Strategic Plan

Marshall Vision Statement


The USC Marshall School of Business will be recognized as a leader among world class business schools, building on the unique opportunities that stem from our Los Angeles location on the Pacific Rim, our interdisciplinary and impactful research, the momentum generated by the University of Southern California, and the unparalleled engagement of our Trojan family.


The mission of the school is to deepen the knowledge and understanding of the critical problems faced in business, and to educate tomorrow's leaders who will address them.


  1. Develop and maintain thought leadership that is highly regarded in the scholarly community and measurably impacts business, society and its policies.
  2. Develop and maintain high-quality educational programs with a particular emphasis on the undergraduate, full-time MBA and Ph.D. programs, which will allow our students to take leadership roles within the business community.


  1. Be global in scope and entrepreneurial in approach. With that in mind, encourage innovative ideas from faculty, staff and students in educational programs and courses, and in research and teaching content.
  2. Generate research which is both rigorous and impactful to address wicked problems faced in business, and society in general.
  3. Provide access and opportunity for every qualified student, creating a diverse learning environment that will prepare professionals for the global economy.
  4. Set and communicate goals and results regularly and with transparency. Hold ourselves accountable to achieve targeted outcomes.
  5. Treat all members of the Marshall community with respect and dignity. Maintain the highest standards of ethics, inclusivity, and integrity.

Strategic Plan

External Environment

The landscape of business education is being reshaped by globalization and new technologies, leading to heightened competition, complexity, and change. Business schools compete for students across the globe, offering programs on multiple continents, using myriad technologies that minimize the importance of physical distance. The marketplace for faculty is global, creating unprecedented demand for faculty talent. The new landscape requires business schools to ensure their educational experiences and research meet the emerging needs of students, businesses, and society. Students need to be prepared for the challenges of cross-border and cross-cultural commerce, rapidly evolving technologies, and the need to manage limited resources. Employers seek students with a global mindset, who are entrepreneurial in their thinking and actions, with strong communication and analytical skills. Faculty need to be prepared to work on solutions to the complex and multidisciplinary problems facing businesses and society. Business schools need to develop a culture of continuous innovation and experimentation to keep pace with change in the external world, and identify better ways to serve existing markets while at the same time exploring opportunities in new markets.


USC Marshall is a leading business school, recognized for our excellence in both programs and research by outside constituents and rating agencies. The School, which includes our own prestigious Leventhal School of Accounting, is privileged to possess unique assets that build our reputation, attract students, faculty, and staff, and enhance our relevance to alumni, corporations, and strategic partners. Our assets include:

  1. A University on the rise that is dedicated to Southern California, globalization, and interdisciplinary learning while also valuing imagination, entrepreneurial thinking, collaboration, adaptation, and ethical and social perspectives.
  2. A location in metropolitan Southern California, one of the world's economic, social, cultural, and intellectual hubs, and a global trendsetter.
  3. An extensive Trojan Family alumni base.
  4. A global network of relationships with individuals and institutions in the Pacific Rim, built over the past 25 years.
  5. A globally diverse body of outstanding students.
  6. A globally diverse faculty of internationally known scholars and educators.
  7. Dedicated, talented and experienced staff.
  8. A broad portfolio of educational programs that serve students at varying career stages, at various locations, and using a variety of teaching methods.
  9. A portfolio of centers focused on a wide array of issues, including global business, innovation, entrepreneurship, finance, real estate, branding, organizational effectiveness, social entrepreneurship, digital industries, and sports business.
  10. A portfolio of strong academic units, including the Lloyd Greif Center for Entrepreneurial Studies, Leventhal School of Accounting, Center for Management Communication, Department of Finance and Business Economics, Department of Information and Operations Management, Department of Management and Organization, and Department of Marketing.


The USC Marshall School of Business aims to be a leader in educating tomorrow's global business leaders, creating knowledge of management and the business environment, and addressing critical problems facing business and society, both locally and across the world. We will build on our strategic foundations in educational programs and thought leadership and fully activate our distinctive assets so that USC Marshall becomes a global hot spot for education, study, and advancement of business and society.

Strategic Foundations

Highly regarded cutting-edge educational programs and high-impact thought leadership are necessary for a school to be a global leader in business education. Being a global leader requires that we pursue the following objectives:

Foundation 1

Develop and maintain high-quality educational programs with a particular emphasis on the undergraduate and full-time MBA programs.
Education is central to our mission, and high-quality educational programs are necessary to provide a world- class experience for our students, enhance our program rankings, and serve the educational needs of society. The undergraduate program is USC Marshall's single largest program in terms of students and revenue, it is highly ranked and continues to improve in quality. Its students are among the most loyal alumni, and it gives us opportunities unavailable to our competitors that do not have an undergraduate program. The full- time MBA program is one of our most visible programs externally, is the basis for comparing us to many of our competitors, and
contributes significantly to the School's reputation. We also have a wide array of more specialized degree and non-degree programs that add to our reputation and serve students with a wide variety of educational and career goals.

Foundation 2

Develop and maintain thought leadership that is well regarded in the scholarly community, has an impact on policy and society, and is useful in practice.
The production of knowledge through research is also central to our mission and it contributes significantly to our external reputation. Faculty members who are thought leaders are the public face of the School, are sought by media, businesses, and policymakers, attract ambitious students,deliver outstanding classes and extracurricular experiences for students, enhance the School's reputation in the scholarly and business community, and have an impact on important business and societal questions. The School's research reputation is strong and growing; faculty members have expertise across all major business disciplines, publish at a high rate in leading professional journals, and hold prominent editorial positions in leading journals.

Paths of Distinction

USC Marshall's unique assets allow us to develop educational programs and create knowledge that will distinguish the School from our competitors. Assets include our entrepreneurial reputation, our global focus, and our location in one of the most entrepreneurial and global cities in the world. The following paths of distinction leverage these assets:

Path 1

Advance Marshall's position as an innovator and leader in global business education and research, particularly in the Pacific Rim.
Globalization has been a priority for USC Marshall for the last 25 years, with considerable investments in programs, centers, and intellectual capital emphasizing global issues. Our student body and faculty are globally diverse and value global experiences. The University of Southern California is one of the most international universities in the world with a commitment to increasing its global presence. USC Marshall is a pioneer in international experiential learning programs, and those programs attract top students. Several of the School's centers are focused on global business issues. Because of our location on the Pacific Rim, and the continuing emergence of Asia as an economic center, we need to pay special attention to the Pacific Rim and Asia. Advancing Marshall's position as an innovator and leader in global business education requires cultivating a global mindset among faculty and students, creating and delivering global educational experiences, and producing research that speaks to global business issues.

Path 2

Fully engage Southern California as a learning lab for student programs and experiences as well as faculty development and research.
Southern California is a major center for global trade, home to many global corporations, and a huge economic zone in its own right (greater metropolitan Los Angeles alone would rank 16th in GDP if it were a country). USC Marshall and the University of Southern California have deep ties to the local community, the connection of the School to the region is a longstanding advantage to both, and as an important local institution we havean obligation to contribute to the community. USC's location in Los Angeles gives students the opportunity to interact with businesses and nonprofit organizations, in classes, as interns, and in other experiential ways. It gives faculty the opportunity to acquire and create knowledge through research, writing cases, and developing other curricular materials. Engaging Southern California is facilitated by deepening our connections and partnering with Southern California companies and other organizations, as well as being regarded as a thought leader in global industries with particular relevance to Southern California.

Path 3

Infuse students, faculty, staff, and other members of the USC Marshall community with an entrepreneurial mindset.
An entrepreneurial mindset embraces innovation and experimentation, questions the status quo, functions well across geographic, cultural, and disciplinary boundaries, and displays initiative, resourcefulness, and a passion to make a difference. An entrepreneurial mindset is important not only for entrepreneurs starting new businesses, but also for individuals in established organizations, large and small, in both the public and private sectors, and is a valuable way of approaching many other aspects of life in our complex, competitive, and changing world. USC Marshall is well-positioned to pursue this path: we have a reputation for and experience in providing innovative experiential programs and deploying new technology in the classroom; we are part of a University that is regarded as entrepreneurial and that excels at interdisciplinary and collaborative programs; students attend USC Marshall because they are entrepreneurial and value the interdisciplinary, experiential and collaborative opportunities that USC Marshall affords; we have centers focused on innovation, change management, society and business, and entrepreneurship; we have numerous alumni who are successful entrepreneurs; and we are located in the creative cauldron of Southern California.


Moving the School down a path that accelerates our progression into the ranks of the undisputed elite business schools will require the energy, effort, and creativity of the School's faculty, staff, students, and external supporters. The first step of the plan will be to execute a series of initiatives aligned with our strategic priorities and paths of distinction. We envision that USC Marshall constituents, particularly faculty and staff, working with the Dean's office, will develop additional initiatives as implementation proceeds. Below we specify initiatives that correspond with the two strategic priorities and the three paths of distinction. Many are relevant to multiple priorities/paths.

  1. Establish an interdisciplinary educational opportunity (class, minor, degree, etc.) with every school on campus. This initiative leverages our locale in a great University with outstanding schools in non-business areas, and promotes the interdisciplinary goals of the new undergraduate curriculum. Our initial efforts will focus on establishing interdisciplinary educational opportunities within the undergraduate program.
  2. Create opportunities so that every undergraduate and MBA student has a meaningful international experience before graduating. Exposure to the people and businesses of other countries is central for developing a global and entrepreneurial mindset. As part of this initiative, which builds on USC Marshall's experience as a pioneer in international experiential learning, we will:
    1. Work to create an undergraduate program involving one year of residential study at top universities in Asia and Europe, and USC, with students receiving a bachelor's degree from each university.
    2. Expand the availability of USC Marshall's Learning about International Commerce (LINC) or similar programs to all business majors.
    3. On an ongoing basis, explore additional international educational opportunities, including: adding to the portfolio of elective class offerings that involve an experiential international perspective (e.g., international travel, projects with global or international companies, governments, NGOs, and other non-profit organizations); using technology to connect with students or companies abroad; expanding international internship opportunities; and expanding international exchange opportunities.
  3. Emphasize the development of critical-thinking, communication, and team-building skills among Marshall students. These skills are part of developing the entrepreneurial and global mindset, and they are highly valued by employers. Initial priorities in this area emphasize skill development among MBA students. The Dean's 2009 MBA Initiative led to a new MBA curriculum that offers students significant flexibility, which creates added opportunities for students to develop skills that match their passions. The development of curriculum materials that foster these skills is part of this initiative.
  4. Enhance the quality of student services. Recognizing that USC Marshall contributes to the development and education of students by supporting activities both inside and outside the classroom, this initiative seeks to initially increase the quality of the undergraduate student experience through increased investments in advising, tutoring and career services.
  5. Construct an undergraduate building with state-of-the art classrooms, common and meeting areas for students, and space to support student services. A state-of-the-art undergraduate instructional facility will improve the classroom experience, allow us to offer a broader menu of courses, facilitate collaborative and technology-enabled learning experiences, and promote undergraduate students' collective identity.
  6. Continue to improve teaching effectiveness. Recognizing that high-quality educational programs require excellent instructors, this initiative seeks to develop the teaching skills and effectiveness of USC Marshall's professors by providing them with training, technology, and institutional support to foster great teaching. As part of this initiative, we will:
    1. Establish a teaching mastery program that recognizes USC Marshall's top instructors and taps them as teaching mentors.
    2. Endow 3-5 named chairs and professorships to recognize USC Marshall's most outstanding teachers.
    3. Create an endowment to support the development of faculty teaching skills, particularly in areas that relate to developing an entrepreneurial and global mindset.
    4. Experiment with new modes of instruction that employ experiential and collaborative learning styles. This initiative recognizes that learning styles and opportunities evolve over time, and USC Marshall must continuously experiment with new modes of instruction to remain a leader in higher education. Promising modes include those that would encourage entrepreneurial thinking, collaboration, and the ability to function across geographic and cultural boundaries, and could include serious games, podcasts, distance and online instruction, 3-D classrooms, and asynchronous discussion forums.
  7. Expand on and invest in top faculty talent. Faculty talent facilitates the delivery of high-quality programs and enhances USC Marshall's reputation as a hot spot for intellectual activity. To increase the pool of faculty talent, this initiative aims to:
    1. Complete the faculty hiring goals of the 2008 Thought Leadership Initiative to increase the number of research faculty by 20.
    2. Recruit 1-3 transformational hires and 1-2 Provost Professors.
    3. Recognize and retain emerging faculty talent by raising funds to endow 10 early-career chairs.
    4. Raise funds to endow 10 named chairs for outstanding research faculty.
  8. Create and support opportunities for high-impact research. This initiative aims to increase USC Marshall's production of knowledge, which is central to our mission. Support for research is also important for attracting and retaining top scholars. The initiative will:
    1. Establish an endowment to support the School's research infrastructure, in areas such as the behavioral lab and the online data library. It will also provide new infrastructure, such as a Census Data Research Center.
    2. Explore opportunities to connect USC Marshall scholars with scholars and organizations in Southern California and around the world (e.g., through virtual scholar forums, virtual conferences,online meetings).
  9. Deepen and expand USC Marshall's global partnerships. The School has an array of partnerships with educational institutions across the globe. This initiative aims to deepen relationships with a select group of existing partners, as well as to create new value-added partnerships. The initiative aims to:
    1. Strengthen existing partnerships with schools abroad to expand the portfolio of partnership activities (e.g., faculty exchanges, research partnerships, master's degree/certificate programs).
      Deeper relationships offer opportunities for more integrated educational programs and more extensive research collaboration.
    2. Explore the expansion of our portfolio of collaborative international programs in terms of exchange programs and joint degree programs.
  10. Build intellectual capital pertinent to global industries with strong ties to Southern California. As part of this initiative, we will:
    1. Establish a digital industries working group to propose and implement a strategy for the school regarding digital industries. The working group will explore and propose: opportunities to expand USC Marshall's activities relating to digital industries in terms of curriculum, classes, programs, research, doctoral training, and creating linkages across campus; business model consulting; conferences; and summer programs for industry members. This initiative offers the possibility of pursuing all three paths of distinction: digital industries are prominent in the Southern California economy, many of the firms in these industries are global, and their products and services are among the most innovative and ever-changing.
    2. Investigate creation of a technology supercenter. The supercenter would embrace existing centers such as the Institute for Communication Technology Management, Global Branding Center, Center for Global Innovation, Center for Technology Commercialization, Brittingham Social Enterprise Lab, and the above-noted digital industries group, as well as faculty with research in technology, communication technologies, innovation, new products, technology management, technology strategies, technology usage, commercialization, and social implications of technology. It would also develop connections with other units on campus. Technology is ever-changing, and many high-impact entrepreneurial ventures have technology at their core. Hence a supercenter focused on technology is consistent with an entrepreneurial mindset. Such a center could expand our global connections as technology developments can have worldwide impact.
  11. Facilitate partnerships between Southern California businesses and organizations with USC Marshall students and faculty. Partnerships between USC Marshall and Southern California businesses and other organizations provide learning experiences, employment opportunities, and research possibilities, and allow the School to contribute to the local community. Under this initiative, we will facilitate a variety of partnership activities, such as student and class-related consulting projects, shadow opportunities, internships, professional mentoring, and student placement, as well as opportunities for faculty to connect with Southern California businesses and other organizations for purposes of case development, course development, guest speakers, or research. Because Southern California is a hot spot for global business and entrepreneurial thinking, this initiative also fosters the development of the global and entrepreneurial mindset.
  12. Engage and strengthen the USC Trojan Family and its ties to USC Marshall. USC is privileged to have a strong and extensive Trojan Family comprised of alumni, donors, students, faculty, staff, parents, and other friends. If we execute effectively on the previous initiatives, we will enhance the value of the Marshall brand and deepen the commitment and involvement of the Trojan family. In addition, to enable the entire Trojan family to strengthen their engagement with each other and with Marshall, we will:
    1. Establish technology-based opportunities to enable all of the groups to actively engage with USC Marshall and with one another in direct and interactive modalities.
    2. Develop a plan to better connect USC alumni with USC Marshall's educational programs and research.