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Pepperdine | Graziadio Business School

Alumni Spotlight: Chris Zorn

Masters of Science in Management and Leadership

Chris Zorn MSML Alumnus

What was your time at Pepperdine Graziadio like?

My time at Pepperdine Graziadio was one of the best experiences I have ever had regarding my education. It was a wonderful experience across the board. From the very first day there was a community of supporting people that cared for me. And they really wanted me to succeed, and were there to help me to develop. It went by in the blink of an eye and I honestly wish I could have stayed longer.

Are there any classes that really stand out?

You can't lead other people unless you know how to lead yourself. And until you know yourself, and that becomes the very foundation from which everything else is built. I believe that the Organizational Behavior class was really transformational for me. I had a fantastic professor, Darren Good, who was really available to us at all times. He even invited the entire class over to his home one day. It was really just a wonderful experience. Having the opportunity to learn about yourself before applying things in teams was really beneficial for me. He was fantastic and really approachable. For every professor I had throughout the program, I can really say it was not just from 6 to 10pm on Tuesday night. Truly, it was really 7 days a week.

What was a key takeaway from the program you utilize in your place of work?

It's all about working in teams, finding everyone's strengths within a team and really seeing things through a different lens. For me we do it on a daily basis. We work with groups that do not necessarily report to us, they make up other parts of the organization, and that was a great takeaway for me. I feel I am a much better team member now. I can lead a team when appropriate, be part of a team when appropriate, and I feel I can provide value. 

How did small class sizes impact your education?

I feel the small size class was the most important aspect of it. It really created a community as opposed to a classroom. When you have a small group of people I feel people are more open and more willing to open up with their vulnerabilities and what really matters. If you were there you were present and you were engaged and that was something that was really impactful for me. Having the small class sizes was even better because you get to know these people, they become your friends, and it becomes a network of individuals from various backgrounds you can rely on moving forward. You never know who could help you get a job in the future or recommend a candidate for a job you are hiring for.

How did Pepperdine help advance your career? 

I firmly think Pepperdine played a large part in my current position because having the master's degree on my resume was one thing, but having it from an institution like Pepperdine that was another. The reputation of Pepperdine is fantastic and it does open doors. I don't believe I would be [at my current position] if it was not for Pepperdine.