University of Southern California

Larissa Purnell

Full Name
Purnell, Larissa
Graduating Year
2016
Major
Business Administration

Areas of Interest at USC and Marshall:

  1. Pursuing Passions
  2. Growing as a leader
  3. Welcoming new experiences
  4. Embracing Diversity
  5. Valuing the Trojan Family

What Made You Choose to Attend USC Marshall?

In terms of classes, you start off with business courses during your freshman year, which is rare to find because most colleges do not allow you to take business courses until sophomore or junior year. Also, one of the biggest reasons why I chose USC over my other top choices was that Marshall offers a great opportunity to observe business abroad during spring break as a freshman through the GLP (Global Leadership Program) and LINC (Learning About International Commerce) programs.

Advice you wish you had known while applying to college:

I think the best advice I could give would be to open to new experiences and organizations – try everything at the beginning and then narrow it down to the few things that are time manageable and you’re passionate about because that will allow you to fully engage and move up in leadership at earlier stages than if you had started during sophomore or junior year.

USC activities/general hobbies:

I firmly believe USC fosters an environment that encourages students to pursue activities that they are passionate about or have general interest in. For example, I’ve been able to continue my passion of playing my ukulele through a club called Remedy Through Music that is almost identical to a club I started in high school which brings its members to senior homes and hospitals and performs musical pieces for the patients to brighten their day. I’ve also found ways to stay connected with my faith through the Caruso Catholic Center. They have offered countless opportunities such as bible studies, homeless ministry, community dinners, and guest lectures that have helped me strengthen my relationship with God and the Catholic community. With more time in my schedule than I had throughout high school, I have been able to run for two different student government positions – VP of Community Outreach in the Residential Student Government and Director of Campus Outreach within the Marshall Business Student Government. When I have free time, I also love playing intramural tennis, running with the Marathon Team (fingers crossed I can get to the finish line in March), and curling up to read a good book recommended to me.

Why do you love Los Angeles?

Los Angeles is a microcosm of the diversity represented in the United States and I find it so fascinating to interact with people from different cultures, backgrounds, ethnicities, and orientations on a daily basis. Furthermore, you can never get bored with all of the amazing sights, landmarks, and attractions here in LA, most of which are only a metro ride away. Finally, as a business student, I feel that the opportunities to get hands on experience in industries I’m most passionate about are easily accessible and ready for me to access - as long as I take the initiative to find them!

Favorite USC Marshall class:

BUAD 304 – Leading organizations. This class has definitely taught me a lot about myself and my strengths and weaknesses as a leader in addition to ways in recognizing personality types and leadership styles in others. Furthermore, the Experiential Learning Center (ELC) activities are interesting experiences to apply concepts learned in class and get to know classmates better.

What Global Experiences have you had in college?

During my freshman year, I went on the GLP trip to Shanghai and Beijing and absolutely LOVED exploring with my class and the professors during the day - I distinctly remember going down a street that had a bunch of carts with exotic foods (primarily bugs and other items I would never imagine eating) and I was befuddled at how many of my classmates and professors joined in on trying everything they could! Then during the spring semester of my junior year, I studied abroad in Barcelona, Spain through the International Exchange Program in Marshall and can't stress enough how important this experience was to my college career and my professional career moving forward. Not only did I take great classes at the ESADE business school that were applicable to roles I'm interested in such as Design Thinking Research and Project Management, but I was also able to work at a digital health startup and see first hand what it's like to work in an office culture in a different country. I would, without a doubt, highly recommend going abroad through any of the amazing offerings Marshall has and make sure to really take in what the city you've chosen has to offer because it's a unique experience to live amongst locals and not just be a tourist!

What internship/employment opportunities have you taken advantage of at Marshall?

Marshall has definitely prepared me for a myriad of internship experiences. Over the past three years, I've work at Northwestern Mutual as a Financial Representative Intern in Los Angeles, Kaiser Permanente as a Digital Services Intern in the Bay Area, Medtep as a Business Development Intern in Barcelona, and Karten Design as a Design Research Intern in Marina Del Rey. Although I completely shifted gears after my freshman year from a finance role to roles within the health and technology sector, I found that that internship really prepared me to be more outgoing and aware of cost efficient means - both on an individual and a business level. My reason for taking such a unique path is because of Marshall's great course requirement format - there is so much room to take up minors that can be tailored to your interests and help you find a niche in where to utilize your business skill set.

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Global Communications , 2016
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