University of Southern California

Saurabh Shah
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Saurabh Shah knew he wanted a business degree from a top-tier school, but he also wanted a good mix of social and extracurricular opportunities.

"It's the perfect blend," he says of USC Marshall, where he served in a leadership position in the school's student government and also participated in Southern California IndoAmericans, a cultural club, and Los Angeles Community Impact, a recently formed service learning group that supports nonprofits and small businesses. He even joined a Bollywood dance team.

But it was the classroom and international opportunities that really stood out for him. "Academically, they have some of the top professors here who are able to do a lot of hands-on coursework," notes Mr. Shah, whose concentration was in management organization. He compares his semester-abroad experience, which was largely abstract and theoretical, to the practical skills he gained at Marshall. "Boom, when you get into these classrooms, everything is presentation based, teamwork, whatever you're going to be doing in the real world."

In particular, he praises Professor Carl Voigt's Global Strategies course, where the class studied how to take an industry or specific company from one country to another, using Disney as one example and examining how the company expanded its theme parks from Los Angeles to Florida to Europe and then to Tokyo and Hong Kong. "This class was amazing because of the cases that we dealt with," he adds.

Mr. Shah plans to enter graduate school in two or three years, pursuing either a J.D. or MBA, or a joint degree. In the meantime, he'll be working in downtown Los Angeles as an analyst for Cornerstone Research, a litigation consulting firm, while also traveling as much as possible and rekindling his longtime interest in magic. He hopes to visit South America, New Zealand and Africa soon.

Of the career preparation he received at Marshall, he says: "It gave me a degree from one of the top ten programs, but the network that USC has is beyond anything else. You're not going to find this pretty much at any other school. There are Trojans around the world. I have certain global aspirations as it is, so knowing there are Trojans on every continent, that's just amazing."