Bob McQuaid, PhD
Graziadio Spotlight Stories
The Right Student in the Right Program at the Right Time
"At Pepperdine Graziadio, we have a wide portfolio of programs making one of our most important objectives to engage the right students in the right programs at the right time in their careers. In addition to teaching decision sciences and information systems courses for many years, I have participated in a wide variety of service and administrative roles. When Dean van Rensburg first announced the new position of Associate Dean of Operations, I felt like it was tailor made for me given my background and experience.
In this position, I am charged with revitalizing and integrating the processes and systems in which students engage with Pepperdine Graziadio outside of the classroom. This means looking at all aspects of the student experience – from recruiting to engaging students in the application and enrollment processes to scheduling classes to career services. We'll be assessing how we engage and interact with students at all touch-points and how we can best facilitate student success. We will work closely with our marketing and alumni departments as managing and nurturing relationships is critical to ensuring that we have the right student in the right program at the right time."
Good Fit for Graziadio
"We have over 15 different programs in our portfolio at Pepperdine Graziadio and it's not always obvious which one is best suited for each student given their different schedules and commitments, educational and professional backgrounds, and personal and career aspirations. I'm really excited to work with Dean van Rensburg and the leadership team to strengthen our operations and ensure that our students are being served as effectively as possible and that we are focused on finding students who will both contribute to and benefit from our curriculum."
Building a Model vs Analyzing a Model
"Prior to working in academia, I spent several years in the corporate world where I worked to develop and implement practical analytical tools to solve complex operational problems. Many people think that decision sciences is tool oriented – that there are inputs and outputs and you follow a recipe to solve any problem. But situations in the real world are more complex and intricate. Companies often think they are identifying problems, but really they are symptoms of problems, which need to be tackled differently. And real business problems tend to be local whereas solutions tend to be more global.
One of the things I like about teaching at the Graziadio School is our cross disciplinary approach; we teach students to apply analytics in a business setting. I often tell my students that the act of building a model is more powerful in the problem solving process than what the outcome of the model actually is. The process of building a model takes time and requires you to look at what factors are important, across functional areas, and what ramifications or unintended consequences may arise. The act of analyzing, communicating and effectively making an argument is often more important than finding the "right" answer to the problem. I'm excited to put these analytical skills into practice as we work to enhance our school and optimize Pepperdine Graziadio operations."