Summer semester was quite a whirlwind, but an energizing and insightful time as well. After being launched straight into the MS in Marketing program just a couple of weeks after graduating with my bachelor’s degree, I readied myself for the semester ahead. While many students had left their jobs or had taken a gap year before entering the program, I was one of the few who jumped from one rigorous academic setting to another. At first, that concerned me. I worried that my time in the program wouldn’t be as meaningful because of my limited work experience. But I found that to be quite the contrary. The momentum I had from undergrad helped me to stay focused and excited about my studies. As well, I was able to learn a great deal about how to apply my studies to work through my classmates such as Allan Muteti who's launching his own business and Jim Key who is using the program to propel his career at USC.
Even more, my first semester was far more insightful, transformative and overall meaningful than I had ever thought. From an academic standpoint, I was certainly challenged. As a full time student taking 4 core courses (Communications for Management, Consumer Behavior, Business Analytics and Marketing Management), many hours were spent studying, presenting, researching, meeting with teammates along with an even longer list of academic activities. My communications class was actually very useful, as I improved my presentation skills, learned the best ways to write a cover letter, practiced professional interviewing and even went through a personality analysis to see how I best work. Though it was a 1.5 credit course, the 6 weeks of lecture taught me quite a bit. My consumer behavior class was so interesting, as the combination of psychology and marketing is the exact field that I would like to be in. In that class I was able to organize and lead an effective focus group, in-depth interviews, and bring it all together in a team field research report. My team and I studied many aspects of restrictive diets, such as veganism, and the ways in which the restaurant and fast food industry can better target this market. Business analytics was difficult for me as we learned how to use programs that were completely new to me, like Tableau and SAS. While I entered the course a beginner, I have definitely finished the course with a more thorough and meaningful understanding of business analytics. My last course, Marketing Management was certainly my most difficult course. With half of our grade based on our Integrated Strategic Marketing Plan (ISMP), the number of hours spent researching and preparing that report can’t be forgotten. But in the end, I finished with a project that is probably one of my proudest academic achievements – and with the ability to perform a thorough analysis of all aspects of a company – from its industry to the company’s value chain and competitive landscape.
While the summer was definitely an academic feat, it was also a great time to prepare for my career. With 4 separate career workshops that allowed students to polish their resumes, LinkedIn Profiles and their overall interview skills, by the end of the summer, I was ready to begin my career path. As well, through the amazing efforts of our advisory council, we were able to make an office visit to TechStyle Fashion Group and have an amazing discussion with some of their employees while receiving a tour of their headquarters. With more office visits like these being planned, it's really helpful in learning what type of company culture and environment will work best for me. Additionally, after meeting with our career advisor, Kira Dalton, following the end of classes, I was able to create a set plan to achieve my career goals through internship opportunities, informational interviews and using the many career opportunities available to students at USC and within the Marshall School of Business.
Surely, I had some fun too! I grew incredibly close to my classmates in such a short time, and I was able to explore Los Angeles and see more than just the ample tourist locations. Now, with the fall semester quickly approaching, I’m overjoyed to have experienced such a busy yet impactful summer. The fall semester brings electives where I can explore other areas of interest with classes such as Fashion, Luxury and Lifestyle Marketing and Advertising and Social Media. Plus, the Masters in Marketing seminars will be in full effect, and I’ll have the chance to network and ask questions of corporate leaders and executives! The break between semesters has been incredibly rejuvenating, and now I can’t wait to take on the next semester ahead!