University of Southern California

Heith Bettelman
Going Beyond Your Boundaries
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Beverly Hills, California  

After two years at a small public accounting firm in West Los Angeles, Heith Bettelman joined a large insurance company, where he noticed a common denominator among the executives: “They all had MBAs from very high-quality schools.” Wanting to diversify both his skills and career opportunities, he took the next logical step, choosing Marshall because of the school’s reputation, size, camaraderie and the alumni network.

“[The program] gave me a different set of skills that totally complements my accounting skills,” says Mr. Bettelman, now a senior finance specialist in the corporate strategy group at MGM/Mirage in Las Vegas. “In the two years I was [at Marshall], I did a lot of things that made me uncomfortable, which is a good place to put yourself every once in a while – I went beyond my boundaries. Now I know there’s not much I’m going to be afraid of.”

His favorite classes also took him into unexplored territory. “[In] Alliances and Cooperative Strategy, with Kyle Mayer, we looked at joint ventures, contracts and partnerships, and analyzed the relationships between two companies and why some worked and why some didn’t,” he says. “It was just a totally different way of viewing business contracts.” Another favorite was Professor Joseph Priester’s Creativity in Business course, which presented outside-the-box perspectives on business, and also included tips on work/life issues, including stress reduction. “It gave me a totally different way of approaching life, actually,” he adds.

Through the Marshall School’s Pacific Rim Education (PRIME) program, he went even further afield, traveling to Chile and Brazil – where he and fellow students presented strategies on expansion into the United States to a company that operates and manages toll roads in South America.

“[Marshall] far exceeded my expectations,” he says. “I learned about things I’ll be able to use 20 years from now and also things I’ll be able to use my first day on the job as well.”