University of Southern California

Can Ozdoruk
Title
An Entrepreneurial Spirit
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Graduating Year
2010
Hometown
Turkey

Before entering the USC Marshall MBA program, Can Ozdoruk already had undergraduate and master’s degrees in engineering, as well as experience leading small teams at a major international company. But with his long-term ambition of becoming a CEO, he wanted to expand his opportunities and gain higher-level responsibilities.

“I wanted to work on the decision side,” he says. He chose USC Marshall to help him make that transition because of the school’s high ranking, Trojan Family network and the Greif Center for Entrepreneurial Studies. “I was always an entrepreneurial spirit,” he says, “and USC has an outstanding entrepreneurial program.”

A world of experience

Another major contributing factor to his decision to attend was the Pacific Rim Education (PRIME) program, which requires all Marshall MBA students to engage in an international experiential learning project. “I thought, this school offers amazing opportunities,” he recalls. “A few other MBA schools have international programs, but most are not mandatory. This distinguishes Marshall from other top schools.”

A native of Turkey who moved to the U.S. when he was 22, Can and his PRIME classmates traveled to Vietnam, where they consulted with a venture capital firm interested in getting into the digital music market. He also visited Thailand. “The PRIME program was one of the best experiences I had at Marshall,” he says. “I feel very lucky.”

Diversity in students and opportunities

Can was impressed by the diversity of students at Marshall as well as the opportunities the school provided. “Marshall is known for its diversity,” he says. “My classmates came from a wide range of backgrounds—bankers, athletes, artists, religious backgrounds, and some engineers, like me.”

He quickly became an active member in five clubs, and was an officer in three. As managing director for tailgate parties for Challenge for Charity, Can enlisted and trained 60 to 80 volunteers to work each home football game. “We raised more than $34,000 for charity,” he says.

In the best entrepreneurial spirit, Can even helped create a club—the European Business Society—to fill a gap he saw. ”We brought in European executives from a variety of companies,” he says of the club, which quickly grew to 40 members under his leadership. The European Business Society is working with the school to introduce an optional experiential program that would take Marshall students to London, Amsterdam and other European capitals for additional international exposure.

Foundation for the future

Can feels his Marshall experiences—both curricular and extracurricular—have given him the solid foundation to follow his entrepreneurial spirit. And he credits USC Marshall Career Services and the Trojan network for helping him obtain the internship that led to his current position with Cisco Systems.

“I’m incredibly fortunate to have come here,” Can says. “Marshall changed my life. Otherwise I might never have had the opportunity to join Cisco, which is considered one of the top 20 companies to work for.”