Nicole recently joined Wake Forest University in Winston-Salem, where she serves as director of the Graduate Career Management Center for the Schools of Business.
When Nicole Hall concluded her 10-year career as executive director of Alumni and Career Services of the Graziadio School of Business and Management, she left an indelible footprint at the university. She also retains an imprint from Pepperdine on her heart.
“It was very difficult to think about leaving Pepperdine because it has blessed me with many rich relationships over the years,” reveals Hall.
Over the last decade, Hall leveraged a deeply-held commitment to nurture others and to be a change agent for the benefit of the university. To accomplish that, she identified an area of personal opportunity shortly after joining Pepperdine. When Hall, armed only with an undergraduate degree, learned that she had been selected over applicants with MBAs, she determined to realize another goal by enrolling in the MBA program herself.
“I had planned to pursue a master’s degree but to have the opportunity to obtain a degree from Pepperdine, to have that shared experience with students and alumni, and to have that strong credential within my own portfolio was ideal,” she says.
Hall’s course work and conversations with fellow MBA classmates immediately related to her work in Alumni and Career Services.
“I was able to apply our discussions about career management needs and job search interests to the services our department offers,” Hall explains. “Going through the MBA program as a student gave me a chance to think about our department in a business world context and to develop an effective marketing strategy that delivers what our students and alumni need.”
Keeping those needs top-of-mind, leverage each group’s programming efforts to foster joint collaboration when the once separate Alumni Relations and Career Services departments eventually merged. She also initiated the Graziadio Talent Online career management resource which is free for all students and alumni, the annual Career Forum, and the Golden Torch Awards.
“One of the things that I’m really proud of is the Hiles Career Advancement Program, which came from a partnership with Marcus Hiles, an alumnus,” Hall says. “Through his generous donation, we now have designated funds for career services, which enable the School to provide individual students with up to two hours of coaching and unlimited access to the many online resources available.”
During her decade-long tenure Hall has seen much change in the business of career services.
“I’ve seen a fundamental shift in the way that we do business as career services,” she says. “We’re responsible for determining who the best employers are for our students or alumni, developing relationships with those employers, and then bringing opportunities to the students.”
That insight enabled her to create a strong bridge between the Graziadio School and the larger business community.
“Our objective has always been to create as many connections as possible for our network of students and alumni. While some of that has been accomplished internally, by bringing the network together, a lot of it has to do with connecting them to those who are outside Pepperdine,” Hall continues.
Hall also made it a point to cultivate partnerships in order to attract students to Pepperdine, engage them on campus, and then help them transition from academia to career. Under her leadership, the School’s partnerships and joint events with the National Association of Women MBAs, the National Society of Hispanic MBAs and the National Black MBA Association attracted a more diverse demographic to the school. By forming the Pepperdine Black Alumni Council and the Pepperdine Hispanic Alumni Council, as well as the regional alumni councils, Hall’s team was instrumental in more effectively meeting the needs of all alumni.
Hall believes in the power of collaboration, and credits her team with the outstanding achievements made by the department.
“We’ve had a very collaborative team. And, we are all strong advocates for career outcomes of both current students and alumni,” Hall says. “I’ve nurtured what I think is an amazing team of really talented individuals. They are nimble, creative, and dynamic and I couldn’t think of a better legacy to leave.”
Contact with Nicole on LinkedIn.