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An Educational Shift: How Graziadio’s Master of Science in Business Degree is Looking to the Future

MSB student studying at laptop

With continuous shifts and advancements in numerous industries worldwide, people are learning that it’s imperative to be an agile professional with transferable skills that can be utilized in nearly every field. By being well-versed, individuals create a unique positioning for themselves—having highly in-demand skills that can open the door to a broad scope of career opportunities while simultaneously ensuring their job security. This change in the workplace is becoming more prevalent as industries move forward, with many career professionals knowing how to execute various tasks—including technological processes, highly developed communication styles, project management, advanced problem solving, and critical thinking. These competencies are exceedingly valued in any enterprise and can be strategically used to solve complex issues facing current and future organizations. 

This is why Pepperdine Graziadio has developed the newly launched Master of Science in Business degree program, providing students with transferable business skills that can be leveraged in any industry—regardless of their background and undergraduate education.

Practitioner Faculty of Business Law and Chair for the Master of Science in Business Program, Brian P. McGilvray, JD, MBA, understands the invaluable experience this program offers to its students. As program chair, Brian plans to deliver the same teaching experience as all other programs, adding another crown jewel to the diverse portfolio of advanced degrees offered at Graziadio. He finds that this type of “broad” business education allows students the opportunity to get their feet wet in different areas until they find the path that suits their career interests and aspirations. The assorted range of skills and information taught in the Master of Science in Business curriculum gives students a competitive advantage in the marketplace and prepares them for a stable career in their field of choice. The Master of Science in Business teaches students skills that can be used versatiley to adapt to a changing career landscape. This chameleon-like nature designs professionals who can use their various skills to transform and adapt depending on the circumstances—allowing them to thrive in the evolving career ecosystem. For example, a person with an academic background in sustainability wanting to utilize business competencies to build a sustainably-minded business could benefit from having the range of abilities taught from the MSB program. 

Anyone interested in learning these interchangeable competencies can pursue the Master of Science in Business—even if they have no work experience or business-related undergraduate education. This is unique because the program doesn’t exclude aspiring talent solely based on requirements but offers students opportunities to expand their career prospects.

Regardless of one’s career goals, for individuals seeking to be a competitive player in today’s career landscape, the Master of Science in Business is a solid choice. As they say, “knowledge is power!” And, in this instance, the more you know, the better career possibilities there shall be. 

What value do you think the Master of Science in Business offers to individuals? What do you think makes MSB unique from other Graziadio programs?

I believe that having a broader range of transferable business skills provides tremendous value to our Master of Science in Business students because they can be used in many ways across a wide range of fields and industries. This broad range of business skills should equip our Master of Science in Business graduates with enhanced practical capabilities that set them apart from other recent graduates and provide them with a competitive advantage as they enter the workforce.

The Master of Science in Business program is the first program in the Graziadio portfolio designed with a learning model specifically created for students who have just completed their undergraduate degrees. While the majority of our other programs assume that entering students will have some level of business work experience, we have designed the MSB program for students with no business experience but who are looking for a program that allows them to discover their interest in business and gain critical practical, entry-level business skills.  

What would you say Graziadio’s MS in Business program offers that differentiates it from potentially similar programs at other universities?

I think several items differentiate our Master of Science in Business program from similar programs at other universities. First, our program is focused on providing our students with a broad spectrum of business knowledge. Other universities’ similar programs tend to have a more singular focus, such as the more traditional MS or MA in management degree.  Second, our faculty have such rich industry experience and bring that experience to the classroom to learn the real-world application of the concepts being taught. This is the hallmark of the Pepperdine Graziadio Business School education.

What is your involvement in the program? What do you like about the MS in Business degree most?

My role is to chair the committee that oversees the program and provides guidance from the faculty perspective. We have four full-time faculty members on the committee, including myself, and all of us are passionate and excited about the launch of this new program. My goal is to ensure that the Master of Science in Business program provides our students with the same exceptional education experience that Pepperdine Graziadio has provided for over fifty years.

I like this program because it is designed for younger students who want to learn about business but don’t have any work experience or business education. The curriculum exposes them to various courses on core business topics and provides them with professional skills applicable to real-world scenarios. I think the result of this curriculum design will be that students end up finding an area of business that excites and inspires them. They will either pursue careers in those areas or seek additional specialized graduate or postgraduate education in those areas. I wish this program were around when my son graduated with his bachelor’s degree—it would have been a perfect fit!

With the academic landscape continually evolving, do you think an MS in Business type of program will become more attractive to students?

That’s a great question, and I think there are a couple of reasons why this type of program will become more attractive over time. What I have seen over the last 7-10 years is a trend towards specialized graduate programs. For working professionals and people in the early stages of their careers, these are a great option. However, for those younger students who have just completed their undergraduate education and want to explore their business options, the specialized degree may not be appropriate. This is because they may not fully understand the many different roles that “business” encompasses, such as finance, accounting, economics, marketing, law, data analytics, including digital and social media analytics, leadership, strategy, entrepreneurship—just to name a few—so choosing a specialized degree option may be very difficult. Programs like the Master's in Business are designed to allow students to explore these different roles, gain a general understanding of each, and choose a career path that is best suited for them.

We will see more and more students who do not see themselves in traditional business careers finding this program attractive.  Programs like the Master's in Business provide an education that can augment the undergraduate education a person received—regardless of the major—giving them an additional set of skills that sets them apart from other job seekers, allowing them to add value to their employer.   

What recommendations or advice do you have for individuals considering this degree?

Apply! Throughout my teaching career, I’ve had many students ask for advice on whether they should pursue additional education after graduating from their current program. I simply tell them that knowledge is power, and if they are moved enough to look at a particular program or a specific degree, they should pursue it.  When it comes to our Master of Science in Business degree, my advice would be the same. If you are looking at applying to this program, I will encourage you first to consider what Pepperdine University has to offer, including the values upon which it is founded.  Next, I would encourage you to consider the knowledge that you will gain from this program and the positive impact that this knowledge will have on your future career and your life. Lastly, I would say that if you are moved enough to be looking at our Master of Science in Business program, then you should pursue it. There is no time like the present to embark on this journey.