Facebook pixel Peggy Crawford, Graziadio Professor of Finance and Dean's Executive Leadership Series Speaker | Pepperdine University | Graziadio Business School

Charla Griffy-Brown, PhD

Professor of Information Systems and Technology Management

Charla Griffy-Brown

In addition to her role as professor, Charla Griffy-Brown serves as the Director of the Center for Teaching and Learning Excellence.

What ignited your interest in business?

I have always been interested in the problem of poverty. As a young and tender undergraduate, full of questions, I went to Japan on a Fulbright Scholarship. There, I encountered the intersection of technology and culture. Somehow, Japan manages to seamlessly blend its ancient history with an incredibly vibrant tech culture, being the world leader in robotics. I'm fascinated by the marriage of tech and society, economics and politics, and the role it plays in creating wealth. I had the epiphany that the public sector plays a far smaller role than the private sector, regarding the whole question of wealth, wealth creation, prosperity, and alleviation of poverty. What happens in the marketplace is truly important. Business dynamics are not local or domestic.

What makes the GSBM student unique?

GSBM students are at an inflection point in their lives. They are looking to transform their careers, change something about themselves to go in a new direction, and open up new opportunities. They’ve tried other things. When they come to GSBM it's a choice and they’re committed. That’s why our students align so well with our mission of purpose, service, and leadership. Getting a degree is a transformative time. Of course, our students will learn to optimize the bottom line, but in the context of principled profitability.

You wear many different hats at Graziadio. What are some things you enjoy being involved in? 

I chair the Bachelor's of Science in Management (BSM) program, which I’m very passionate about. BSM is our opportunity as a university to completely align our mission with the needs of our community. I mean that in terms of theology, Peppedine’s mission of service, purpose, and leadership, and importantly, in terms of the broader U.S. mission to educate people in business so that they can become leaders and create new opportunities for themselves, their families, and future generations. We have an amazing BSM student body. By offering a new Online BSM degree [link],  we hope to access even more people in this area. 

Tell us more about the new Online BSM degree and what sets Pepperdine’s program apart?

I’ve researched many other online programs. Graziadio’s is set apart because of its interactive nature. It is not a self-study program. Pepperdine has a teaching perspective that does not change across modalities (online, in-person, hybrid, etc). We possess a relational, community mentality. Our students work in teams, with their professors and get to know the faculty. This is not typical for the self-study approaches to online learning at other universities. Students will get their feet wet and hands dirty, learning theory as it’s applied to practice.

What do you enjoy most about being at Graziadio?

Interacting with students is the call of my life and primary purpose as a professor, which is why I came to Pepperdine. Pepperdine prioritizes the student. I am grateful to teach across multiple programs in as many modalities and courses as possible. I also love serving as editor in chief of Technology in Society, an international journal dedicated to the economic, political, and cultural dynamics of our technological business world. It's fun leading that discourse, doing publishing and speaking, in addition to my professorial duties. One of the most engaging things I’ve been involved with is impacting leadership directly, by serving on boards. Being a board member is an important role for women and important role for faculty. 

Speaking of board leadership, congratulations on your recent board appointment to Knock, Inc. What drew you to that company?

Knock is a wonderful company, with a brilliant team of highly intensive creative people. Its executives are dynamic business leaders who have created an employment community where people want to work. Having a role in leading an enterprise with that much potential is tremendously exciting. Board leadership for women is an area that is still wide open for growth, which is why I’m excited to see more women in my EMBA and MBA programs also seizing these opportunities.

Have you seen significant advancement in women's leadership in business over the years? 

We still do not have enough women in technical and mathematical fields. In my experience, women bring different perspectives to leadership that are highly valuable. While getting my PhD, I read the influential book Pythagoras's Trousers. Written by Margaret Wertheim, it focuses on the criticality of women to leadership--especially in sciences and business--because women bring to the table a different approach to setting priorities. Wertheim postulates that the history of science and discovery would be different if more women had been involved. Ultimately, research and progress aren't free; there is decision making behind it. Women need to be part of the conversation about where and how to allocate our resources. We bring a different set of optics that truly elevates the decision making in the end.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tell us more about the new Online BSM degree and what sets Pepperdine’s program apart?

I’ve looked at many other online programs. Graziadio’s is set apart because of its interactive nature. Our Online BSM is not a self-study program. Our professors have a teaching perspective that does not change across modalities (online, in-person, hybrid, etc) and focuses on relationships and communitu. Our students work in teams, meet with professors, and get to know the faculty. This is not typical for the self-study approaches to online learning at other universities.  Pepperdine students get their feet wet and hands dirty and learn theory as it’s applied to practice. 

 

You have taught at several business schools—what sets Graziadio apart?

I joined Graziadio in 1997 after having taught at both private and public universities. I appreciate that at Pepperdine we have the ability to innovate, be cognizant of what the market is asking for, and react so much more quickly to shifting market demands than other schools. I also respect Graziadio’s emphasis on ethics. We really do take it seriously when we say that we’re developing values-centered leaders.

What can Graziadio students learn from studying abroad?

I have taken students from our MS in Applied Finance program to Shanghai and Hong Kong on several occasions for one-week intensive study programs. These trips are incredibly beneficial. The world is getting smaller and smaller. When we take Graziadio students abroad, they learn how people in different parts of the world think, act, and express themselves. It gives our students a chance to immerse themselves­ in new cultures, languages, food, and activities and overall deepens their ability to apply business principles to a global society.

"We really do take it seriously when we say that we're developing values-centered leaders."

Peggy Crawford, PhD

Professor of Finance

Having studied China and visited there, what is your current take on China’s economy?

First of all, economists have long known that China’s tremendous growth rates could not last forever. Part of the problem is that, unlike their American counterparts, the Chinese save money. If China wants to support the economy locally—instead of being solely an export economy—then its citizens need to spend. It’s a real cultural change and mind shift. Fortunately, Chinese demographics are changing. Instead of being highly segmented, there is now a developing middle class. However, this middle class will need to learn to spend as well as save for growth rates to improve.

What will you be speaking about at the Dean's Executive Leadership Series event on March 19 in Shanghai?

I will be presenting my outlook on the Chinese economy and will call it “an outsider's view.” So much is happening right now with the slow down in China and the near crash within the Shanghai stock exchange. China’s lagging economy is making an impact around the world. I plan to posit an outsider’s view as to what is happening and whether or not I think it will turnaround.

Dean's Executive Leadership Series

DELS

Distinguished Professor of Finance Dr. Peggy Crawford will discuss current trends in China's economy at the Dean's Executive Leadership Series event on March 19 in Shanghai.

We hope you will join us for this prestigious and learning-focused gathering, where Dr. Crawford will consider the likelihood of a market turnaround given China's recent massive growth rate decline.