USC Marshall Sample Essays and Recommendation Letters

Free Samples from Past Clients

USC Marshall MSBA Application Essay Questions 2023-24-

  1. Why is it important for you to study Business and Analytics together, and become strong in both areas? (250 words maximum) 
  2. Tell us about a time when working within teams enhanced your learning experience. (250 words maximum) 
  3. If you feel your quantitative, analytical, communication, or business skills are not adequately showcased elsewhere on your application, please feel free to expand upon them here (250 words maximum)

*Required Introduction Video:

  • Please upload a one-minute video answering the question below to Submittable.
  • Please speak in front of a camera, to briefly describe your experiences in one of the following two areas:
  • Tell us about a time when you successfully presented or sold an idea to others, and what did you learn from the experience?
  • Tell us about a time when you had to take the lead in a situation, project, or organization to solve a problem. What efforts did you make to create value for others?

USC Marshall Winning Sample Essays 1-


  1. Why is it important for you to study Business and Analytics together, and become strong in both areas? (250 words maximum)


In today’s rapidly growing digital world, integrating business acumen with analytics is indispensable for making informed decisions that drive company growth and innovation. My experience at Unilever, managing large-scale data-driven projects, underscored the importance of aligning analytical insights with business strategies to enhance operational efficiency and market responsiveness. 

Studying Business and Analytics together is critical for me to understand better how to effectively translate complex data into actionable strategies that align with business objectives. The USC Marshall MS in Business Analytics program is uniquely positioned to bridge this gap. By mastering business principles and advanced analytics, I can become a pivotal asset in any organization, capable of transforming data into strategic assets that propel business success. Strengthening my skills in these areas will enable me to lead organizations in making data-driven decisions that optimize day-to-day operations and define long-term strategic goals. 

USC Marshall’s comprehensive curriculum and emphasis on real-world applications provide an ideal environment for me to deepen my knowledge and hone my skills. The program’s focus on big data, predictive analytics, and strategic decision-making aligns perfectly with my career aspirations. 

Additionally, the opportunity to learn from esteemed faculty members and collaborate with a diverse cohort will broaden my perspective and enhance my ability to tackle complex business challenges. Ultimately, the MS in Business Analytics program at USC Marshall will equip me with the tools and expertise needed to drive innovation and sustainable growth in any organization. By leveraging data to inform strategic decisions, I aim to make a significant impact in the business world, contributing to the advancement of data-driven practices and fostering a culture of continuous improvement.


  1. Tell us about a time when working within teams enhanced your learning experience. (250 words maximum)

Collaboration significantly bolstered my learning during a pivotal initiative at Unilever, focusing on combining digital technologies with conventional marketing methodologies. Engaging with a diverse cohort comprising IT experts, marketing aficionados, and data analysts, I gleaned profound insights into the nuanced dimensions of digital marketing strategies. 


The team’s amalgamation of varied expertise facilitated a holistic understanding of the project’s intricacies. Each member’s distinct viewpoint contributed to a rich tapestry of ideas, underscoring the indispensability of interdisciplinary cooperation in navigating intricate challenges.


For instance, when devising strategies to integrate customer data analytics into our marketing approach, the data analysts provided invaluable insights into consumer behaviour patterns, which informed our marketing tactics. Simultaneously, the IT specialists ensured the seamless integration of digital platforms, optimizing user experience and data collection mechanisms.


 Meanwhile, the marketing professionals contextualized these technical aspects within broader frameworks, ensuring alignment with brand objectives and market trends. This collaborative dynamic enabled us to develop comprehensive strategies that capitalized on the strengths of each discipline, resulting in innovative solutions that surpassed our initial expectations.


In retrospect, this experience served as living proof of the transformative power of teamwork in enhancing individual learning outcomes. It underscored the importance of embracing diversity in skill sets and perspectives and the need for effective communication and collaboration in achieving shared goals. Moving forward, I am committed to fostering collaborative environments that prioritize inclusivity and mutual respect, recognizing that the synergy of diverse talents is indispensable for driving innovation and success in any endeavor.


  1. If you feel your quantitative, analytical, communication, or business skills are not adequately showcased elsewhere on your application, please feel free to expand upon them here (250 words maximum)

I have delineated my extensive sales and project management background in my application. However, I believe it is crucial to underscore my advanced quantitative and analytical capabilities, which have been integral to my professional trajectory.


During my tenure at Unilever, I spearheaded ‘Project Khud Mukhtar’, a multifaceted initiative to conduct sophisticated data analysis to identify market opportunities and potential growth areas for enhancing female participation in the workforce. Employing various statistical tools and predictive analytics, I developed models that accurately forecasted the outcomes of various strategic endeavors.


Moreover, my role necessitated adept communication skills to effectively align project objectives with overarching business goals, persuasively advocate for adopting innovative strategies among stakeholders, and successfully secure essential resources. My ability to convey intricate data insights clearly and compellingly has proven instrumental in driving successful outcomes and nurturing a culture grounded in data-driven decision-making within the organization.


I am confident I can assume more strategic roles by further refining and enhancing these critical skills through enrollment in the USC Marshall MS in Business Analytics program. I envision leveraging data analytics to inform and enrich decision-making processes, facilitate innovation, and drive sustainable growth within organizational frameworks.


In conclusion, while my application primarily highlights my experience in sales and project management, my advanced quantitative and analytical skills, honed through hands-on experience at Unilever and further developed through academic pursuits, position me to make significant contributions in strategic roles that prioritize data-driven decision-making and innovation.





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USC Marshall Winning Sample Essays 2-

  1. Why is it important for you to study Business and Analytics together, and become strong in both areas? (250 words maximum) *

In these times of digitalization, data is as critical as capital; the intersection of business acumen and analytical prowess forms the backbone of innovative, successful enterprises. My career as a product manager across sectors like fintech, health tech, and e-commerce has consistently highlighted the transformative impact of integrating business strategy with robust analytics. This integration enhances operational efficiencies and propels companies towards sustainable growth and competitive advantage.

At Meesho, a leading e-commerce platform, I spearheaded the “Scan & Pack” initiative by leveraging data analytics to reduce fulfillment errors by 15% and boost revenue by $65 million. This project exemplified how analytical tools could pinpoint inefficiencies and drive solutions significantly impacting the bottom line. However, a more profound, structured education in business and analytics is crucial to navigating more complex data landscapes and driving even greater innovation.

The Master of Science in Business Analytics program at USC offers an ideal blend of these disciplines, emphasizing practical, data-driven decision-making skills alongside foundational business principles. By enhancing my expertise in analytics within a business framework, I will be better equipped to lead strategic initiatives that align technological innovations with business objectives. 

This dual strength will enable me to contribute more effectively to my future roles, driving transformative changes and leading organizations toward a data-centric future.

  1. Tell us about a time when working within teams enhanced your learning experience. (250 words maximum) *

Collaboration has been a cornerstone of my professional growth, particularly evident during a challenging project at Docquity, Asia’s largest doctor networking platform. Tasked with enhancing the in-app user experience to serve better our 400,000 active users, the diversity and expertise of our multinational team were pivotal.

The project required integrating insights from different Southeast Asian markets, each with unique user preferences and technological landscapes. By leading a team that included members from Malaysia, the Philippines, Indonesia, and India, I facilitated a series of collaborative workshops to understand regional needs and align our development strategies accordingly. These sessions proved invaluable, as team members brought distinct perspectives that enriched our approach to problem-solving.

For instance, our Filipino and Malaysian colleagues provided data showing differing usage patterns, which led us to customize features such as notification timings and content localization, significantly boosting user engagement. Through this process, I learned the importance of adaptability and the power of leveraging diverse viewpoints for a common goal.

The experience enhanced my cross-cultural communication and leadership skills and deepened my understanding of how to manage and integrate diverse ideas into a cohesive strategy effectively. It was a profound learning experience that underscored the importance of teamwork in achieving complex business objectives and provided me with insights that I continue to apply in my career.

  1. If you feel your quantitative, analytical, communication, or business skills are not adequately showcased elsewhere on your application, please feel free to expand upon them here (250 words maximum)

While my resume highlights various leadership roles and projects with significant business impacts, it may not fully capture the depth of my quantitative and analytical prowess, which has been integral to my success. My academic foundation in Information Technology provided me with a strong quantitative skill set, which I have continually applied and expanded throughout my career.

At Synaptic, I was responsible for developing a new investor module by analyzing alternative data to predict venture capital investment trends. This project involved complex statistical models and required a deep dive into big data analytics to extract actionable insights that could predict market behavior. The success of this initiative, which led to a $500K increase in revenue, was a direct result of my ability to merge technical analysis with strategic business applications.

Furthermore, at Docquity, I enhanced the platform’s search functionality and notification system by employing A/B testing and regression analysis to understand user engagement patterns better. These improvements led to a 30% increase in user activity, showcasing my capability to use quantitative methods to drive product decisions and user satisfaction.

My experience in utilizing data analytics tools and methodologies to solve real-world business problems is vast but often nuanced in the complexities of day-to-day implementation. At USC, I am eager to refine these skills further, gaining advanced knowledge and methodologies that will enable me to continue driving innovation and effectiveness in my future strategic roles.

USC Marshall Recommendation Letters-Key Questions

Letters of recommendation are neither required nor accepted. Please do not submit such letters at any point during the admissions cycle.

MSBA Recommendation Letters
(Free Samples & successful Examples)

Professor - Recommendation letter Sample 1

Date: 23 September 2023

Admissions Committee
Ms in Business Analytics Program
UC Davis

Subject: “Recommendation Letter for Akhila Mohan”

Dear Members of the Admissions Committee,

I am pleased to write this letter of recommendation for my former student, Akhila Mohan, who is applying for the Master’s in Business Analytics program at UC Davis. As her professor at COMSATS, where she pursued her Bachelor of Business Administration degree, I had the privilege of observing her brilliant academic and professional journey, which is punctuated with outstanding achievements. I am thrilled to support her application, as she possesses a unique blend of skills and qualities that make her an outstanding candidate for this program.

Academic Excellence and Analytical Skills

During her time at COMSATS, Akhila’s commitment to academic excellence was evident as she consistently ranked in the top 1% of her class and achieved remarkable results across all campuses. Her dedication to her studies and her exceptional intellect were further reflected in the numerous merit scholarships and medals she secured. She was an active leader in class discussions, curious and engaged, and consistently provided insightful contributions to diverse topics.

Initiative and Practical Application

Akhila’s interest in studying economic disparity within socioeconomic groups in Pakistan led her to survey women in underserved areas in her community. Using her research, she developed and implemented a financial literacy program to improve the livelihoods of economically disenfranchised women by imparting crucial money management knowledge and skills to enable their financial autonomy. This project showcases her ability to apply theoretical concepts to real-world problems, a critical skill in business analytics.

Leadership and Multitasking Abilities

Throughout her academic tenure, Akhila demonstrated a remarkable ability to balance a multitude of responsibilities while excelling in every endeavor, both within and beyond the classroom. Her multitasking prowess is evident in her successful completion of five internships while maintaining exceptional grades, and notably her involvement with AIESEC, which showcased her dedication to global awareness for SDGs and cross-cultural exchange. Through her leadership in promoting student exchange programs, she facilitated transformative experiences for over 100 individuals through international exchanges and professional internships.


In summary, Akhila possesses a rare combination of academic brilliance, practical problem-solving skills, and leadership qualities. I am confident that she will excel in the Master’s in Business Analytics program at UC Davis and make significant contributions to both the program and the broader field. I highly recommend her as an exceptional candidate.


[Recommender’s Name]
[Recommender’s Title]
[Institution Name]


Admissions Committee,
XXX University,

Date: 21 December 2022

Subject: Letter of Recommendation for Pranav

I have known Pranav for over two years now. He was a student in my Entrepreneurship course as part of his Minor in Entrepreneurship and Management. As a student in my class, Pranav showed great skill in applying these concepts in practical in-class quizzes, his final group business pitch at the end of the course, and his professional activities at UBS. Pranav also achieved remarkable performance in my course, earning the highest grade possible of A+.

Pranav stood out to me during the final project for the course evaluation. As a major assessment, I assign a project for students to work in groups and pitch a viable, self-sustaining business idea. Pranav took the initiative to create a multicultural and diverse team with students from different countries and majors, successfully delivering a business pitch for a student-run laundry and cleaning business. The idea was unique, and he actively sought my advice and mentorship to make the team and project successful.

Another noteworthy aspect is the analytical research Pranav conducted before and after seeking my advice. He made a concerted effort to learn about diverse topics he had not previously encountered and was able to grasp different aspects of entrepreneurship, such as management and finance. This demonstrated his goal-oriented and detail-oriented abilities. The idea, data-oriented research, and financial analysis were impressive, synthesized and executed effectively on assigned tasks. Additionally, the real-world considerations regarding the execution of the pitch and the cohesive delivery from a team collaboration perspective were excellent.

I was so impressed with the project that I asked Pranav if I could include the pitch and presentation as teaching material for my course. I also offered him a Research Assistant position for the following summer, which he was unable to accept due to his graduation.

Given his analytical skills and collaborative approach, it was no surprise to me that Pranav was able to transition into finance directly from his undergraduate studies in engineering, securing a role in finance with UBS in their Investment Banking Operations in Hong Kong.

In terms of areas for improvement, I believe Pranav’s analytical nature and attention to detail can sometimes lead him to get caught up in minutiae, affecting his time management. In the group project, Pranav struggled with time management and was a week behind schedule because he gave equal attention to all the details of the presentation, losing track of the bigger picture. With my guidance, he was able to get back on track and submitted the project by the deadline. However, I believe Pranav needs to develop a better overall view of projects to improve his time management.

Pranav is just beginning his financial career, but he already possesses analytical skills and an understanding of management, teamwork, and other organizational elements comparable to other top students I have recommended to Master’s programs. Pranav’s progress at CityU and UBS clearly demonstrates his intellect and dedication. He is capable and has a keen intellectual capacity for analytical thinking. I believe Pranav is on track to build a successful career that blends his quantitative inclinations with his qualitative skills, inspiring those he will lead and work with.

To conclude, I strongly recommend Pranav, and I would be happy to discuss his candidacy further if you have additional questions.




XX university

Here is a quick PDF of a sample recommendation our client submitted for a successful admit. 

Ut Austin Recommendation Letter Page 0001 - MSBA LOR Sample - Template -

How long and in what capacity have you known the candidate?

I have known Pranav for roughly one and a half years. I was his mentor during his internship with UBS. Although he completed his internship and has moved on, we still continue to keep in touch to exchange different business ideas.

What do you think about the candidate’s professional performance and potential (including any room for improvement)?

When Pranav started his internship with UBS, he was one of the most proactive interns. Since he didn’t have a finance background, he showed keen interest in learning and came up the curve very quickly. 

The team assigned him Automation and Efficiency-related projects, and while working in the automation team he managed to stand out from other interns by providing solutions that were slightly outside of the box and impressed everyone on the team. 

For instance, he met with various team leads to understand their automation requirements and one team lead expressed her frustration with the manual risk report that used to take 10-12 hours every quarter. After the meeting, Pranav took the proactive step of helping automate this report for the team. The specific process automation that he implemented was for risk reports for the risk team. The team had a manual time consuming process in which they had to refer to multiple Excel sheets to create their quarterly risk report. Pranav understood and mapped the entire process before using an automation tool to automate it. This led to a time reduction of 90 percent in the compilation of the report. The automation process he designed was ingenious; no one had thought of using it before, and that is why I think everyone was impressed with his out-of-the-box thinking. 

Apart from that, another one of his biggest strengths is his willingness to take initiative. 

To highlight another instance, he noticed the dashboards in Operations and wider UBS were on Tableau, he took the initiative to compare Tableau and PowerBi and pitched shifting the employee statistics dashboard to PowerBi. The management team agreed and Pranav successfully created an Employee demographic dashboard on PowerBi. This led to cost savings for the department as UBS was already paying for PowerBi. He also took even more initiative, helping others in his team and UBS get certified on PowerBi and documented his knowledge for everyone before he left his internship.

On the flip side, when it comes to areas of improvement, I would also say this proactiveness and eagerness sometimes led to difficult situations. Like other fresh hires, he was also trying to prove himself in the initial months of his tenure with the team. However, this often meant that he would try to manage and solve things on his own instead of seeking help. This led to delays and situations becoming critical.

Pranav was tasked with getting certified on Automation Anywhere, another automation tool used by the team. He was unable to crack the certification according to the timeline assigned to him and was delayed by a month in getting certified. He tried to manage and solve the situation but was unable to do so without help from his team, this delay led to an increased workload for the rest of the team and longer hours as work had been earmarked for Pranav to do as soon as he would be finished with the certification. 

Overall, I would say that Pranav has great potential; he is not afraid to take the initiative and present his ideas.

Manager – UBS, Hong Kong Offices

When it comes to writing great letter of recommendation, here are a few do’s and don’ts tailored for candidates applying to a Master’s in Business Analytics program:


1. Choose Relevant Recommenders:
Do: select recommenders who can provide detailed and specific examples of your technical and analytical skills. Ideally, these should be people who have directly supervised your work in relevant roles, such as data analysis, business intelligence, or any analytics-related projects.
Example: Your current or previous supervisors, project managers, or clients who have seen your analytical skills in action and can speak to your ability to handle complex data sets and derive meaningful insights.

2. Provide Context and Achievements:
Do: give your recommenders a comprehensive list of your accomplishments and the context in which you achieved them. Highlight your contributions to significant projects, especially those involving data analysis, statistical modeling, or the implementation of analytics solutions.
Example: Create a list detailing how your analysis led to actionable business decisions, cost savings, or process improvements. Share this list with your recommenders to help them write a more impactful letter.

3. Meet and Discuss Your Goals:
Do: meet with your recommenders to discuss your career goals, reasons for pursuing a Master’s in Business Analytics, and why you have chosen specific programs. This helps them tailor their letters to align with your aspirations and the program’s focus.
Example: Explain how the program’s curriculum, faculty, and resources will help you achieve your career goals in data science or business analytics.

4. Ensure Specific Examples:
Do: encourage your recommenders to include specific anecdotes that highlight your skills and accomplishments. Real-life examples add weight and credibility to your recommendation.
Example: Ask them to describe a particular project where you used your analytical skills to solve a complex problem, detailing your approach, tools used, and the impact of your work.

5. Set Early Deadlines:
Do: set early personal deadlines for your recommenders to ensure they complete the letters well before the application deadlines. This gives you a buffer period to follow up if needed.
Example: If your application is due on January 1st, ask your recommenders to submit their letters by December 1st to avoid last-minute issues.


1. Avoid High-Ranking but Unfamiliar Recommenders:
Don’t: choose recommenders based solely on their title or status if they are not familiar with your work. Letters from high-ranking individuals who cannot provide detailed and personal insights will be less effective.
Example: Avoid asking a company CEO or a prominent professor you met briefly unless they have worked closely with you and can provide specific examples of your skills and achievements.

2. Don’t Write the Letter Yourself:
Don’t: write the recommendation letter yourself, even if a recommender offers to sign it. Admissions committees can detect self-written letters, which can harm your credibility.
Example: If a recommender suggests this, politely decline and offer to provide them with all the necessary information to write the letter themselves.

3. Avoid Generic Content:
Don’t: let your recommenders submit generic letters that could apply to anyone. Generic praise without specific examples of your work and skills will not make your application stand out.
Example: Ensure your recommenders avoid statements like “X is a great team player” without context or evidence supporting such claims.

4. Don’t Overlook the Instructions:
Don’t: ignore the specific instructions and questions provided by each business school. Different programs might have different requirements for recommendation letters.
Example: Make sure your recommenders address each question posed by the school’s recommendation form and follow any formatting or submission guidelines provided.

5. Avoid Subordinates as Recommenders:
Don’t: ask subordinates to write your recommendation letters. Their perspective might not carry the same weight and could be seen as less objective.
Example: Recommendations should come from individuals in a supervisory or client role who can objectively evaluate your performance and potential.

These tailored do’s and don’ts will help ensure that your recommendation letters are strong, relevant, and supportive of your application to a Master’s in Business Analytics program.

Recommendation letter template specifically tailored for candidates applying to a Master’s in Business Analytics program, including different structuring and clear instructions for highlighting relevant skills:

Admissions Committee
[Business Analytics Program Name]
[University Name]
[University Address]
[City, State, ZIP Code]


Dear Members of the Admissions Committee,

It is my pleasure to recommend [Candidate’s Name] for the [Master’s in Business Analytics program] at [University Name]. I have had the privilege of working with [Candidate’s Name] at [Company Name] for [duration], where I serve as [Recommender’s Title]. In this time, I have observed [his/her/their] exceptional analytical skills and unwavering commitment to data-driven decision-making.

Analytical Skills and Achievements

One of [Candidate’s Name]’s standout projects was [specific project/task]. During this project, [he/she/they] [specific action taken], resulting in [quantifiable result/outcome]. This project clearly demonstrated [his/her/their] expertise in [relevant skills, e.g., data analysis, statistical modeling, predictive analytics].

In another significant endeavor, [Candidate’s Name] was responsible for [another specific project/task]. [He/She/They] utilized [specific tools or methodologies, e.g., Python, R, machine learning algorithms] to [specific action taken], which led to [quantifiable result/outcome]. This work highlights [his/her/their] ability to leverage complex datasets to drive strategic business decisions.

Problem-Solving and Innovation

[Candidate’s Name] is particularly adept at identifying business problems and formulating innovative solutions. For example, during [specific challenge], [he/she/they] [specific action taken], which significantly improved [specific metric or outcome]. [His/Her/Their] problem-solving skills and innovative approach are invaluable assets in the field of business analytics.

Collaboration and Leadership

[Candidate’s Name] excels not only as an individual contributor but also as a collaborative team member. In [specific team project], [he/she/they] [specific actions taken to lead or collaborate], fostering a productive and cohesive working environment. [His/Her/Their] ability to communicate complex analytical concepts to non-technical stakeholders was particularly noteworthy.

Constructive Feedback and Growth

In my experience, [Candidate’s Name] is highly receptive to feedback and committed to continuous improvement. I once advised [him/her/them] on [specific area for improvement], and [he/she/they] proactively [specific actions taken to improve], which led to [positive outcome or development]. This responsiveness and dedication to growth are crucial for success in a dynamic field like business analytics.


In summary, [Candidate’s Name] possesses a unique blend of technical expertise, problem-solving acumen, and collaborative spirit. I am confident that [he/she/they] will excel in the [Master’s in Business Analytics program] at [University Name] and make significant contributions to both the program and the broader field of business analytics.


[Recommender’s Name]
[Recommender’s Title]
[Company Name]

This template provides a structured format that highlights the candidate’s analytical skills, problem-solving abilities, and collaborative nature, making it suitable for applications to a Master’s in Business Analytics program.

Free Recommendation Letter sample text for masters application

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