Forbes billed the event as “the greatest gathering of game-changers and entrepreneurs ever” — and USC Marshall was there in force. Of the 30 USC students invited to attend the 2017 Forbes Under 30 Summit Oct. 1-4 in Boston, Mass., 25 of these Forbes Scholars represented Marshall and Leventhal.
“The fact that so many of USC students were invited to the Forbes Under 30 Summit showcases the strength of the intellectual capital of our students,” said Debra Langford, assistant dean of diversity and inclusion for undergraduate and graduate programs. “Our students are impressive academically and demonstrate the power of inclusion by having such a wonderful group, in terms of ethnicity and gender, and levels from freshmen to graduate students. We were incredibly proud to support them.”
The number of USC students swelled organically. “Initially, my roommate and I started a group chat to coordinate the trip to the Summit,” said Marshall co-captain Tiara Conley ’18, who is concentrating in marketing. “After I made a post to LinkedIn, other USC students began reaching out to me. Soon we kept growing and discovering other USC students who were also coming, across several schools on campus.”
"Our students are impressive academically and demonstrate the power of inclusion by having such a wonderful group, in terms of ethnicity and gender, and levels from freshmen to graduate students. We were incredibly proud to support them.” --Debra Langford, Assistant Dean of Diversity and Inclusion, USC Marshall
The four-day event was a massive and wide-ranging exploration of innovation and creativity in business and beyond. Six content tracks brought in business leaders, CEOs, entrepreneurs, investors, civil rights activists, politicians, actors, athletes, musicians and scientists to discourse on everything from starting social enterprises and building disruptive brands to how pop culture can change society and how physics is explaining the mysteries of the universe. Winners of Forbes’ Change the World Entrepreneur Competition were spotlighted, and 30 Under 30 honorees discussed how “return-on-equality” generates “return-on-equity.”
Conley got fired up by Bozoma Saint John, the chief brand officer of Uber, and panels of strong female change-makers in the tech sector. “As an additional invite-only opportunity, I got to attend a design workshop sponsored by Microsoft to collaborate on ways to tackle some of the gender bias discussed during the prior presentations. It was a unique time seeing anyone from college students to seasoned professionals trying to understand the diverse workforce and how to bring about more equality.”
Marshall co-captain Solomon Abdella ’17, who is double majoring in business and accounting and graduating in December, found the event “inspiring.” “We were able to listen to thought leaders and innovators in their respective fields — like Ray Dalio, John Sculley and Brad Katsuyama — many of whom I would not have otherwise had access to if not for Marshall’s support. The summit also provided me the opportunity to network with other students, entrepreneurs and industry professionals; I learned about new concepts and disruptive businesses, exchanged ideas and grew my network.”
A final highlight for the USC group? Meeting Mark Howard, chief revenue officer of Forbes Media, and CEO Mike Perlis. “We took a photo together,” Conley said, “and we even taught Mike Perlis how to Fight On!”