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Ben McFarland, MBA '15

Graziadio Spotlight Stories

Ben McFarland

Pepperdine Graziadio: A Natural Choice

The Pepperdine Graziadio School was a natural fit for me. I grew up in Los Angeles and it was important to me that to attend a faith-based school graduate school. I ultimately chose to pursue my MBA at Pepperdine Graziadio because of the school's strong commitment to developing value-centered leaders. I really believe that my experience and education at Pepperdine Graziadio is helping me live a purpose-driven life both personally and professionally.

Political Work Shapes Interest in Business Development

I started out my career working as a Field Representative for House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy in his Bakersfield office. After nearly three years in that role, I became the Executive Director of the Kern County Farm Bureau, where I represented farmers and ranchers in the largest agricultural producing county in the nation. It was through these opportunities to help grow organizations where my interest in business development formed.

I am currently Business Development Leader at CrowdStreet, where we are transforming real estate investing by creating universally accessible, transparent and efficient markets. My team's role is to introduce our superior online investor acquisition and management solutions to commercial real estate investment firms, developers and operators.

The Right Mix of Entrepreneurship, Management and Technical Skills

When I was at the Pepperdine Graziadio School, I participated in the University of Oxford Global Program. Dr. Abraham Park taught at this program and took me under his wing. He became my mentor and asked me if I would become the first Fred Sands Fellow at the newly endowed institute of real estate. This was an amazing experience and I was fortunate to be a founding staff member assisting in the formation of the Master of Science in Real Estate.

At Pepperdine Graziadio, I gained tremendous technical skills, especially in the information systems and technology management courses taught by Dr. Erik Krough. This training prepared me for the world of technology start-ups and has been a driving force of my success at CrowdStreet.

One of my concentrations at Pepperdine Graziadio was entrepreneurship which enabled me to work closely with Dr. Larry Cox. These entrepreneurship courses allowed me to align my interests with innovative companies like CrowdStreet and be able to immediately contribute at a high level.

I made some great friendships at Pepperdine Graziadio; including Tim Ellsiepen, whom I did my thesis project with. Through my partnership with Tim, we formulated a business plan and pitch deck about an accounts receivable peer-to-business lending platform that I used in my interview with CrowdStreet to demonstrate my understanding of this emerging business landscape. Clearly, my time at Pepperdine Graziadio has paid off!

About Ben McFarland

Ben McFarland graduated in 2008 from Whittier College and received his MBA from the Pepperdine Graziadio School in 2015 with a concentration in entrepreneurship. Graduating from the program early, Ben spent six months as the first Fellow of the Fred Sands Institute of Real Estate. He recently moved to Portland, Oregon to take a business development position with CrowdStreet, which provides access to institutional quality commercial real estate investment opportunities across the nation.