University of Southern California

Melinda Albert
Building a Future
Meet me on LinkedIn
Meet me on Facebook
Graduating Year
Undergrad Institution
University of Southern California
Orange County, California

Transferring for success

When Melinda Albert decided to pursue a career in business, she knew exactly which university she wanted to attend. “Since my senior year of high school, my goal was to graduate from USC Marshall,” she says. “If you want to do business, there’s no better place to go.”

To maximize her resources, Melinda first attended a community college to take care of the prerequisites she needed. “I built everything I did around transferring to Marshall,” she says. Melinda was so focused on her goal that she applied to no other school than USC Marshall. “I crossed my fingers, and I got in!”

Juggling jobs and studies

While at Marshall, Melinda balanced coursework with jobs both on and off campus. “I’m the type of student who’s here 100 percent on my own,” she says. When she was racking up transferrable credits at community college, she also was working more than 40 hours a week.

Her intense course load at Marshall necessitated cutting her work schedule to a more manageable 20 hours a week—so she appreciated the financial aid USC offers. “In terms of helping me fund my education, USC has been fantastic.”

Supportive environment

Given USC Marshall’s status as a top-10 business school, Melinda found the supportiveness of her fellow students to be a pleasant surprise. “There’s no cutthroat atmosphere,” she observes. “Everyone’s willing to help each other all the time. And that made the experience so much better, because everyone’s here to do well. We’re all doing it together.”

She quickly made friends on campus by becoming active with such groups as Alpha Kappa Psi, a co-ed business fraternity. “It wasn’t more than two or three weeks into my very first semester that I had friends, people to call, and people to get lunch and dinner with,” she recalls. “I was scared at first that I was going to be lonely, but that just wasn’t the case.”

In her real estate concentration, she says she was “shocked at how intimate the classroom settings were. It was much more of a dialogue than a lecture, with the professor sitting in a circle with us and everyone bouncing ideas around, figuring out the problems together.”

Real-world application

Melinda’s favorite course was Strategic Management, taught by Trudi Ferguson. “I admired her teaching style. She kept us informed with relevant news events, tying all the pieces together,” says Melinda. “Because the class is all case studies, you kind of ditch the textbook and look at specific companies—what they do right and what they do wrong.”

Of her Marshall education, Melinda says: “I feel incredibly prepared. I have the textbook knowledge down. But what Marshall does better than anyone is the real-life application. There are so many opportunities to network, and be mentored.”

In particular, she cites the Career Advantage Program (CAP), which pairs students with alumni mentors. “They give you chances to mingle with the grown-ups,” Melinda says with a laugh. “Through things like CAP, I feel like I’ve had support from professionals who are role models to me.”