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Nick Brown, MSML Candidate

Graziadio Spotlight Stories

Nick Brown MS in Management and Leadership

Why did you choose the Pepperdine Graziadio MSML program?

"A good friend from the Air Force whom I trust recommended I look at Pepperdine. When I separated from the Air Force, I also started looking into the benefits of the G.I. Bill that come with military service. Pepperdine participates in the Yellow Ribbon Program, which not every school does. That made a big difference for me, and I knew I could actually go through with this program and make it financially. I wasn't interested in getting my MBA, but I found the Master of Science in Management and Leadership program, and it was right in line with what I am passionate about. I live in Las Vegas, so it's a five hour commute, but the program fit my interests, and none of the schools near me had a program like it, so I decided that the long commute was worth it."

"My passion is interacting with people, learning how to inspire them, influence them, and help them get out of their comfort zone so that they can become their best selves. In my view, that is the end goal of leadership. The MSML courses are very focused on the leadership aspect of business."

How do you plan to use what you learn in the MSML program to achieve your goals?

"I started my own company called S.H.I.E.L.D. Leadership, and the goal is to train leaders to realize they are leading people, not just running a business. Profits and losses are important, but if you don't take care of people, everything else will fall apart. You have an amazing opportunity in a leadership position to positively influence someone's life."

"Through the MSML program, I hope to add academic research to back up the theories and philosophies we are teaching people in S.H.I.E.L.D. Leadership and to add credibility to what we are talking about. I hope to add more research to our leadership programs and connect the dots I didn't see before."

"There are overlapping themes in my classes, so one thing you hear in a class strengthens what you are learning in another. Everything builds upon itself. I find the psychology behind behavior in organizations and the way people behave in groups to be especially fascinating. Now that I am learning about what goes on in people's heads, I can have a better understanding to teach those lessons in leadership to other people more accurately in the future."

What do you think are the most important values for a leader?

"One of my core beliefs is that with certain exceptions, nobody out there is trying to do a bad job or hurt other people. Sometimes people just lack awareness about the effect they are having on others. That is why one of the goals of my business is to try and impart some of that awareness, especially to young and emerging leaders who have never been taught the fundamentals of leadership."

"The four characteristics that make up the cornerstone of successful leaders are approachability, respectability, credibility, and humility. If you have these four characteristics, you will begin to earn trust. If you have authority, people will have to listen to you, but they won't necessarily choose to listen to you. Leadership is when people actually choose to listen to you and follow you."

What advice would you give to someone with a military background looking to transition into business school?

"Anyone with a military background should look into the benefits offered by the G.I. Bill and the Yellow Ribbon Program. Unlike many schools, Pepperdine does not put a cap on how many people are accepted into the Yellow Ribbon Program. The Pepperdine Graziadio MSML program is also very unique. If you are interested in learning about leadership, becoming a better manager, and not only focusing on the business side of things, definitely look into the MSML program."

Nick Brown is the co-founder of S.H.I.E.L.D. Leadership, a leadership training and coaching company, and has served in the US Air Force for over 12 years. He is currently pursuing his Masters of Science in Management and Leadership from Pepperdine Graziadio. Previously, he was an ICBM operator at F.E. Warren Air Force base in Wyoming and studied at the Air Force Weapons School at Nellis Air Force base, where he is now a part-time instructor. Nick completed his undergraduate degree in Physical Education at State University of New York College at Brockport. He is now serving in the Air Force Reserves and is focusing on building his business and the MSML program.