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Pepperdine | Graziadio Business School

Matthew Barbour

Paving the Path to Pepperdine

Nearly nine years ago while participating in my favorite volunteer event, the AIDSLifecycle, I was sharing with one of my fellow volunteers my passion for diversity and inclusion and changing corporate cultures. At that point he opened my eyes to the world of Organization Development and the Pepperdine MSOD program. Having been an alum of the program, he was able to convey the enthusiasm and spirit of students and alums alike.  From that moment, I was hooked. I knew I wanted to explore this thing called “MSOD” and I was determined to do so with Pepperdine. 

Students Presenting

Matthew with Friends


Hat and Bottle water


Arts and Crafts

Like most adults considering pursuing a graduate education, I knew that I would need to ensure my capacity to dedicate the resources (time, money, and familial support) to be successful. I also wanted to learn a little more about what made Pepperdine such a unique program.  As I worked toward finding the best time to attend, I connected with alums and compared other programs. Though every program had its merits, I was drawn to two things about MSOD at Pepperdine; the palpable spirit of participants, past and present, and the unique ability to consult internationally.

The benefits of the Pepperdine program remained a guiding light as life happened and time passed.  Then it happened, the stars aligned, and I was ready. Nine years after my first conversations about MSOD and Pepperdine, the moment was now! I visited the website, read through several blogs about the experiences being had, and I hit “Apply.” 

The application itself was a great look into the importance of our ability to self-assess and was able to utilize it as a tool to reflect. I was intrigued and excited simultaneously.  I used the opportunity to spark conversations I had not considered having and was surprised by the support I was receiving along the way.  I submitted my application and anxiously awaited the response.  

Breathing a huge sigh of relief, I received my invitation to interview and I dug even deeper into why I wanted to be a member of this community and what MSOD meant to me. I continued to challenge my heart and mind to ensure I was able to authentically convey my motivations and goals. I had the incredible pleasure of speaking with Shany, the Assistant Director of Recruiting, and felt an immediate sense of calm in sharing.  By the end of my interview, I knew this was the right place for me. 

Fortunately, the admissions committee felt similarly about me and I received my admission to the Phi Prime cohort! My heart skipped a beat (more than one I’m pretty sure) and thus began my journey with Pepperdine.  Having just completed our first intensive at Pajaro, I have to admit this has been an all-too-surreal experience.  I have learned so much about myself in these first months at Pepperdine.  I have also fully settled into the fact that though this journey began long ago, I am here now, at the right time, with the right people, and on the right path.



About the Author

Matthew is an Employee Relations Manager with Bank of America in Charlotte, North Carolina. He lives with his Partner of eight years, Steven, and their two dogs. Matthew graduated from Wake Forest University with a degree in Music Performance and soon after entered the financial services industry as a leader in the retail banking field. He discovered that leadership and human capital were his passions, which led him to Los Angeles where he served as a Human Resources Business Partner, Regional Manager, and Retail Big Box General Manager. It was by returning to North Carolina, after ten years in California, that he moved into his current role in Employee Relations.  

Matthew’s passion for people stretches far beyond the workplace where he has been an avid volunteer for much of his life. This desire to help others has driven him to seek opportunities to marry the personal and professional, which is why the MSOD program at Pepperdine felt like a natural fit. He is excited to be part of something bigger than himself and sees that the MSOD family at Pepperdine is the place to do so!