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Pepperdine | Graziadio Business School

Foundational Business Skills Spur New Career Opportunities With a Master of Science in Business from Pepperdine Graziadio

Two Master's in Business students studying with professor inside of classroom setting


At its core, success for every organization—from a locally owned retail shop to a nonprofit to a Fortune 500 company—hinges on business skills. Managing operations involves complex, daily decision-making— creating a plan and building a team, managing the finances, complying with regulations, communicating with staff and marketing to key audiences. No matter where an individual eventually works, business skills are almost certain to play an important role.

Foundational business skills can help individuals, regardless of their undergraduate degree, be more successful in their near-term job prospects and long-term careers. According to the Institute of Engineering and Technology, professional skills help individuals progress into new roles and maintain employment throughout working life. Simultaneously, as many individuals may be considering how to enhance their expertise; employers are desperately looking for workers with business skills. According to a recent McKinsey Global Survey, 87% of executives said they were currently experiencing skill gaps in the workforce or expected them within a few years. The study also said the coronavirus pandemic had exacerbated this issue because of rapidly changing business conditions. They need managers who can adapt to new roles and activities.  

Aspiring professionals with little or no work experience, including recent college graduates, can benefit from strengthening and improving their skill set to fit the needs of these market demands. This dynamic is about more than remote working—it is about how professionals can align their skills to succeed in the COVID-era and post-pandemic workforce. For college graduates, the Pepperdine Graziadio Business School’s new Master of Science in Business (MSB) can prepare those new to the workforce with the foundational and advanced business skills they need for the modern work world.

What is Pepperdine's Master of Science in Business?

The newly developed MS in Business program offered at Pepperdine Graziadio will build foundational business skills demanded in today’s environments, opening new career avenues for college graduates of all backgrounds seeking to gain a competitive advantage in the marketplace. 

Designed for candidates with a bachelor’s degree in any major, who may also have little to no work experience, the MS in Business will provide a broad interdisciplinary graduate education. It combines essential business competencies in accounting, economics, marketing, and finance, with contemporary topics focusing on digital platforms, artificial intelligence, blockchain, and other technological drivers of success and innovation. The MSB is to be completed in one year, and students can benefit from a curriculum that emphasizes real-world applications of knowledge—leveraging emerging technology to address contemporary problems.

The MS in Business is tailored for individuals looking to learn transferable business skills that can be utilized within any industry. Applicants will not need GMAT or GRE scores to be eligible for the program, nor are there prerequisite courses required—aside from undergraduate education. Students in the program will also have the opportunity to engage in an immersive Global Business Intensive course—examining cross-cultural challenges and opportunities, learning how to gain market access, scale a business to the global marketplace, and achieve long-term profitability. Students will understand how fundamental concepts in finance, marketing, supply chain management, human resources, and operations are applied to an international business environment.

The program is offered on Pepperdine’s iconic Malibu campus. The Master of Science in Business is ideal for candidates wishing to pursue a full-time, immersive graduate education, featuring an interdisciplinary curriculum, small classes, a collaborative learning approach, and faculty with extensive industry experience. 

How does the MS in Business degree respond to current and future needs?

The future workforce will be mastered by professionals possessing both foundational and advanced business skills. Here are ten ways the MS in Business program offers distinct advantages.

  1. Increase career mobility. According to the Graduate Management Admission Council (GMAC), 7 out of 10 recent full-time master graduates agree that they could not have obtained their current job without their degree. The skills taught, especially by real-world practitioners, can give those who earn a master's degree enjoy a distinct advantage.
  2. Increase in earning potential. According to U.S. Census Bureau data, the median earnings for full-time workers holding bachelor's degrees were $65,374 in 2018. With a master's degree, median earnings for full-time employees jumped to $80,223. Individuals with a master’s degree not only obtain on average higher salaries at the start of their career, but they also maintain a salary advantage over the long term. 
  3. Enhance analytical skills. According to the GMAC data, individuals with graduate business degrees said their business school education helps them analyze problems from different perspectives. The MSB courses, case studies, and instruction are designed to teach students new approaches to difficult situations, address and remediate existing biases, and consider alternative views to problems. Solving complex problems in novel ways is one of the most desired, transferable work skills.
  4. Gain credibility with a new industry. Individuals with a master’s degree signal to an employer that they are dedicated and approach their career with purpose. MSB students will gain real business challenges and develop solutions they can showcase to a prospective employer. They will also benefit from proximity to major Los Angeles-area technology centers, including the city’s rapidly expanding Westside.
  5. Enable individuals to switch industries. Students will have multiple elective course options to tailor degrees to specific interests that can be used for success in numerous sectors. Students will also be exposed to industry veterans through Pepperdine Graziadio’s extensive network of more than 40,000 alumni. Pepperdine Graziadio instructors are steeped in real-world applications both as professionals and instructors and are deeply networked in prominent industries. 
  6. Enter different markets and countries. For MSB students who choose the Global Business emphasis, the curriculum will focus on providing real-world examples and answers that are crucial to pursuing a career as a global leader, including how to gain employment in international business, how and when to enter a marketplace, how to specialize, and how to stay relevant in an increasingly connected world. 
  7. Strengthen social and emotional skills to communicate with and manage others.  Some of the most valuable skills include interacting with others verbally, non-verbally, online, and writing in any workplace. Students will learn skills that will enable them to work productively as part of an effective team, improve active listening and comprehension, answer questions with authority, and motivate those around them. Students will also learn adaptability and resilience to succeed in the evolving future work world.
  8. Expand the ability to operate in a digitally-driven economy. Success in future careers and workplaces will hinge on being able to adapt digitally. In the MSB program, students will learn to use data and analytics to examine business opportunities, identify insights, and generate value for both customers and employers.
  9. Respond to the need for innovation. The MSB will equip students with the breadth of competencies and the foundation needed to enter today’s dynamic and innovation-driven work world. An MSB will enable students to wander outside the boundaries. Students will take ideas from multiple sources and consider applications to different industries and circumstances.
  10. Change the world with business skills. Students will experience a values-based business education with Pepperdine Graziadio core values of integrity and service with compassion at the forefront. Students will learn about self-efficacy, personal achievement, and long-term career fulfillment. With a comprehensive approach to professional development, Pepperdine Graziadio students strive to make a difference, positively impacting the greater good. 

The Pepperdine Graziadio MSB program is specifically aimed at helping students enjoy these benefits and many others. 

Application Recommendations

Individuals who are interested in applying for the MS in Business can complete an information request, available here.

Those with limited work experience can use their interview or statement of purpose to explain why the MS in Business program will help them achieve their goals. This is the applicants’ opportunity to showcase any community service or leadership opportunities that may make up for limited labor market years. Internships, community service, part-time work, research or graduate assistantships, sports, or other extracurricular activities can demonstrate valuable skills and be suitable substitutes for work experience.

Merit-based scholarships are available for qualified candidates, and each applicant is considered during the admission review process. Scholarship recipients will be notified at the time of admission or shortly after that. We also offer a Graziadio Referral Scholarship to students referred by a Graziadio alumnus, current student, staff, or faculty member.

There are no formal testing requirements for admission eligibility to the program. Candidates who have taken the GRE or GMAT may submit scores as supplemental academic information for the Program Admission Committee consideration. The TOEFL, PTE, or IELTS exam is required for international applicants who have not completed a college-level English course at an accredited U.S. university with a C or better grade.

The Year at a Glance 

Fall Term:

The focus of the fall term is “New Opportunities.” As new explorers of the business world, MS in Business students will be introduced to fundamental business principles and in-demand professional skills to pursue competitive entry-level positions in various industries. Students will take courses to professionalize their collaborative work and leadership skills; learn entrepreneurship, technology management, economics, data analytics, and develop business communication skills, including audio, video, and digital business presentations. The first term of the curriculum integrates an introduction explicitly to generating new venture ideas and technologies that increase businesses’ value, distinguishing it from traditional “management” programs.

Spring Term:

In the second term, the theme is “Real and Ideal.” Students will build traditional business skills in finance, accounting, marketing, organization theory, and business law. In addition, students will also be able to take unique elective courses in blockchain/cryptocurrency, luxury marketing, and entertainment/digital media. Innovative courses that explore the intersection between business creativity, ethics, and the dynamic business environment will prepare MSB students to integrate themselves into the marketplace.

Summer Term:

The third-trimester theme is “Strategy and Beyond.” Courses in the third trimester are intended to broaden strategic planning, thinking, and real estate and digital platforms. Students will have the freedom to complete additional elective courses to expand their creative skills further and enhance their value to their selected career paths. Students will also work actively with the Career and Professional Development Department to optimize their job-finding skills. Those wishing to go further in a specialty can apply for a bridge program (course transfer credits) into the MS in Applied Finance, MS in Global Business, MS in Real Estate, MS in Human Resources, and MS in Business Analytics programs.

Using an MSB to Take Control of Your Future 

Earning an MS in Business at Pepperdine Graziadio offers individuals the opportunity to control their future and establish confidence in a new career trajectory. The degree will facilitate paths to greater self-efficacy, personal achievement, and long-term career fulfillment. With a comprehensive approach to professional development, Pepperdine Graziadio students strive to make a difference, positively impacting the greater good.  

In the current and developing work environment, disruptive technologies, and trends such as the Internet of Things, robotics, virtual reality, and artificial intelligence (AI), change the way we live and work. As the global economy enters this fourth industrial revolution and the smart machine age, Pepperdine Graziadio students are equipped with the tools to thrive as Best for the World Leaders—professionals who apply innovative, educational, spiritual, and ethical approaches to impact their colleagues, customers, and communities positively.