Facebook pixel Alumna Lori Tabb Details How She Balanced Her MBA | Alumni | Pepperdine Graziadio Skip to main content
Pepperdine | Graziadio Business School

A Perfect Balance: Alumna Lori Tabb Details How She Balanced Her MBA, Work, and a Whole Lot More


Many careered professionals—particularly in the business environment—have an affinity for advancing to new heights frequently. That’s one reason many choose to pursue working in the business landscape. There are endless opportunities to push yourself further, accomplishing a goal and setting another.

For alumna Lori Tabb (MBA ‘97), a career in the business atmosphere allows her to continuously succeed at whatever she sets her mind to—and is consistently proving that it’s crucial to not only love what you do but do what you love.

A passionate creative with love for marketing and advertising, Lori has enjoyed a fruitful career within one of the world’s most competitive—and most fun—industries. Starting her career fresh out of college with Ogilvy & Mather, one of the world’s first and most prestigious advertising firms—Mad Men vibes anyone?—she experienced a vast journey early on in her business career. This occurrence enabled her to work with popular global brands across various industries, providing her with an enriching amount of unparalleled knowledge and experience. 

Eventually, Lori desired to expand her scope of knowledge while still climbing the corporate ladder, leading her to discover Graziadio’s Part-Time MBA program. The program’s flexibility and the course schedule allowed her to succeed in multiple areas of her life simultaneously without compromising one for the other. Without the element of “opportunity cost” requiring her to choose, Lori continued to accelerate in her day job while adhering to traveling, being an MBA student, and remembering to do simple things such as, you know, sleep! 

Turning the pages to arrive at her current chapter, Lori came to found ShiftAffect, a business focused on providing executive and leadership coaching services to individuals and organizations. In addition to her already outstanding feat, she co-founded a company dedicated to serving professional women through coaching and community via a 12-week “Leadership Lab.” Both of these valuable assets that Lori has been part of proves that not only do your passions take you further than what’s imaginable, but it creates an ecosystem where others can benefit from the fruits of your labor. We thank Lori for her incredible story and impact on our school’s community and look forward to seeing her make waves as a Best for the World Leader. 

Interview with Lori

1. Provide some information about your academic background and professional experience.

I earned dual degrees in communications (with an emphasis in advertising) and business (with an emphasis in marketing) from Cal State Fullerton. Upon graduation, I accepted a position at Ogilvy & Mather Advertising, one of the world's oldest and largest advertising agencies. From O&M, I trailed a boss to a company that specialized in creating licensed products for a major studio and network franchises and decided I wanted to pursue my MBA—but I didn’t want to leave my corporate career as I was already on an upward trajectory that I was enjoying. My research pointed me to Pepperdine Graziadio’s Part-Time MBA program, which I enrolled in as a fully-employed student while working, traveling, and accelerating in my day job.  

I enjoyed a successful career as a marketing and advertising professional working for and with some of the world’s largest brands across industries, including consumer products, entertainment, apparel, airline, hotel, toys, packaged goods, and tech.

A few years ago, I became fascinated with the transformations that I saw in those I knew who were working with executive coaches. Hence, I pursued that curiosity, getting certified to become an executive and leadership coach. I since pivoted from my corporate chief marketing officer role to jump off the salary cliff to launch ShiftAffect, providing executive and leadership coaching services to individuals and organizations.  Last year, I co-founded a company dedicated to serving professional women through coaching and community via a 12-week Leadership Lab. I love the work that I get to do, and I know that my clients value my academic and professional experience. 

2. What drew you to attend Pepperdine Graziadio? What made you decide to enroll in the Part-Time MBA program?

I had a personal goal of earning an MBA, and while my employer/industry at the time indicated it was unnecessary, for me, it was essential. I’m so happy I stayed true to my values and beliefs even at a young age, having a great job. I wanted to keep my foot on the gas with my career and grow my academic knowledge and experience, and Graziadio’s program offered me the opportunity to do both. The convenient campuses and schedules were attractive, and equally important were the school’s reputation and the tangible corporate experience of the professors the program attracted.

3. Please detail what you did as a panelist moderator for Pepperdine and the SPHE (Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers)? How was that experience?

I was invited to contribute to and moderate a panel that Pepperdine and the SPHE had put together to share perspectives and experiences of an MBA to engineers. It was an excellent opportunity to create a space for an open conversation about what to expect, what types of opportunities and perspectives an MBA can offer for someone with an engineering background, and bring together a community of curious individuals to explore possibilities.

4. What advice do you have for those interested in earning their MBA who might not have a business background?

I genuinely believe it’s useful for any background.  Careers look different now than they ever have, and that brings new context to the value of an MBA. Whether it’s about gaining a business understanding to inform innovation or scale or sustainability—having a foundation in how businesses operate and how various roles and functional areas come together to create value can be a crucial driver of success—regardless of how one might define it for themselves. While I don’t believe everyone “needs” an MBA, it can be an accelerator for those who commit.