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Pepperdine | Graziadio Business School

Full-Time MBA Program Alumni Testimonial


Alumnus Sarah Weaver, MBA '12

As a Senior Talent Manager at Microsoft, Sarah Weaver understands the need to incorporate inclusiveness within the workplace. Sharing Pepperdine’s commitment to value based leadership, Sarah perused a Full-Time MBA to encourage institutional change. Attracted by Pepperdine’s mission, Sarah feels compelled to merge purpose with her career. Applying her experience with the world, Sarah believes that tiny waves work together in building a culture of inclusivity.

Read Sarah's Story

"I had a manager actually tell me one time, talking about a co-worker, that women should stay at home and raise the children. And I paused and I was kinda like, you're, I'm a woman. And, he was like, no, no, not you, but like, that person. And I didn't really understand what the difference was. The culture of a company is truly a foundation of what a company is gonna do. How do we make an inclusive culture and how do we truly uncover the unconscious bias and how do we take as much bias as we can out of the system? To shift a culture it takes a lot of actions from a lot of individuals making intentional choices and that's what I do.

My name is Sarah Weaver. I'm a senior talent management manager at Microsoft. I get to help influence a lot of different conversations within every decision around talent. So, I've always been kind of a mechanical thinker. That's how my mom always described me. When I was around 14, one of our cars broke down and my dad wanted to fix it himself and I really was fascinated by this and got to say, I'm in, let's do this. And so, he and I rebuilt the car engine. I was just tearing it apart and then putting it all back together, it was one of those moments of bonding, but also really solidifying that I really liked to understand how things work and led to me really looking at engineering as a career.

Fast forward, I did chemical engineering for undergrad and then went into Hershey and made a lot of chocolate and became an efficiency expert in a sense, making plants faster and more efficient and run at lower costs. What I found through doing that was I could not really make something better without having that human connection, without having that, change the person, moment. So, I wanted to make a hard left in my career. I quit my job, got engaged, got married, moved across the country and started my MBA all in six months.

I interviewed at a number of different MBA programs and all of them kinda felt like they were interviewing me and measuring me against a bar of, am I good enough for their program. Whereas, when I talked to Pepperdine it was very much, we want to help you. We want to work with you and make you all that you can be and you're part of this family, you're part of this cohort, or this group and I really liked that. That was a very different feeling right from the beginning, right from the interview. Now, the view was not something to be disregarded. So, that also was nice, but the real feeling I remember walking into the recruiter's office and just, it was a very different conversation.

I specifically chose the MBA to make sure that I could speak to an organizational change in business language. Why is this important to the company? Why is this important to a corporate person that I'm coaching? I am the person behind the curtain, if you will. From a talent management standpoint, like we're building the architecture for the company to know what we need. We talk through a number of different tactical things and also cultural things. How do we get the biggest talent pool that we possibly can? I get to influence the diversity and inclusion of message. That's a really cool, fun part of my job. So, I'm raising two small boys. I know that my children will have a responsibility to this world.

When I think of what I learned at Graziadio and even why I chose Graziadio, was because of that value-centered aspect and the ethical aspect of, do what's right. Make the right choices. And I look at my boys and I want them to do that, too. Culture change takes time. So, when I think of kids, or I think of, even in the corporate culture, it's how are you raising a culture of inclusivity, that everyone can truly bring their best self? 'Cause that's when you truly get amazing things happening. Tiny waves add up."