Ask anyone what makes Marshall’s MBA program distinctive and the first thing that comes out of their mouths is “The Trojan Network.” No doubt about it, the school has a loyal and strong following that has helped many an MBA in their careers. As one recent graduate put it: “The Trojan Network is strong and unlike anything I’ve ever witnessed or experienced.”

But Marshall also has a strong academic track record along with a collaborative and friendly student culture that makes it a superb place to get your MBA.

The 2010-2011 school year marked the introduction of a new Full-Time MBA first-year core curriculum at USC Marshall. The new core offers a myriad opportunities to personalize the FTMBA experience while ensuring discipline-based depth. The primary emphasis is on case discussions, student presentations, and team projects, rather than faculty lectures.

The PRIME Advantage (Pacific Rim International Management Education) is a key component of the Marshall MBA experience — intended to broaden students’ understanding of the economic, institutional and cultural issues that relate to overseas business, markets, policies, and trade. Part of the first-year core, the PRIME program culminates with a 10-day trip to an international city, where students visit domestic and multinational companies and make a presentation to senior managers.

The second-year is intended to be customized to meet individual goals. The required credits can be earned by taking elective coursework in one or two areas of concentration; designing an individualized program that cuts across multiple concentrations; and/or selecting courses from other schools within the university.

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The Marshall School of Business at the University of Southern California program offers a southern California location and strong local reputation, a variety of programs and the resources of a large and prestigious university.

While USC’s value statement: “Transformational Courage, Collaborative Ambition, Impactful Service, and Unwavering Integrity” is specific to the MBA program, Marshall adds: “We are the Trojan Family.” The larger University at USC is an important part of the program, and taking advantage of networking with the strong Trojan family will be a crucial part of your experience at Marshall. USC also values its position in Los Angeles, where there is a growing start-up community, biotech companies, entertainment, aerospace, and a global port to Asia, along with “292 days of sunshine a year.”


What is your specific, immediate short-term career goal upon completion of your MBA? Please include an intended position, function, and industry in your response. (word limit: 100)

With only 100 words to use here, stay brief and focused. What is your plan when you graduate from USC? Because you can add no context to your career plans, make sure your resume and other application materials support this next step. If you are career switching it will help to highlight any transferable skills in your resume or ask your recommenders to comment on your future plans and how you will use your MBA to reach your goals.

If your next job is a logical step from your prior experience to your MBA, it’s still important to be specific about the job you plan to pursue to add as much detail to your application as possible.


Please respond to ONLY ONE of the following essay topics. (word limit: 500)

1. Please describe the contributions you expect to make to your classmates outside of the classroom during your time at USC.
2. You have been asked to design a course to be taught at the Marshall School of Business. Please provide a title and description for the course.
3. What has been the most interesting day or moment in your life and why?
4. You have been hired by the Marshall MBA Admissions Committee to create an essay question for next year’s application. Please state the question and answer it.

This USC MBA essay is an opportunity to choose the statement that fits best with your overall application strategy. You will have the opportunity to highlight your extracurricular skills, academic acumen, insight into the Marshall community, or a personal moment.

Almost all of these essay questions also require significant research into the Marshall MBA program. With the exception of option 3, it will be important to know as much as possible about the academics at USC Marshall (option 1) and the student culture (options 2 and 4).

If you are someone who has a standard career background and competition that may be similar, you might consider using option 1 or option 3 to describe anything something interesting or diverse in your background. Perhaps you have an unusual hobby, have made an impact on the community in a special way, or have an interesting family heritage.

Option 1 might also be a great way to highlight your leadership skills. If you are someone who works as an individual contributor, or in a technical role, this is a great opportunity for you to tell a story that demonstrates that you lead in other informal ways. Think about how you may lead a group of peers, or lead in a community setting.


(OPTIONAL) Please provide any additional information that will enhance our understanding of your candidacy for the program. (word limit: 250)

This essay is fairly open-ended and might provide an opportunity to add additional information or to discuss a gap in your application. If you have a low GPA, grade below a C in a quantitative subject, an employment gap or any other issue in your background, this is the place to explain. Focus on clearly explaining what happened, and what you have done to improve or address the issue.


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