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Pepperdine | Graziadio Business School

Student Spotlight: Meet MBA Candidate Tyler Kleinert

At Pepperdine Graziadio, our students embody the school’s mission of creating values-based leaders, dedicated to creating meaningful change that goes beyond their organization. We’re excited to introduce this month’s student spotlight, Tyler Kleinert (MBA ‘20) who is a powerful representation of purpose-driven leadership as well as the Graziadio student body.

Tyler, a first-year MBA student, graduated from Southern Methodist University in 2015. Starting his career path in Dallas, Texas, he managed a holding company focused on developing early-stage businesses in food and beverage. Tyler later worked as a real estate project analyst at Hunt Consolidated where he developed a passion for real estate after working on acquisitions and mixed-use development projects. Most recently, Tyler was one of 17 Graziadio students selected as a summer intern for Bryant-Stibel, a well-known, private equity and alternative investment firm.

After completing his MBA, Tyler plans to make a significant impact post-graduation through a career in private equity or venture capitalism. He also hopes to contribute his recently obtained knowledge to his family’s business down the road. So far, Tyler is ecstatic about the experience Graziadio has provided him, and is looking forward to being able to impact the world of business after his graduation.

Tyler Kleinert portrait

Interview Questions

What stood out to you about Pepperdine and why did you choose Graziadio to earn your MBA?

When I made my visit to Pepperdine, I got to meet the students, professors, and sit through one of the entrepreneurship classes. I loved the class size and enjoyed seeing how the professors really knew each student. If I was going to leave Dallas and make the commitment of going back to school, I knew I wanted that kind of engaging experience. Also, I was drawn to Graziadio because of how diverse the classes are in terms of demographics and career paths. You can easily find yourself working in a group where everyone is from a different country and has a different career concentration.

What advice would you have for someone considering their MBA?

Take as much time as possible to fully understand the schools on your list. If you are able to do so, take the time and make a visit. You can only learn so much about a school without seeing it for yourself. Seeing Pepperdine’s campus helped me a ton, and you won’t regret seeing Malibu. Also, the school year goes by quickly, so if you are able to do the full-time, two-year MBA program, I would absolutely do it. Pepperdine provides the student body with a lot of resources to grow professionally and to explore job opportunities. Business school is what you make of it. The more time you have, the better. 

What experience are you hoping to gain at Graziadio?

In my final year, I'm hoping to get my concentrations in both finance and entrepreneurship, meet as many people as possible, improve my leadership skills, and learn from my classmates. I’m working with Robert Woodcock, the Spiritual Life Officer to reboot the Graziadio Christian Business Society. One of the initiatives we are focused on is creating opportunities for students to hear from alumni on how they’ve managed to succeed in business and grow in their faith simultaneously. I’d love to see the GCBS in a strong position after I leave.

What do you hope to accomplish post-graduation?

I want to continue building a skillset in finance and strategy within an entrepreneurial environment. I have played a role in several early-stage companies back home and just completed my internships this summer in the private equity and venture capital space. It’s been a lot of fun to experience both sides of the coin, and I hope to continue on that path after school and put myself in a position to make an impact within my family’s business.

What has impacted you most about your Graziadio experience so far?

The alumni network at Pepperdine. While Pepperdine does not have the largest alumni base in the country, it has a vibrant sense of community all across the world. There is a genuine and widespread willingness to help others and form relationships. We are constantly getting invitations to hear guest speakers, attend alumni panels, go to networking mixers, offsite tours, and more. One of my favorites from last year was the “MBA Trek” to Silicon Valley where we got to tour Facebook, PayPal, and a handful of other companies. I have enjoyed the ability to get to know alumni and look forward to keeping in touch with everyone I have met once I graduate.