University of Southern California

Professors Deborah MacInnis and Valerie Folkes discuss why Marshall is a great place for women

The marketing department at USC’s Marshall School of Business is a leader in a number of arenas, including opportunities for women.

“Marketing is a big industry for women because I think it taps so many different dimensions of people,” said Deborah MacInnis, the Charles L. and Ramona I. Hilliard Professor of Business Administration and professor of marketing. “Understanding yourself and knowing whether you are that analytical thinker, that conceptual thinker, that social person who really enjoys being in the company of others, will help you understand what particular aspects of marketing will resonate with you.”

Marketing is a popular subject of study at USC, with many paths into the discipline. Marshall offers undergraduate students a minor in marketing, graduate students a one-year master’s degree program, a graduate certificate, special courses at the MBA level and doctoral level classes leading to the Ph.D.

MacInnis points to the gender parity at each of these levels, as well as on the faculty. “Women feel very accepted here,” she said.

“Many of the courses within the department are collaborative,” said Valerie Folkes, the Robert E. Brooker Chair of Marketing and professor of marketing. “This allows and encourages students to work together in group projects. This is very rewarding, and is a great opportunity for students to get a sense of their own strengths, get to know other students, and also get to work in a way that mirrors what goes on in the real world.”

When asked why the marketing field appeals to women, Folkes, who is an expert in consumer behavior, said it may have to do with women’s innate interpersonal skills.

“Perhaps women are more people oriented than a lot of men. And marketing is a great industry if you’re people oriented, because that’s really what we’re focusing on in marketing, trying to understand what people do and why they do it,” she said.

“People who are interested in people tend to like marketing.”

Hear more from MacInnis and Folkes.