University of Southern California

October 9, 2009 • by Randolph P. Beatty

Dear Friends of Marshall:

That's what the shopkeeper in Thailand told my daughter as he sold her the bracelet.  I grew up an Air Force brat, and as a twelve-year-old I was bartering for rock and roll band equipment in Japanese markets.  It's a fun cultural experience to negotiate in the public markets (although my wife happens to disagree).  This summer our family visited Thailand, and when my daughter wanted a bracelet from a store in Chiang Mai, I stood my ground at half the price the owner offered.  He didn't budge and I nudged her: "Let's start out.  He'll stop us at the door."  But he didn't.  We got out on the street and I whispered to her, "Okay.  Start yelling at me that you really wanted it, then go back in there, and offer him a little more than I did."  Being an aspiring actress, she played her role beautifully, marched back into the store and he sold her the bracelet for just a bit more than my final offer.  He told her, "I really don't like your dad, but I like you."

I've always treasured international experiences, and it's part of what I love about the USC Leventhal School of Accounting.  Global travel is an integral part of USC's Marshall School of Business, and this spring I'm trying out an even deeper experiment in cultural exchange.  Three USC Leventhal students are teaming up with three managerial accounting students at the Chinese University of Hong Kong (CUHK).  These six students will be given an assignment to complete as a team.  Working through the internet, teleconferencing, and phone calls, at the end of the semester they'll present their results to faculty members at both USC Leventhal and CUHK.

We're teaching these students on many levels:  How to work across borders; how to be culturally sensitive; how to motivate people in a different society.  These are all issues they'll face in their careers, and USC Leventhal will make sure they're ready to deal with them successfully.  If this experiment works, we'd like to expand it, gradually involving projects with more schools from all around the world.  Imagine graduating at the end of four years from USC with a global Facebook second to none.

I'm always trying to enrich the lives of our students here.  To me, at its heart, USC is people banding together to help each other.  I hope you'll consider helping further the growth of the USC Leventhal School of Accounting and the USC Marshall School of Business today.  It's not hard to do.  There's a box to click on right over there.

Yours truly,

Randolph P. Beatty
Alan Casden Dean’s Chair and Dean of the USC Leventhal School of Accounting