University of Southern California

I've Had a Journey, Not a Career
September 9, 2011 • by Bill Crookston

In the world of entrepreneurship, we don't talk about jobs or careers. We talk about journeys. From the point I met Tom O'Malia 25 years ago, I've continued my great journey. Tom was director of the Lloyd Greif Center for Entrepreneurial Studies, and asked if I'd be interested in teaching. I had run my own company for 21 years, and said I'd teach what I know. The students seemed to like what they heard, and within a year Tom offered me a full-time teaching position.

I accepted this new gig with zeal, convinced I'd be back running my own company soon. But a funny thing happened. I fell in love with entrepreneurship at the USC Marshall School of Business, and stayed for 25 years.

During my time at USC, I've helped over 5,000 students get started on their journeys. Some have been quite successful; all of them seemed to have learned a better way of looking at their world. That's the nature of entrepreneurs. Where others see obstacles, we see opportunities. That view informs not just how we run our businesses, but how we absorb life.

I've had the privilege of teaching virtually every class in the curriculum and of serving as the pioneer director of the summer program, which explores entrepreneurship with high school seniors. Though retired now, I'm still directing the summer program, spearheading community outreach for the Greif Center, and teaching in the Global Executive MBA Program. For the sum total of this work, my colleagues flattered me with a scholarship fund in my name.

Entrepreneurship at USC Marshall has grown steadily since the program started, leading academic institutions in entrepreneurial thinking and practice. Through it all, I've stayed connected with the most important assets USC possesses: our students and alumni. Nothing excites me more than seeing a young person go out and become an entrepreneur!

The Greif Center is turning 40, and I believe its life has just begun. If I could offer a piece of advice to our alums and students it would be: Connect. In a social media world, there is still great power in face-to-face contact with your peers.

I hope you will join me in supporting the Lloyd Greif Center for Entrepreneurial Studies. Help a young Trojan begin their journey today.

Start Something and Fight On!

Bill Crookston
Professor of Clinical Entrepreneurship
Lloyd Greif Center for Entrepreneurial Studies

Calling All Greif Center Alumni and
Marshall/Leventhal Entrepreneurs!

If you are a graduate or former student of the Lloyd Greif Center for Entrepreneurial Studies, or, an alum of USC Marshall School of Business/USC Leventhal School of Accounting involved in your own business, please click here to let us know where you are.