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Christian Chao

"The facilitated conversations allowed for a process of self-discovery, deepened self-awareness, and true learning to occur."

How have your studies at Pepperdine made a difference in your career?

The fact that I'm being sponsored for this program by my employer in Singapore is a significant form of recognition. They are making this investment because they see the value of developing professional talent in the practice of organization development (OD) for the organization.

Describe your most rewarding learning experience at Pepperdine.

True learning takes place not in listening to lectures, but in deep and honest conversations that lead to discovery of insights. The most rewarding experience is therefore the interactions I had with fellow students and faculty at the intensive sessions.

One in particular has been the Pajaro Dune's Personal Development Learning Group meetings that were conducted during Intensive Session 1. The experience was transformational. The facilitated conversations allowed for a process of self-discovery, deepened self-awareness, and true learning to occur. No one, including myself, left this session without having learned something important about themselves.

What do you think makes Pepperdine different than other schools?

I think Pepperdine's strong ties with the professional fraternity and the community are what make it distinctive. The MSOD program in particular has a tremendously vibrant and supportive alumni network – the strongest I have encountered so far.

What were your reasons for choosing Pepperdine?

Pepperdine's MSOD program has a strong tradition in providing robust OD education. The program also has an emphasis in developing international practitioners, which I love. The program is also widely recognized and respected by the OD practitioner community, which is how I got to know of the program. The fact that Pepperdine's MSOD program has been cited as the best master's program in OD available also made it an obvious choice.

What advice would you give to future students going to business school?

I would advise them to get some work experience first, as that experience will provide invaluable context for the learning and interactions with the cohort. A level of maturity that can only be gained through work experience will also do them good, and allow them to extract full potential from their interactions with the cohort and faculty during the program. I would also encourage attending a school that has a strong tradition and recognized standing with the professional community – both of which are possessed by Pepperdine's MSOD program.

Who was your favorite professor or class and why?

All the professors have their individual strengths, and these strengths are well-leveraged through the modules they have been assigned to lead. For example, Professor Terri Egan's strengths in coaching and personal interest in neuroscience were well employed as she led the first intensive session on Individual Development and Change.

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