Farwa Shafiq Bhatti
Class of 2016
Lahore School Of Economics, Bachelor of Business Administration (BBA), Class of 2013
The Walt Disney Company as Senior Integration Consultant
What did you do before the MSM program?
I was a Social Media Strategist at Pring Pakistan.
What made you apply to the program?
I was evaluating MBA programs and applied to some of them as well. However, what I was really looking for was a more specialized master's program that drills deep and extensively into the field of marketing. I had done my undergraduate in finance and marketing from Pakistan and I really wanted to learn more about the applications of marketing. That is when I came across the USC Marshall MS Marketing program. When I got my acceptance letter from USC, I had already been made offers by two other MBA programs. But given the ranking that USC Marshall School of Business has, combined with my own interest, the choice was very clear: USC.
How did the program help you further your career? Did you learn skills that you can apply to your current job?
This was a 360 degree program; we were taught every aspect of marketing such as marketing strategy, consumer behavior, advertising, marketing analytics, global marketing, and entertainment marketing! This program just has so much to offer. It helped me land an internship with The Walt Disney Company in my final semester. Since a lot of concepts about the television industry were already taught in class, my transition into the role was smooth and I was able to pick up the industry jargon with ease. At USC, I was provided a very solid base of skills to kickstart my internship, and I was able to take care of the rest very easily once I started working.
Who were your favorite professors and why?
Dr. Diane Badame and Prof. Gene Delvecchio. In many ways, I owe them my career. Whenever I got an internship or a job interview call in that one year at USC, I made sure to go through interview strategies with them each time. They had a lot of advice to offer when it came to approaching executives at different companies and leaving a long lasting impression on them in an interview. They have made me the professional that I am today.
How did the program help you grow personally?
The biggest challenge that we, international students, face is that of cultural difference. America is an absolutely different world and in order to survive one has to adapt and learn a lot about the local culture in a very short span of time. Additionally, I was a part of a diverse class that had students from all across the world, and with different professional and personal backgrounds. The most important lesson that I learned from studying in such a class was the need to be respectful towards one another. When you enter the job market, your daily interactions vary, in that, you meet with different stakeholders such as clients, vendors or customers. The most successful individual is the one who knows how to respectfully and professionally deal with these stakeholders. That is the key!
Looking back at the time spent at USC, what would you have done differently?
Marketing is a very broad field and one can major in different areas such as branding, strategy, research, or digital media. The list is very long! I would have loved to specialize in one particular field and turned that into my strength. I personally feel it is all about learning as much as you can about the entire marketing field and then really take a deep dive into one of the areas.
What are your best memories from your time at USC?
The friends I made at USC, they became more like family than friends. These are lifelong friendships and though we are all scattered in different parts of the world now, we make it a point to connect with each other every now and then. My housemates were also my classmates and it was just so much fun to successfully go through the entire journey of personal and professional growth with them.
How was your experience of living in LA?
Looking back at my time in LA, I feel this city gave me so much without asking for anything in return. From education to a great experience, from friendship to independence, LA offered it all and really turned me in to a completely different individual. A confident and an independent individual.
What advice do you have for the current class?
My advice to the current class and especially to the international students is just three words: don't be shy. We are always so reluctant to reach out to people for help. A constant fear hangs over our head: what will this person think of me? Remove those fears and "what ifs", and just give your 100% to everything. Once you do give your 100% to everything fearlessly, things will fall right into place. Just the way you want them to.
Who should apply to this program?
Ask yourself two questions before applying to this program. Do you love marketing? Do you have the personality traits needed to be a successful marketer? If yes, then go for it! Marketers should have three qualities; they should be innovative, fearless, and confident. If you are not a by-the-book kind of person, then marketing is definitely the path you should pursue.
3 words to describe your MSM experience
Rigorous, transformative, enlightening