Career Services

How Pepperdine's Graziadio Business School is Improving Alumni Relations by Breaking Down Silos

How Pepperdine's Graziadio Business School is Improving Alumni Relations by Breaking Down Silos

Silos. Silos! We all know they stand in the way of our teams being more innovative, collaborative, and effective.

But what are silos, really? They are walls that are there because we put them there. We put them there every day with our lack of openness, our protecting scarce resources, and our intense focus on our own goals without consideration of others’.

Silos aren’t structures—they are systems, systems that we create and sustain ourselves. And it takes systems to dismantle them.

Robin Doty is Senior Director of Alumni and External Engagement at Pepperdine’s Graziadio Business School. She and members of her team recently presented on this topic at the CASE D7 Conference in California. I spoke with Robin and asked her to share some insights from her presentation, “Disrupting the Alumni Engagement Ecosystem to Be More Innovative, Collaborative, and Effective.”

Career services needs to upskill. Here’s how.

Career services needs to upskill. Here’s how.

With so much change ahead, career centers need to rethink outdated career training models. Career centers’ primary focus should not be to prepare students for linear careers anymore. Instead, they should prepare students for a lifetime of career changes. Navigating these ambiguous career paths requires students and alumni to embrace upskilling and lifelong learning. This same advice applies to careers services staff too.

What is Design Thinking, Anyway? And Why Should We in Higher Ed Care?

What is Design Thinking, Anyway? And Why Should We in Higher Ed Care?

If you’ve attended a conference or read articles or, well, done anything, really, in the past few years you’ve likely heard of something called “design thinking.” And if you’re anything like me, you’ve turned your nose up at what seems to be the latest fad out of Silicon Valley.

But design thinking is not business-school jargon. It isn’t pretentious, or fake, or overhyped. It’s actually useful—yes, even to higher ed, with all its quirks.

Here's why.

Hello, We’re People: How Losing Weight Made Me Appreciate the Value of Community in Creating Meaningful Change

Hello, We’re People: How Losing Weight Made Me Appreciate the Value of Community in Creating Meaningful Change

Change is hard. (See: Newton’s first law of motion). And humans are inherently lazy and creatures of habit. If there is more than one way to do something complex, we will almost always take the easy route. That, or shove it in a drawer so we won’t have to look at it.

So when I decided I wasn’t happy with the way I was looking and feeling about my weight for the umpteenth time, I held on tight to my inertia until a friend invited me to a Weight Watchers meeting. 

Why You Should Beware Scores, Predictive Algorithms, and Other Mathematical Mumbo Jumbo

Why You Should Beware Scores, Predictive Algorithms, and Other Mathematical Mumbo Jumbo

There are, the saying goes, three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies, and statistics.

We tend to think about that axiom in the context of politics, where people willfully manipulate numbers to suit their beliefs and goals. But statistical analyses in any context are only as perfect as the people who perform them—which is to say that none of them are.

The predictive scores, algorithms, and other mathematical tools that advancement and alumni teams are increasingly using to evaluate alumni engagement and likelihood to make a gift often obscure reality and, as a result, counterproductively warp our priorities and strategies.

Every engagement or affinity score, or algorithm, or survey result is one or more steps removed from reality. What happens to these numbers in the intervening steps is what makes them powerful, but it is also what should make us wary. Here’s why.