University of Southern California

Mrinalini Chandra
Continuing a Family Tradition
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With an uncle who earned his MBA at USC Marshall and two cousins who received their bachelor's degrees at the school, Mrinalini Chandra decided to follow in their footsteps. Having grown up in India, she also was drawn to Marshall because of its large international student body. "And Marshall's reputation is outstanding," she adds.

Another family tradition she plans to continue is eventually becoming an entrepreneur like her father. "Ideally, I'd like to go back to India and start my own enterprise, build it, grow it and maybe even expand it globally," she says. Down the road, she also is interested in the possibility of a graduate degree in economics and working for a global organization such as the World Bank.

In the meantime, she's starting her career at Merrill Lynch in Palo Alto, Calif., as a financial analyst in the investment banking division, focusing primarily on technology companies. "I chose it because it's fast-paced and challenging," says Ms. Chandra, who interned there between her last two years of school.

Adjusting to American culture and a different style of education was challenging, she says. "Marshall was very helpful in that. I really didn't have a hard time transitioning once I got involved in student organizations." She served as student affairs director of the Marshall Business Student Government, spent two and a half years as part of the Student Consulting Association and participated in case competitions in Hong Kong and Vancouver. She was even able to complete her undergraduate degree in three years. "With the support you have here, it wasn't hard."

According to Ms. Chandra: "The best part of Marshall is the people I've met here, hands down. I had a lot of fun with them and learned a lot from them." Among her favorite classes was Financial Derivatives with Professor Dennis Draper. "He is really good at what he does and the class was absolutely mind blowing. It made me want to do trading," she adds. Another standout was Professor Carl Voigt's Global Strategies course, which included a field trip to Mexico. "But every class offers something unique."

Of the overall Marshall experience, she says, "It's really opened my horizons."