University of Southern California

Shreya Oswal
Title
Global Competitor
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Graduating Year
2010

Not many can say they won in Copenhagen, took second in Hong Kong and placed third in Auckland—but Shreya Oswal can, thanks to her hard work as part of USC Marshall’s Case Team. She’s particularly proud of the team’s New Zealand showing at the Champion’s Cup—the world’s most prestigious case competition.

“It was the first time our school has ever placed in that competition,” Shreya notes.

Making a case

Case competitions give students hands-on experience working under pressure to develop solutions to real challenges facing businesses. Teams have 24 hours to research, analyze and develop a set of action plans, make recommendations and prepare their presentations. The competition’s judges are often CEOs and other high-level executives from major international companies and consulting firms. Sometimes the participating companies even implement the students’ suggestions.

To hone their craft, the USC Marshall Case Team meets 20 hours each week during the academic year, and is critiqued both by Marshall faculty and corporate executives. Shreya says the Case Team not only gave her a chance to apply her classroom learning, but also helped her make lasting friendships. “When you spend 20 hours a week prepping together, you definitely build a lifelong bond.”

Gaining additional global experience

Case competitions were only one aspect of the global education Shreya received at USC. As part of Marshall’s Learning About International Commerce (LINC) program, she studied Asian culture and business customs, as well as conversational Cantonese, before traveling with classmates to Hong Kong and meeting with corporate executives there.

LINC is the only program of its kind in the U.S. that focuses specifically on first-year students.

Establishing her brand

While at Marshall, Shreya also served as president of the Association of Integrated Marketing (AIM). AIM enables marketing students from across USC to network with top professionals, develop mentorships and explore different types of careers in marketing. “That’s how I found my mentor, my passion and my dream job,” she says.

Shreya realized her passion was branding. “It combines my two loves: marketing and strategy,” she says. “Eventually, I would like to open my own brand consulting practice.”

Benefiting from a holistic approach

Shreya says she feels well prepared for her future because of USC Marshall’s holistic approach. “It’s the perfect blend of real-world experience and case-based work in classes,” she explains. “Marshall is one of the few schools really offering that—partially because of the location, partially because of the university’s network, and also because of the faculty’s innovative teaching style.”

And then there is the interdisciplinary nature of USC. In addition to AIM, Shreya participated in the dean’s seminar in entrepreneurship—which brought together Marshall students with students from the Viterbi School of Engineering to develop a prize for the X-Prize Foundation.

“Often, one of the biggest challenges in the corporate world—especially in the technology sector—is getting communications professionals to connect with the engineers who are actually developing the technology,” she says. “That experience has equipped me for success in the future.”