University of Southern California

Sarah Friedman
Title
Pursuing Twin Degrees
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Graduating Year
2011
Undergrad Institution
University of Southern California
Hometown
Lake Oswego, Oregon

Gaining early access

One of the things that attracted Oregon-native Sarah Friedman to USC—besides the weather and location—was the opportunity to begin her business education at the start of her freshman year. “A lot of other business schools make you wait until your junior year,” she says.

Early access to business classes also helped Sarah find her passion while she still had time to take advantage of all the university had to offer. “I came to Marshall unsure what I wanted to concentrate in,” she recalls. “Then I took a basic financial accounting class and really liked how organized it was. Everything just kind of clicked and made sense with me.”

Progressing with two simultaneous degrees

Sarah also appreciated the flexibility of the Marshall curriculum, which allowed her to complete both her undergraduate degree and earn a progressive master’s degree in accounting simultaneously—all in four years. “I can get started working and not feel pressure to take time off later on to come back and get a master’s degree,” she says. “The level of education that I’ve been exposed to is pretty special for someone my age.”

As an undergraduate, she found herself in elective courses offered through the Marshall MBA program. “I took classes with people who have been working in industry for several years,” she adds. “Being in group projects with them really pushed me.”

Sarah even landed her job at Deloitte before the start of her senior year, earning a full-time offer after completing a summer internship there—where she had plenty of Trojan company. “I was impressed with the amount of students that the Big Four accounting firms came here looking to recruit,” she says. “In my intern class at Deloitte, I felt like it was pretty clear that most of the students were from USC.”

She adds that, “because Marshall and Leventhal prepared me for my career so early on, I was able to get the job and spend my last year really focusing on extra-curriculars and the master’s program, instead of having to spend all of my time racing from interview to interview, worrying about what job I would have after graduation,” she says. “I was able to just enjoy my college experience for what it’s supposed to be.”

Finding time for fun

An avid runner, Sarah joined the USC marathon team, which helped her learn her way around Los Angeles, and also served as president of her sorority. “It was a really great opportunity for me to kind of practice running a nonprofit or a little business that had a large budget and officers, events, agendas, boards of directors and interest groups,” she says.

But one of the things Sarah enjoyed most about her time at USC Marshall was sharing the experience with her twin brother, Josh, whose concentration was entrepreneurship. “We found that USC was the perfect place for both of us, even though we’re interested in different things,” she says. “We’re right-brain, left-brain twins. We really enjoyed being here at Marshall together and have had so much fun,” adds Sarah.

The pair also traveled to China with 60 other Marshall freshmen—Sarah to Hong Kong and Josh to Shanghai—as part of the Learning About International Commerce (LINC) program. “When we came to USC, we had never been out of the country before,” says Sarah. “In just 10 days, we visited a lot of businesses and saw a very broad range of what the culture there is like.

Appropriately, Josh’s new offices—at boutique firm Cast Management Consulting—are only four blocks away from Sarah’s offices at Deloitte in downtown Los Angeles. The twins will continue their parallel career paths while remaining in close proximity.