrepreneurial, global and responsible leaders through its MBA, Ph.D., MSBA and Executive Education programs. Darden’s top-ranked faculty is renowned for teaching excellence and advances practical business knowledge through research. Darden was established in 1955 at the University of Virginia, a top public university founded by Thomas Jefferson in 1819 in Charlottesville, Virginia.


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