A Hero MBA

Corban Pierce serves our nation and aims to help the world

May 11, 2018

Captain Corban Pierce MBA ’18 has been serving our country for seven years in the Marine Corps as the executive officer at Reconnaissance Training Company, Advanced Infantry Training Battalion. A proud father of a 5-year-old son, he just earned an MBA from the USC Marshall School of Business with a long-term goal of starting a nonprofit to help children around the world.

Some people really are heroes.

“Someday I’d like to get into the nonprofit world. That might be in something like Team Rubicon,” he says, about the organization that unites veterans and first responders. “Eventually, I’d like to start my own nonprofit to create lasting change in small communities in the country and the world where children might not otherwise be able to go to school or have other basic opportunities.”

He is completely humble about this aspiration. “It’s not solving major crises,” he says. “It’s solving small things.”

With that goal in mind, and after researching online MBA programs at several schools, Pierce chose Marshall. “I wanted to find a school that shared my values of entrepreneurship and helping people. I found that spirit at USC.”

He was specifically attracted to the high-quality education that Marshall’s online MBA promised. “What impressed me about USC was they were unrelenting in their standards,” he says. “They were very clear and honest upfront that the online program would be taught by the same professors as the brick-and-mortar program, and the expectations and what you are supposed to understand wouldn’t change.”

As a Marine Corps officer based at Camp Pendleton and tasked with training younger Marines and helping to manage programs, Pierce puts in a minimum of 12 hours a day. He also has a family. He needed flexibility, and the online MBA program provided just that, along with “expert faculty” and “a very welcoming environment.” He particularly enjoyed being in a blended cohort and learning from his own classmates: professionals representing a variety of industries, from computer programmers to engineers to marketers.

Pierce plans to continue his military service after he walks at graduation on May 11, but his newfound business skills are already being put to use. “I found a lot of crossover with the MBA,” he says. “I told some of my professors that I was excited to learn this, get three or four classes in on it, and try it out at work.”