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Pepperdine | Graziadio Business School

Michael Henry

Full-Time MBA

Michael Henry

Why did you decide to go back and get your degree?

“I always knew I wanted to pursue an MBA, but decided to first gain work experience and travel after earning my undergraduate degree. Once I determined that I wanted to switch industries and functions, it became clear that a graduate degree would round out my skill set and open doors as I advance in a new industry.”

Why did you choose Pepperdine Graziadio?

“I chose the Pepperdine Graziadio Business School to diversify my network. I am originally from New York City and I thought earning my MBA on the West Coast would broaden my professional network. The small class sizes at Pepperdine and the opportunity to develop strong relationships with my professors also stood out to me.”

What program are you in?

“I am in the 20-month Full-Time MBA program with a concentration in marketing, which will enable me to work cross-functionally in a small or large company. In addition, I am a candidate for the Socially, Environmentally, and Ethically Responsible (SEER) certificate program.”

How has Pepperdine Graziadio helped you professionally and personally to date?

“Personally, I have been pushed to step outside of my comfort zone. At the Graziadio Business School, a great deal of our work is based on collaboration and working in teams. The student body is very diverse at Pepperdine, so I’ve worked with people from several different backgrounds and cultures. I think this will help me professionally because the working world is all about learning to how navigate teams and work with others – even when we have different opinions.”

What has surprised you the most about Pepperdine Graziadio?

“I was surprised by the diversity of experience at Pepperdine– some students have a limited number of work experience and others with extensive work experience, but what I am most impressed with is our ability to still apply lessons and values learned from these experiences in our classroom discussions.”

How do you stay engaged (and/or support the community) at Pepperdine Graziadio?  What type of difference are you making?  Why do you think this is important?

“I stay engaged in a couple of different ways at Pepperdine. I am the Director of Corporate Outreach for the Marketing Club for the Graziadio School. In this capacity, I reach out to alumni and industry leaders to bring them to Pepperdine for panel discussions and one-on-one conversations with students. I am also the Co-President of Graziadio Reaching Out – an affiliate of Reaching Out MBA, a national organization providing career prep and networking opportunities for LGBT students and allies. Lastly, I am a Student Senator for student government, where I work closely with the student body president. This year, we’re having more conversations on campus about philanthropy and giving back. Our goal is to start a culture of giving back as students so that continues when we become alumni. This will ensure the Graziadio School continues to have a strong financial footing, and we can also invest in scholarships, faculty and staff, and industry-related activities.”

How have other GSBM staff, faculty, professors and/or alumni helped you to achieve your goals?

“In my Personal Development for Leaders course, taught by Assistant Professor of Applied Behavioral Science Darren Good, I was able to hone in on where I want to take my professional career. During this course, it was important for me to understand who I was as an individual, what my own individual brand stands for, and how to be my most authentic self in order to pursue a career that I'm truly passionate about. Going through those exercises and having those conversations with my peers was helpful in discovering what I want in my career.”

Any advice you would give current/prospective students?

“For anyone starting their MBA, I would tell them to make sure you have a good sense of direction in terms of what you want to do in your career. But don’t be rigid—leave room for flexibility. What I mean by that is be open to taking a detour on your path. Sometimes that detour is exactly what you need to help you make the next decision of your life.”

About Michael

Michael Henry, a first-year MBA student at Pepperdine University Graziadio Business School, has nine years of professional experience in the non-profit and corporate sectors. Most recently, as an account manager for a global wine and spirits brand, Mr. Henry worked to identify and implement innovative ideas to drive brand growth. Prior to joining the wine and spirits industry, Michael started his career in non-profit fundraising as a major gifts officer, planning and executing high-net worth special events and soliciting six-figure philanthropic gifts.

Michael has also garnered business development and marketing experience as an independent consultant in the fundraising, restaurant, and tourism industries. He is an avid cyclist who has successfully completed two TD Bank 5 Boro Bike tours in New York City and other regional rides along the east coast. He has also run five half marathons and is training for his first full marathon in 2016.