University of Southern California

Cookies or Calculus – Which Won?
May 31, 2013 • by Barak Federman & Alex Evans-Pfeiffer

Last December fellow freshman Alex Evans-Pfeiffer and I were in Doheny Library, studying for our calculus final. We had finished pledging to our fraternity, and knew we’d have some more time in the spring. I looked over and saw Alex staring blankly at his textbook. I took out a cookie and Alex looked up. “Hey, can I get one of those?” I threw him the cookie, and in that moment an idea came to us. We put off studying calculus until the morning – in the battle over cookies or calculus, cookies won – and that night we hatched Kuki Squared. It’s a philanthropic business that operates on a “you buy, you give” model: for every cookie purchased, one is donated to an underprivileged child around the world.

Starting a company is a daunting task for two freshmen, but I have been embraced by an amazing array of teachers and friends who are united to helping each other succeed. My freshman Marshall classes proved essential for the founding of Kuki Squared. BUAD 304, Leading Organizations, trained me to learn from those around me and to appreciate the skills of my peers as an essential complement to my interests. To this day, Alex and I have almost never had a head butt, which I attribute to the lessons from that class.

For the past year, USC Marshall School of Business has surrounded me with excellence and a ground swell of entrepreneurial spirit like I have never experienced before: a spirit that is very contagious. Luckily, while at USC, more is expected from me than ever before and I appreciate the need to combine my passion for success with the opportunities around us.

I have experienced first hand the strength of the Trojan Family. The help of the Marshall faculty and my classmates has been light years ahead of what other schools provide. I hope you will consider giving to the school that has already meant so much to me. One thing I have learned here is stitched in my heart: You can do well for yourself, but that’s only going to get you so far. It’s not what you leave with but what you leave behind.

Very few labels in life can top that of being known as a Trojan; being a MARSHALL Trojan is one of those few labels. Thank you, and remember:

Fight On!
Barak Federman
USC Marshall School of Business, Class of 2016