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CEO MBA Earl Cummings to Receive Pepperdine Distinguished Alumni Award


Pepperdine University will honor Presidents and Key Executive MBA graduate Earl Cummings with the Distinguished Alumni Award at graduation on Saturday, April 12, 2014, and Mr. Cummings address graduating students.

The Distinguished Alumni Award recognizes a graduate whose professional and personal accomplishments uphold the values-centered principles of Pepperdine University and the Graziadio School. Continue reading

Pepperdine EMBA Student Selected as Graduation Speaker


Graduating executive MBA student Arjun Jolly has been named this April’s commencement student speaker and will be inducted into Beta Gamma Sigma for academic excellence.

Nominated by his professors and fellow classmates, and selected by Dean Linda Livingstone, he receives the honor of addressing fellow graduates having demonstrated outstanding academic performance and having represented the school’s mission and values both inside and outside of the classroom. Continue reading

LinkedIn for HS Athletes Wins Business Plan Finals


Recruiting4Me, a social network and database for young athletes seeking to connect with scouting college coaches, took first place in this year’s 10th Annual Pepperdine University Business Plan Competition finals. Accomplished athletes throughout their pre-college and university years, MBA students Annie Macomber and Craig Montgomery (with Annie’s brother John) conceived the “LinkedIn for High School Athletes” to address the pain points they experienced themselves.

“Many students want to continue to play sports in college but are unsure of the processes and procedures for recruiting,” they said. “Recruiting4Me addresses these issues by aggregating all the critical information necessary to give students the best chance of finding schools that match both their academic and athletic aspirations.” Continue reading

U.S. News Publishes 2015 B-School Rankings

grad-2015-business-160U.S. News & World Report recently announced 2015 graduate business school rankings for the 2014-2015 academic year. Out of the 127 full-time MBA programs that qualified to participate this year, the MBA program in Malibu jumped 20 places nationally to take the #76 spot.  Employment at graduation among full-time students, a key metric, improved from 38 percent for the Class of 2012 to 50 percent for 2013 graduates. Another key metric, employed three months after graduation, improved from 60 percent for 2012 to nearly 68 percent for the Class of 2013.

The Graziadio School is one of only eight part-time MBA programs in California to continue to earn a place in the ranking. Out of the 282 part-time MBA programs that qualified to participate this year, the Fully Employed MBA placed #61 nationally.

This year’s new U.S. News ranking follows on the heels of Bloomberg Businessweek’s global assessment of Executive MBA programs last fall. In the biennial ranking, the Graziadio School jumped eight places to #23. Businessweek placed the Fully Employed MBA program at #12 for the Western U.S. region and #50 globally.

2013 graduating Executive MBA and Presidents and Key Executives MBA program students helped the Graziadio School score #17 in the graduate poll rank category, as well as an A+ for curriculum, A for academic support and B grade for teaching.

Pepperdine MBA Class Skype Greece, Argentina Dignitaries

Going far beyond traditional classroom lectures, Pepperdine University’s Presidents and Key Executives (PKE) MBA program at the Graziadio School of Business and Management hosted dialogues via Skype on the Greek and Argentinian economies with former Minister of State Theodoros Roussopoulos of Greece, and former two-time Minister of Economy Domingo Cavallo, Ph.D., of Argentina. Minister Cavallo also served as Minister of Foreign Affairs and president of Argentina’s central bank. The presentations were followed by candid question-and-answer sessions  that tied lessons from the economic crises of both countries to present-day global challenges.

Domingo Cavallo

Domingo Cavallo

“The discussion with the former Argentinian minister was especially impactful for me. By walking us through the last 20 years of fiscal policy in Argentina, the minister was able to show how sound fiscal policy sets the country on a track for sustained growth, but when short-sighted policies are implemented, growth stops and capital providers flee as rising inflation devastates the average wage earner. A textbook example of Economics 101,” said current PKE student Jim Freitas, Boeing’s 737 Fleet Support Chief.

Minister Cavallo provided “fantastic insight into the Argentinian economy over the past two and a half decades,” concurs fellow student Ned Curic, chief technology officer of Toyota Motor Sales (TMS), North America.

But for PKE alumnus Robert Radi, president of CUSV Strategic Ventures and candidate for La Quinta City Council, leadership lessons from Minister Cavallo were the real takeaway. He especially appreciates that “Dr. Cavallo’s remarks were effective in providing a pragmatic historical overview, along with refreshing overtones of candid self-criticism with regard to his monetary policy. Leadership is cemented in substance, not in mere formalities, an aspect not lost in Dr. Cavallo’s words.”

While some found Minister Cavallo’s words memorable, others, like student Mark Borao, managing partner for Media & Entertainment Services at Ernst & Young, were most struck by Minister Roussopoulos’ candor and “display of emotional vulnerability when he spoke not just of the economic challenges Greece and the European Union (EU) are facing, but the challenges posed to humanity, quality of life, and value systems as citizens continue to face high unemployment and rising taxes.”

PKE alumna Noelle Nguyen, whose company, American Love Affair, originated as a PKE capstone project, shares a similar sentiment: “Minister Roussopoulos’ remarks made clear he’s optimistic about Greece’s current path toward progress, but he did not shy away from acknowledging the tragic human costs of the European sovereign-debt crisis. I was pleasantly surprised by his deep concern for human welfare.”

Theodoros Roussopoulos

Theodoros Roussopoulos

Hoping that Greece will learn from Argentina’s economic collapse of 2001-2002, Minister Cavallo expounded, “Miranda Xafa (Chief Economic Advisor to former Prime Minister Constantine Mitsotakis) and I tried hard to counteract the advice of Nouriel Roubini and, to some extent, Paul Krugman, for Greece to exit the Euro and reintroduce the Drachma. I used the Argentinian experience to explain that that would be a disaster for Greece.”

The minister has an ally in none other than Pepperdine Professor Demos Vardiabasis: “A return to the Drachma would put private companies seeking financing in a challenging position when the EU’s reserve currency is the Euro, and Greece’s government itself would have a difficult time borrowing in the Drachma based on its track record,” warned Dr. Vardiabasis. Indeed, Dr. Vardiabasis and Minister Cavallo not only see eye to eye, but plan on pursuing a productive relationship by which to advise Greek’s current government.

The event was facilitated by Professor Demos Vardiabasis, Ph.D., former Economic Commissioner of California and chair of Executive Programs at Pepperdine University. This month, the Presidents and Key Executives MBA program will host Kevin Madden, senior advisor and strategist to Mitt Romney’s 2012 presidential campaign, and press secretary for Bush/Cheney ’04 and House Speaker John Boehner.

Source: Noelle Nguyen