University of Southern California

Suzy Ryoo
Gaining a Global Perspective
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Suzy Ryoo chose USC Marshall specifically for its international opportunities. “I really liked Marshall’s strong connections with the Pacific Rim,” she says, “and I wanted to have an international experience my freshman year.”

As part of the school’s Global Leadership Program, she traveled to Shanghai over spring break that first year and then earned a summer internship at a Shanghai startup company where only Mandarin was spoken.

“The first week I didn’t know what to expect,” recalls Ms. Ryoo – who moved to the United States from Korea at age 5. “I thought my entire summer would be lost in translation. The experience ended up being a blessing in disguise.” Her colleagues at the company helped her master enough Mandarin to get around on her own, and she opted to continue studying the language after she returned. “That freshman-year experience set the tone and pathway for all the international experience I was able to expose myself to in the next three years.”

That exposure has been extensive. She traveled to Mexico, Taiwan and Vietnam through the International Experiential Corporate Learning (I-ExCEL) program and Carl Voigt’s Global Strategy course. She competed in case competitions in Thailand, New Zealand and Singapore, as well as Washington state and Washington, D.C. “I have been to seven countries and spent 15 weeks abroad,” she notes. She was also the only Marshall student selected as a 2009 Global Scholar, a university-wide honor recognizing undergraduates who have excelled both at home and abroad.

After finishing her first two case competitions, she and her teammates decided they needed additional training infrastructure to improve their performance, so they established the Marshall Case Team in fall 2007. The group meets every Friday for three hours to train future as well as current competitors, who number approximately 20 per semester. “We figured if we could help develop each other’s strengths and watch out for each other’s weaknesses, we could become much stronger as a team.” They enlisted an army of 10 faculty coaches led by Professors Michael Coombs and Donna Miles to lend additional critique.

The results have been impressive. The first year, the school garnered two third-place trophies. In 2008-2009, Marshall collected an unprecedented three first-place wins. “The first was my trophy,” says Ms. Ryoo, who won the best individual speaker prize in additional to being on the winning team. “It felt great to start the winning streak for Marshall,” she admits.

She is beginning her career as a financial analyst for The Salter Group, an independent financial and strategic advisory firm in Century City, where she will put her concentration in strategic management and finance to good use.

“I definitely want to work abroad someday,” says Ms. Ryoo, who was voted most valuable member of her business fraternity, Delta Sigma Pi. Wherever her career takes her, she expects to continue her friendships with Marshall classmates, as well as her former opponents on the international case competition circuit.