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Pepperdine | Graziadio Business School

Exploring MBA Specializations

MBA Courses

Choosing the ideal specialization in your MBA can significantly impact your career trajectory. At Pepperdine University Graziadio Business School, you're not just earning a degree—you're preparing for long-term career advancement and leadership. Now, let’s delve into some of the exciting MBA courses and specializations you can choose from.

Why Get an MBA Degree?

Opting to embark on the journey towards an MBA degree demands a substantial commitment, encompassing both time and financial resources. Consequently, many individuals find themselves pondering a fundamental question: what motivates one to pursue an MBA in the initial stages? Although the rationale may differ from person to person, there exist a multitude of advantages that render this degree a compelling choice.

Career Advancement

Many students choose an MBA because it can boost their career prospects. It's not just a line on your resume; it's a symbol of your business smarts and leadership knowledge. Whether you want to obtain a management role or transition into a new industry, an MBA can unlock additional opportunities.

Skill Development

An MBA curriculum is carefully designed to arm you with a variety of business-related skills. From project management to financial analysis and leadership development, you'll gain a toolkit that can be applied in multiple sectors. Unlike other degrees that may focus narrowly on a particular field, an MBA offers a broad-based education, making you a versatile asset in any organization.

Networking Opportunities

Business schools often serve as meeting grounds for future business leaders. The relationships you foster during your MBA journey can prove priceless as you progress in your career. Whether it's via collaborative group projects, engagement in alumni gatherings, or participation in internships, you will encounter kindred spirits who are poised to exert a substantial influence on your professional journey.

Entrepreneurial Venture

If your future career aspiration involves launching your own business, an MBA can provide you with the essential knowledge and competencies to transform that vision into a tangible reality. Within an MBA program, you'll gain insights into crafting comprehensive business plans, securing vital financing, and navigating the continually evolving dynamics of the market, among other crucial skills and insights.

MBA Concentrations at Pepperdine University

 MBA Courses

At Pepperdine University Graziadio Business School, we recognize that today's business landscape is as diverse as it is dynamic. That's why we offer a variety of MBA specializations to match your unique career goals and interests. From Business Analytics and Digital Innovation to Entrepreneurship and Finance, our specialized concentrations equip you with the targeted skills and knowledge you need to excel in your chosen field.

Business Analytics

As companies pivot towards data-driven decision-making, Business Analytics is becoming a hot specialization. Pairing this concentration with your full-time MBA program amps up your earning potential and widens your career options. You get to explore statistical methods, data analysis, and modeling techniques. The focus is on Decision Sciences and Information Systems, to prepare you for sectors that rely heavily on data.

What You'll Learn:

  • Statistical methods for data collection and interpretation
  • Basic principles of data analysis using software tools
  • Modeling techniques for predictive analytics
  • Decision-making strategies using data

Career Opportunities:

  • Data Analyst
  • Business Intelligence Manager
  • Quantitative Analyst
  • Operations Research Analyst
  • Management Consultant specializing in analytics

Digital Innovation and Information Systems (DIIS)

Many companies are growing increasingly dependent on tech solutions, creating a need for professionals who are competent in both business and technology. DIIS focuses on managing initiatives that cover business, IT, and innovation. All DIIS MBA electives are offered in a blended learning format, so you get the best of both on-campus and online education.

What You'll Learn:

  • Managing business-IT alignment
  • Technology innovation strategies
  • Project management for tech-driven initiatives

Career Opportunities:

  • IT Manager or Director
  • Chief Information Officer (CIO)
  • Systems Analyst
  • Technology Consultant
  • Project Manager in tech sectors


Do you have a groundbreaking idea and the drive to see it come to life? The Entrepreneurship concentration aims to unlock your creative potential. It starts with two foundational MBA courses to help you identify a compelling business idea. Then you get three additional MBA courses that help you shape your business model and connect with your target market. The finale is presenting your comprehensive business plan to a panel of investors.

What You'll Learn:

  • Identifying and validating innovative business ideas
  • Crafting a sustainable business model
  • Marketing strategies for new ventures
  • Preparing a business plan for investor presentation

Career Opportunities:

  • Startup Founder or Co-Founder
  • Venture Capitalist
  • Business Development Manager
  • Innovation Consultant
  • Startup Advisor


Are you someone who gets excited about numbers and financial strategies? In these courses, you'll learn topics like portfolio management, corporate finance, and investment banking. 

What You'll Learn:

  • Portfolio management strategies
  • Corporate finance planning and implementation
  • Investment banking basics
  • Financial risk management techniques

Career Opportunities:

  • Investment Banker
  • Portfolio Manager
  • Corporate Finance Manager
  • Financial Analyst
  • Risk Management Specialist

Leadership and Managing Organizational Change

In an ever-changing global business landscape, the ability to adapt is invaluable. This concentration equips you with the skills to lead organizational change effectively. It’s not just about survival but thriving through innovation, whether it's in strategies, technologies, or human resource systems.

What You'll Learn:

  • Strategies for effective organizational change
  • Innovative approaches in technology and human resources
  • Leadership skills for managing dynamic teams
  • Methods for designing work structures for adaptability

Career Opportunities:

  • Change Management Consultant
  • Human Resources Manager
  • Organizational Development Specialist
  • Strategic Planner
  • Executive Leadership Roles (CEO, COO)


For those keen on understanding consumer behavior and market dynamics, a Marketing concentration is ideal. MBA courses focus on strategies and programs that target specific consumer groups with distinct products and services. Career paths this opens up include brand/product management, marketing research, new product development, and more.

What You'll Learn:

  • Targeting and segmenting consumer groups
  • Developing marketing and promotional strategies
  • Product development from ideation to market entry
  • Sales force management and optimization

Career Opportunities:

  • Brand Manager
  • Marketing Research Analyst
  • Product Manager
  • Sales Manager
  • Advertising Executive
  • Management Consultant specializing in marketing

Understanding Core Courses and Elective Courses in an MBA Program

MBA Courses

When pursuing an MBA, your educational journey is generally divided into two key components: core courses and elective courses. These two categories serve different but complementary roles in shaping your skills and knowledge base.

Core Courses

Core courses form the foundation of your MBA education. These courses are designed to give you a solid understanding of business fundamentals and functions. Here's what you’ll learn:

  • Financial Management: Learn the ins and outs of budgeting, accounting, and capital management.
  • Operations Management: Understand how organizations deliver quality products or services efficiently.
  • Marketing Management: Gain insights into market research, consumer behavior, and promotional strategies.
  • Strategic Management: Dive into long-term planning and decision-making to achieve business goals.
  • Business Ethics: Explore ethical considerations in decision-making processes.
  • Leadership and Organizational Behavior: Study the dynamics of leading teams and managing change in organizations. 

Elective Courses

Elective courses play a critical role in shaping your MBA specialization. While core courses lay the groundwork for general business understanding, it's the elective courses that allow you to dive deeper into specific sectors or skills you're passionate about. They let you tailor your educational experience to align with your career goals, giving you a competitive edge in your desired field.

How to Choose the Right MBA Specialization

Selecting the right MBA specialization is crucial to aligning your educational needs with your professional goals. With a broad range of options available, making this decision can feel tedious and overwhelming. But it doesn't have to be; here are some pointers to guide you through this pivotal choice in your academic journey.

Align with Professional Goals

When mapping out your career trajectory, the first step is to pinpoint your ultimate professional objectives. Are you aspiring to become a CEO or another high-level executive? Maybe you've got the entrepreneurial bug and see yourself launching a startup. Or perhaps there's a specific industry niche you want to carve out for yourself. Understanding your end goals is pivotal. With those goals in mind, you can sift through the list of MBA specializations and select the one that acts like a stepping stone to reach your dream job. If you aim to head a tech company, for instance, specializing in Digital Innovation and Information Systems could be your ticket to the C-suite.

Assess Business Knowledge

Before diving into a specialization, take stock of your existing business expertise. This self-assessment can act as a valuable compass. If you have a strong background in finance but find technology intriguing, a specialization like Digital Innovation and Information Systems could be just what you need to broaden your skill set. On the flip side, if you’re new to the business world, a more general approach might serve you well initially. From there, you can choose electives that help you dip your toes into various specializations before making a full plunge.

Identify Key Skills

Your career goals will require a specific skill set, and your MBA specialization should provide the training ground for those skills. If you're drawn to the world of data and analytics, a Business Analytics specialization will arm you with the necessary tools for data interpretation, statistical analysis, and more. If you envision yourself leading a corporation through transitions or overhauls, the Leadership and Managing Organizational Change specialization will polish your abilities in team dynamics, conflict resolution, and strategic execution. The key here is to match your MBA courses with the competencies you'll need to excel in your chosen career path.

Consider Career Preparation

Finally, evaluate how well the MBA program prepares you for your career. This means looking beyond just the courses to consider the entire learning experience. Are there hands-on projects, internships, or capstone experiences that let you apply what you've learned? Do you have opportunities to network with professionals in your field, or perhaps even with potential employers? Some MBA programs offer unique features like international residencies or partnerships with companies for real-world projects. These experiences can provide an invaluable edge, bridging the gap between academic learning and professional application.

Why Choose Pepperdine University Graziadio Business School?

When it comes to blending academic rigor with real-world application, Pepperdine University Graziadio Business School stands out amongst the crowd. Our programs are designed to not only elevate your business acumen but also to tailor your education to meet specific career goals, developing you into a leader who can smoothly navigate the complexities of today's evolving business landscape.

Comprehensive Curriculum

The core MBA courses are meticulously designed to provide you with a broad-based understanding of business fundamentals. You'll delve into subjects like finance, marketing, and operations, all of which are indispensable in today's competitive business environment. This well-rounded curriculum aims to furnish you with real-world skills that have wide applications. Whether you're aiming for a role in a Fortune 500 company, a nonprofit, or your own venture, the tools and insights gained from these core courses will be your compass.

Joint Degree Options

We also offer joint degree options that allow you to maximize your educational investment. You can combine your MBA with one of three other degrees. An MBA/JD for those interested in business and law, an MBA/MPP for those with a passion for policy, or a BS/MBA for those who want to turbocharge their career. These combinations provide a robust, multi-disciplinary approach, giving you a more focused perspective and a broader set of skills.

Education to Business (E2B™)

This unique program allows MBA students to work directly with executives on actual business projects. You're not dealing with hypothetical case studies; these are real challenges currently facing organizations. Whether it's crafting a new marketing strategy or solving an operational hurdle, you'll apply the theories and methods learned in class to practical situations. The experience you have at Pepperdine is invaluable, not just for the skills you'll develop but also for the networking opportunities you’ll gain as well.

This is not a one-size-fits-all degree. The specializations at Pepperdine University Graziadio Business School offer tailored courses to meet specific career goals. Whether you're looking to master the art of data-driven decision-making, lead organizational change, or launch your own startup, there’s an MBA specialization for you.

By picking the right concentration, you don't just earn an MBA; you gain specialized skills and knowledge that will set you apart in the competitive job market. It's time to make a choice that serves your career goals. Choose wisely, and prepare to excel!