University of Southern California

Academic Opportunities

Case Competitions

The Marshall Case Competition Program seeks to provide MBA students with the opportunity to enhance critical business and leadership skills, connect with potential employers, and put classroom learning in to practice. Each year Marshall is invited to compete in case competitions hosted by MBA programs around the country and world. Students interested in competing participate in monthly training sessions hosted by the Program Office and apply to participate in competitions that match their academic and career interests. Students selected for a team work with faculty and student case competition coaches in preparation for the competition. Consistent practice and preparation are key reasons for Marshall team successes at case competitions.

Independent Projects

In addition to the Core and elective courses offered at Marshall, second year MBA students in good standing (minimum 3.0 GPA) may apply to complete an independent research project. The independent project option allows students to pursue research in specific areas of interest that may not be covered in other course offerings. Independent projects include Field Research in Business, Independent Research in Business, Research Practicum in Business and Consulting Project in Business. Students working on independent projects work one-on-one with their supervising faculty member to design and execute their research plan. Completion of the Core curriculum is a pre-requisite for completing an independent project, therefore, this opportunity is available to students in their second year.

Non-Marshall Coursework

MBA students in good standing (minimum 3.0 GPA) have the opportunity to request to take courses at other distinguished USC schools and departments. A maximum of nine units of graduate-level electives may be approved to be taken at USC outside the Marshall School of Business for elective credit, providing the student shows sufficient reason why that specific course is relevant to the Marshall MBA program. Completion of the Core curriculum is a pre-requisite for taking coursework outside of Marshall, therefore, this opportunity is available to students in their second year.

ABAC Research Project

APEC (Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation) is a confederation of 21 Pacific Rim economies that encourages cooperation and promotes free trade among its members. Since 2003, Marshall has been the only business school worldwide whose MBA students have conducted research for ABAC (APEC Business Advisory Council), which studies the current market forces and conditions of the region.

After conducting extensive research in APEC countries, the Marshall ABAC team of approximately 12 students presents its findings at the annual ABAC CEO Meeting, which consists of over 60 CEOs assigned by their respective country leaders. Past research teams have investigated topics such as: sustainable energy, temporary worker mobility, non-tariff barriers to trade, and rules of origin regimes. For more information, click here.

Graduate Student Investment Fund (SIF) Course

The Seminar for Applied Portfolio Management Student Investment Fund (SIF) Program is a one-year commitment consisting of two three-unit courses. In these classes students learn the theory and practice of investment management through a merging of financial analysis, portfolio management and the actual management of the Student Investment Fund. Each year interested Marshall graduate students apply to be part of the course and 16 students are selected. For more information, click here.

MBA International Exchange Program

Through the Marshall MBA International Exchange Program, second year MBA students can spend a semester immersed in another culture, acquiring the knowledge and skills to succeed in a global market. Students can build their global network and study business from another prospective at one of fourteen partner universities located in Asia, Europe and Latin America.
For more information, click here.

Case Competitions

"Marshall’s case competition program actually prepared me for each of the different roles that I have served in, whether it be in marketing or whether it be in consulting."

Angela Chang
(2014)