Students of all ages, ethnicities and backgrounds gathered on campus at Hoffman Hall to prepare for the new journey of learning and growth ahead. I arrived on the beautiful USC campus to meet and greet my cohort of friendly individuals from Canada, China, Taiwan, Thailand, Korea, Brazil, Russia, and all over the United States. After a few shy smiles and warm introductions over a continental breakfast, we all leapt into a full day of activities and slowly got used to calling ourselves the USC/Marshall Master of Science in Marketing Class of 2020!
Though we were all a little nervous at first, meeting our delightful MS in Marketing Academic and Program Director (and Professor of Clinical Marketing), Dr. Diane Badame, brought smiles to our faces and reassured us we had entered a positively transformative educational experience. She spoke of servitude and humility – and she meant it! Our first group exercise was to state our expectations and interests so that Dr. Badame could spearhead customizing the program to suit our individual and community needs! Not long after, Assistant Program Director Iain McConnell, who took note, updated the program’s objectives so as to meet each students’ expectations! The informative yet fun morning also included talks with our class advisors and an enthusiastic welcome from John Bertrand, Senior Associate Director of Marshall Career Services, who outlined how we could start using USC/Marshall’s famed career center immediately!
My fellow classmates and I were then walked through our respective specializations, either Consumer Behavior or Marketing Analytics, and their core and elective courses. It was such a relief to have that guidance – and most of my courses for the year chosen – on day one. Following the busy morning of meeting and connecting with other students and faculty, we enjoyed a lunch break where the Trojan band played a personal show for us, further emphasizing the Trojan pride and family that we were being welcomed into.
After our entertaining and lively lunch break, we jumped back into the afternoon onboarding process as we learned about all of the Electronic Library Resources available to us. We even had the opportunity to meet our soon-to-be Business Analytics professor, Richard Selby. Next, we welcomed former MS in Marketing student, Kara Miller, who had graduated just a couple of weeks earlier. She raved about the program and all it had to offer, and even presented students with the opportunity to join the Advisory Council, a MS in Marketing group that helps to engage and connect the entire class by ensuring international students, part-timers and all members of the cohort are able to make the most out of their time in the program. It all made us even more excited for all of the opportunities ahead.
To conclude the day, an alumni panel was held in Heritage Hall, where our school spirit continued to grow as we walked through the Hall of Champions and immersed ourselves in the athletic excellence of USC. The alumni panel held graduates from 2016 through 2018 who were able to discuss their experience and where their academic experience has led them – 20th Century Fox, ABC, IFC Next, Warner Brothers, to name a few. We all eagerly asked questions and networked with the alumni who were so recently in our same position. The busy and full day ended with a reception in which we were able to connect with all of the new individuals around us and ready ourselves for the exciting path forward. Though a group of nervous yet excited individuals had gathered in the morning, by early evening the Master of Science in Marketing Class of 2020 had joined the Trojan family!