University of Southern California

Koran Hardimon
Leveraging Experience in Business
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Before coming to USC Marshall, Koran Hardimon already had years of experience in business – including stints as a customer-service supervisor for companies in Indianapolis and Los Angeles, and two years as a project manager at Boeing’s aerospace division in Southern California.

While at Boeing, he decided to pursue an associate’s degree at Southwest Community College and then transfer to business school. “Everyone said Marshall School of Business is the best business school in Southern California, so there was no other place for me to go but here!” says Mr. Hardimon, who entered the program at age 28.

“Because of my previous management experience, age and life experience, I was able to lead a lot of the projects and give [fellow students] a different aspect or angle that they might not typically understand,” he says.

Although he brought a lot to the experience, he says he gained a lot as well. “I never understood what teams really meant until I came to Marshall,” he explains. He also found it enlightening to have so many international students as classmates, giving him insight into other cultures and views about Americans. “In regards to networking, I thought I knew how to network, but I really learned how to network at Marshall. And the curriculum was absolutely wonderful.”

When he arrived at Marshall, he wasn’t sure exactly what he wanted to do with his career. “I knew I had all this management background, but when I [took] the Organizational Behavior class, it put everything I did into perspective,” he says. “That’s when I realized this is what I want to do.”

With his Marshall degree, he garnered a position in human resources at Intel in Phoenix, where he is responsible for training, development, benefits and compensation issues for the engineering department. Ultimately, he wants to become a motivational speaker. 

Appropriately, his favorite courses were in the leadership development concentration. A standout was the leadership class with USC President Steven Sample and Professor Warren Bennis. “I was fortunate to be a part of that,” says Mr. Hardimon, who served as president of the Black Business Student Association. “It opened my mind to so many different aspects of leadership.”