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Entrepreneurship at Graziadio

We train students to deal with uncertainty, take control of their destiny - of their own future. Within the Graziadio entrepreneurship concentration, you will learn fundamental skills in ideation creation, marketing, business plan development, pitching and product development. Upon completion of this program you will have gained the confidence and the knowledge to start your own business.



of students are working on a

startup during their MBA


of MBA students are

hoping to start a business


Most Competitive Students

Princeton Review


Student & Alumni Profiles

Kayla Eber

Kayla Eber, '22

Frustrated with the quality, price, and murky origins of the jewelry she was purchasing, Kayla Eber set out to create a sustainable product with a purpose. After endless hours of researching and creating mockup designs, Victori Jewelry was born. Through her entrepreneurship classes, Eber has been able to develop and build foundational parts of her business such as a website, financial structure, board of advisors, and brand strategy.

Ece Er

Ece Er, '18

Growing up, Ece Er learned from her family that extra virgin olive oil is a miracle. This influence, along with Er's background in industrial engineering and love of food, inspired her to create a business and innovate a product that serves as both a food and a remedy. She attributes the birth of her company name, "Olizzi Olive Oil & Superfood" to her classmates and the topics she learned in her MBA classes.

Michael Lucarelli

Michael Lucarelli, '16

With the goal to develop a rental process to empower renters, landlords, and agents to work better together, Michael Lucarelli bridged the gap by inventing an online platform called Rentspree. Not only did Lucarelli obtain invaluable practice and guidance on pitching and presenting information to others but he met his co-founder sitting next to him in their entrepreneurship classes.


Ask An Entrepreneur

What does it take to become a successful entrepreneur?

Mark Miller, Co-Chair the Entrepreneurship sub-committee of the Graziadio Board gives his advice:

  How have your priorities changed from when you first started?

"I would not say they have changed much but become more specific. I believe people need to do what they love. This makes it fun and enjoyable each day. It is not about the money but the journey and if you focus on the goal the money will come."

  Knowing what you know now, is there anything you would have done differently when you were first starting out?

"I would have been a bit more patient and laser focused on the businesses we bought. I learned to not fall in love with the business we were targeting for acquisition, but to be disciplined in our approach and due diligence."

  How did you decide where to establish your company?

"This is simple......I lived in Portland and had strong relationships in the grocery/retail arena in the Northwest so it made sense to establish my first business, which was a "rep" business for small and large firms who wanted a presences in the Northwest. I am now in Idaho and ALL our businesses are based here as it is a business friendly state that certainly has regulations but tends to be friendlier and more conducive to an organization with operations throughout the west."

  What challenges did you have to overcome at the beginning of your journey?

"Cashflow Management– I did not fully understand the importance of managing cash in a growing business. This includes set up ALL the back office functions in a proper manner. I learned that you need to take this very serious and make it top of mind in the beginning of any startup."

  How did you raise funding?

"Self-funded......hand to mouth as they say. I have raised money a couple of times for deals with one not going well so I have become very guarded about asking for other peoples money. I still do it but I am very specific and ALWAYS commit more of our capital then I am asking of investors.  I rarely take a promote as I believe that the business/investment needs to be equal for ALL the people I ask to participate."


Mark Miller Headshot



Thought Leadership from Graziadio Faculty

Dr. Larry Cox

The Start of the Start

Dr. Larry Cox, Associate Professor of Entrepreneurship

"Since this is the first in a series of articles in a new web page highlighting our 7th ranked entrepreneurship program, I think it's appropriate to use this beginning issue to write about "beginnings". The beginnings of my time at Pepperdine's Graziadio Business School, the beginnings of our existent entrepreneurship curriculum, and, more importantly, the true beginnings of every entrepreneurial endeavor. Interestingly enough, the three are deeply connected."

Click here to read the rest of the article



Entrepreneurship Committee - Graziadio Board

  • Mark Miller, Co-Chair, CEO Miller Family Holdings
  • Vince Monteparte, Co-Chair, Partner, Sway Ventures
  • Mark Bowles, Co-Founder, Truvian Sciences
  • Stevan Calvillo, Partner, Calvillo & Meyer, LLP
  • Morgan Christen, CEO/CIO Spinnaker Investment Group, LLC
  • Denise Roberson, President/CEO, Jadi Communications
  • Paul Smucker, Co-Founder, Embassy Park LLC