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Westmont, Pepperdine Offer MBA Program in Santa Barbara

Westmont College President Gayle Beebe and Rick Ifland teach a seminar in executive leadership.
Westmont College President Gayle Beebe and Rick Ifland teach a seminar in executive leadership. (Westmont College photo)

Westmont College and Pepperdine University on Wednesday announced an agreement to offer a new program in shared space in downtown Santa Barbara.

Beginning in fall 2015, Westmont Downtown, a new center in the Hutton Parker Foundation Building in Santa Barbara, will host a Santa Barbara-based, two-year, part-time MBA program through the nationally ranked Pepperdine University Graziadio School of Business and Management. Westmont Downtown also offers Westmont programs and classes in social entrepreneurship, capital entrepreneurship, and leadership and management as well as internships with local businesses and organizations.

The Graziadio Business School Fully Employed program for working professionals focuses on participation and experiential learning by small cohorts. It features a general management concentration that offers students the most popular electives. This new program allows recent undergraduates with limited work experience to advance their career with internship opportunities or professional employment while pursuing their MBA. Pepperdine will continue to welcome all working professional graduates, including those from their longstanding relationship with UCSB.

“The recovering economic climate in Santa Barbara County and throughout California offers greater opportunity for upward job mobility, and our MBA program meets the needs of professionals who seek the skills and network to more quickly ascend the ladder,” said David Smith, dean of the Graziadio School of Business and Management. “Our local partnership with Westmont allows us to offer a tailored program that uses small class sizes, links to the nearby business community and builds off the purpose and mission of each institution.”

“We’re pleased to form this strategic partnership with Pepperdine,” says Gayle Beebe, president of Westmont. “As I’ve traveled the country and talked with countless alumni, including many business leaders, they’ve repeatedly asked us to offer graduate education in business. Since we’re committed to undergraduate education, it made perfect sense to pursue this new opportunity with Pepperdine, which shares our values and commitments and provides both an acclaimed business program and an extensive alumni network, especially in California. Our downtown location and the breadth of our Southern California professional relationships ideally complement the Graziadio MBA program.”

With the launch of this site in the fall, Westmont will offer its own semester-long program focused on equipping undergraduate students with the skills and experiences they need to become social innovators, entrepreneurs, and change agents who seek the global good. This off-campus academic semester will operate alongside the Pepperdine MBA program and provide Westmont students with the opportunity to participate in internships with Santa Barbara businesses and organizations 20 hours a week as well as seminars with Westmont professors.

“We seek to place every junior and senior at the college in a meaningful internship, and Westmont Downtown represents one way for students to connect with the community,” Beebe says. “We’re grateful for the support of Tom Parker and the Hutton Parker Foundation in implementing this program. We’re committed to helping every Westmont graduate prepare for a meaningful and successful life.”

With proximity to Santa Barbara’s downtown, Pepperdine’s MBA program will serve the needs of working professionals from the nearby business community. Students will study in an ultramodern environment with high-definition, drop-down video, digital audio, interoffice connectivity and lightning-fast broadband. Innovative teaching, small classes and growing opportunities in local technology and information systems firms combine to provide an effective educational experience.

“The Santa Barbara program will feature robust internships,” Smith says. “This approach fits well with the practical and relevant nature of our degree programs. We’re pleased to work with students such as Westmont graduates who seek a nationally recognized, values-centered education.”

Bloomberg Businessweek recently ranked the Graziadio Business School part-time program No. 12 in the Western (U.S.) Region, the full-time MBA program No. 63 in their global business school ranking and No. 19 for the part-time program. U.S. News & World Report ranked the Graziadio Business School part-time MBA No. 52 in the nation, increasing nine spots from last year. GraduatePrograms.com recently announced its spring 2015 Rankings of Top Graduate Programs, and the Graziadio Business School part-time MBA placed No. 11.

Pepperdine will hold informative sessions this summer to introduce the program to interested individuals.

For more information, applicants may click here or contact Andrew Thomas directly at [email protected] or 805.379.5822.

— Scott Craig is the media relations manager for Westmont College.

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