University of Southern California

Will Culp
Creating a Healthy Future
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Colgate University

A sense of community

Coming from the worlds of television production and online marketing, Will Culp was used to competitive bustle, so he expected the rigor and pace of the Marshall MBA program. “Every class I’ve taken at Marshall I’ve both enjoyed and struggled with,” he says.

What did surprise him was the level of support USC Marshall provides. “Community is at the center of everything here,” he observes. “And the faculty in particular are big drivers of the community spirit. They’re more than teachers; they really mentor you.”

That community spirit—the essence of the Trojan Family—permeates the student body as well. “This is an environment where students help each other out,” says Will, who has seen instances of that even when students are in direct competition with each other. “Often companies come here with the spot to hire one Marshall student, but they may be interviewing five. Those five students will all work together and pool their resources as they prepare for those interviews.”

Everybody’s unique

Will believes his media experience made him a unique student at Marshall, but he quickly realized that diverse backgrounds are the norm here. “You get to know everyone from people who have worked at big banks to people who have worked in boutique businesses or nonprofits.” He adds that this varied tapestry of personal and professional experiences makes the Marshall experience an even richer one for all students.

PRIME experience

Will minored in Asian studies as an undergraduate and even lived in India for a time. Given his interest in Asia, as well as the importance he placed on learning about business in a global context, traveling to China for the MBA program’s required Pacific Rim International Management Education (PRIME) experience was a perfect fit.

“PRIME is really a capstone of the first year at Marshall,” he says. “It brings together everything you learn that year and helps you deploy it in a situation of consequence. You’re essentially providing a consulting project for an international company.” Will and his group’s client was Southeast Asian retailer Lotus, and their project involved researching the best practices employed by giant retailers in North America and Europe and figuring out ways those techniques could be adapted to the Chinese market.

Changing locations and fields

Will is joining Humana, in Louisville, Kentucky, as an innovation consultant, helping the company reinvent itself to keep pace with the changes and challenges facing the health care industry. Although he is transitioning from television to health care—and trading Southern California for the South—he’s hardly abandoning media.

“One of the things I’ve been looking at while at USC is how entertainment technologies can be blended with health care to help people lead healthier, happier and more fulfilled lives,” Will says. “That’s very important to me. And I’ll certainly keep an eye on social media technology, communication technologies and media devices, because they will someday play a very active role in how we manage our health and monitor the health of those we care about.”

Will feels even more confident about facing future career challenges now that he’s armed with his Marshall MBA and experience. “In the long term, I certainly see myself leveraging the strong community of entrepreneurs at USC to develop some new businesses in the Midwest.”