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Going to Market

USC Marshall graduate marketing students meet senior executives from across industries

October 09, 2019
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If you are a marketing executive at, say, Facebook or Sony Pictures, why would you spend a Friday night talking to USC graduate marketing students?

Because those students are your future employees, that’s why.

Also, it’s just a Trojan Family thing.  

Panelist Jenna Lauer, managing partner, Hall & Partners, took one of her first marketing classes in the late ‘90s with Rex Kovacevich, professor of clinical marketing.

“Jenna took my class when I was teaching my very first semester at USC Marshall,” he said. “And she sits here now as the managing partner of an agency eager to talk to those of you who are just starting out now. You can thank the Trojan Family for that.”

“They want to talk to our students. They know about the program, and they want to be involved.”—Diane Badame, Professor of Marketing and Academic Director for the MS in Marketing program

In an October 4th evening event exclusively for students in USC Marshall’s Master’s of Science in Marketing program, seven marketers introduced themselves and described how they got to where they are now. Then they broke into smaller, roundtable groups for more detailed discussions with students.

It was the second of five-such evening panels with marketing executives. “This is our flagship event,” says Diane Badame, professor of clinical marketing and academic director for the MS in Marketing program. “This exposes our students to multiple industries and companies and gives them an opportunity to learn from the best.

Friday’s meetup included Kelly McFarren, Manager, Brand Marketing, Quest Nutrition;  Scott Norville, Vice President of Digital Audience Development, 20th Century Fox; Jenna Lauer, Managing Partner, Hall & Partners;  Katrina Hitz-Tough, SVP, Brand Strategy & Marketing, Sony Pictures Entertainment; Tiffney Powell, Senior Manager of Brand Strategy, Paramount Pictures; Rick Lucas, Client Partner, Facebook and Renu Mevasse, chief marketing officer, Smarty Pants Vitamins.

Badame taps her extensive professional network to identify marketing leaders and make the ask. But after five years, many already know about the program. “They want to talk to our students,” she says. “They know about the program, and they want to be involved.”

For students and employers, that’s a win.

“I originally came at the bequest of a student a few years ago, and now I feel like I’m grandfathered in,” said Rick Lucas, a client partner at Facebook. “But I don’t mind at all, and in fact I enjoy these events. These students are the future.”

Panalist Renu Mevasse, chief marketing officer for Smarty Pants Vitamins, said she participated to give back.

“I didn’t know what I wanted to do, so I found these kinds of informational panel sessions very valuable. It’s like making a trip to Costco—you get to come in and sample a lot of things.”

The Nov. 8 will feature senior marketers from the entertainment industry, including Disney, AT&T Mobility and Entertainment Group, Warner Bros, 20th Century Fox, BCG Digital Ventures and Green Fig.

Learn more about USC Marshall’s MS in Marketing program here.

Katrina Hitz-Tough, SVP, Brand Strategy & Marketing, Sony Pictures Entertainment

Table-Side Chat

Katrina Hitz-Tough, SVP, Brand Strategy & Marketing, Sony Pictures Entertainment, speaks to students in USC Marshall's MS in Marketing class. Senior level marketers from across industries are invited every semester to describe their careers and answer student questions in an intimate setting.

students in MS marketing

Leaning In

Students lean in with questions for Tiffney Powell, Senior Manager of Brand Strategy, Paramount Pictures.

Rick Lucaas of Facebook speaks to students at MS in Marketing event

Hearing from the Pros

Rick Lucas, a client partner at Facebook, discusses his career trajectory during a panel with other professional marketers at an October 4th MS in Marketing program event.

Katrina Hitz-Tough, SVP, Brand Strategy & Marketing, Sony Pictures Entertainment

Table-Side Chat

Katrina Hitz-Tough, SVP, Brand Strategy & Marketing, Sony Pictures Entertainment, speaks to students in USC Marshall's MS in Marketing class. Senior level marketers from across industries are invited every semester to describe their careers and answer student questions in an intimate setting.

students in MS marketing

Leaning In

Students lean in with questions for Tiffney Powell, Senior Manager of Brand Strategy, Paramount Pictures.

Rick Lucaas of Facebook speaks to students at MS in Marketing event

Hearing from the Pros

Rick Lucas, a client partner at Facebook, discusses his career trajectory during a panel with other professional marketers at an October 4th MS in Marketing program event.