University of Southern California

September 25, 2009 • by James G. Ellis

Dear Friends of Marshall:

Yes. It's a simple, declarative word, but one filled with extraordinary power. It has to be. Because it battles "no" every day. Here at the USC Marshall School of Business, we start with yes.

When a student wanted to create her own internship at a start-up in Singapore, we told her, "Do the research and we'll get this done." When Adlai Wertman wanted to start a Society and Business Lab to help grow social entrepreneurship companies, we said, "Yes, let's do this." When a young man with cerebral palsy sat in my office in his wheelchair, barely able to speak and be understood, and told me that after he graduated from Marshall he wanted to write a book and be a motivational speaker, I said, "We can make this happen." And it has, by the way.

The students at our school mean everything to me. When they get here, I tell them, "Get involved. Start with yes. If another student asks you to dinner, say yes. Go out and meet someone new. Study broadly. Take advantage of all USC has to offer. Not only our business major, but languages, philosophy, science. You need to be an interesting person. You get to be interesting by having great experiences. And people will be interested in you when you ask great questions. Say yes."

We're going to be sending you e-mails in the coming weeks, letting you know what's going on here. You'll hear from a lot of different voices at Marshall - faculty, students, alums, even a dean or two. We'll give you information, inspiration, and a reason to pop your buttons with pride about the USC Marshall School of Business. And will we occasionally ask for money? Yes, if it improves the experience of our students. Because we'll always be seeking ways to make their lives better.

But most important to me is starting this conversation among the Marshall family. We'll always give you something to think about at the bottom of the page. And hopefully a reminder that Marshall is here for you, saying yes to your life. 

Fight On!

James G. Ellis, Dean
USC Marshall School of Business