Erik Rocha

Class of
Business Administration
Education & Society, Enterprise Information Systems

Areas of Interest at USC and Marshall
1.    Extracurricular Activities
2.    International Experiences
3.    Consulting
4.    USC Athletics
5.    Mentorship

What made you choose to attend USC Marshall?
I decided to choose to attend USC Marshall for a few different reasons. First, I knew that both USC and the Marshall School of Business were well respected in California and had a network that would be beneficial for my career after school. Since coming to USC, I’ve realized that the network spans beyond California and even the United States. On my Global Leadership Program trip in China, I ran into three Trojans in Shanghai right when we stepped off the bus to check in to our hotel…the network is crazy!

Second, I really loved the emphasis that Marshall put on international learning. When I listened to panels at Discover USC and Explore USC, I heard about all the different opportunities that exist for students to travel and have first-hand experiential learning. I also really appreciated the fact that there were scholarships and financial aid available to make those trips a reality.

Third, I knew that the resources Marshall had as a private university business school were going to help me get to where I wanted (which was nowhere near decided when I started college, but I knew that Marshall could help me). In addition to all the student orgs focused on different industries, the Career Center for Marshall hosts tons of events throughout the year to help connect students to companies.

Lastly, I had this feeling when I was on campus that USC is on the rise academically. I was choosing between schools similar (and even better) in ranking, but I didn’t have the feeling of growth at those schools like I did at USC. Going to a university with more than 20 different schools that are all highly ranked just creates an environment of intelligent people who create a collaborative environment, which is an awesome learning environment.

Advice you wish you had known while applying to college:
It’s been four years since I have applied to college, but I wish that I had taken more time to look at every universities individual programs that they offer within each major or individual school. I’ve been extremely lucky to walk into USC without knowing about all the amazing programs that it has to offer, but to still have the opportunity to take advantage of them. For example, I didn’t know that USC had a Global Fellows program that pays for your entire summer (airfare, housing, and spending stipend) to work at an internship in Asia before committing to USC, but I was able to learn about it and have that opportunity.

While the admission rates for most competitive schools keep decreasing (USC was 18% when I got in and it was 13% last application cycle), I think it’s important to have confident in yourself and your accomplishments, but also be realistic. I applied to 13 universities because I wanted to cast a wide net – just in case. In that net, I included schools that I would reluctantly go to with very little enthusiasm if all my top choice schools rejected me. When decisions started to roll out, I realized that I spent time and money unnecessarily on applications to schools I wouldn’t want to go to. Have confidence in yourself that you have a chance to be accepted at any school you apply to, but don’t apply to a school you aren’t interested in just to have a “back up” option. Find schools you are genuinely interested it and do your research. I think that is the best chance at having your application stand out in the pool of prospective students.

USC activities/general hobbies:
Throughout my time at USC, I’ve been involved in: Global Brigades @ Marshall, AIM Consulting Club, Marshall Business Student Government (MBSG), USC Troy Camp, and Marshall Student Ambassadors. In my free time, I like to run – I ran a half marathons after finishing my sophomore year and I’m planning on running another before I graduate. I also like to go to concerts around the city, take weekend trips to watch USC football play away games, and eat across the different neighborhoods of LA.

Why do you love Los Angeles?
I really enjoy LA’s social scene and food scene. Now that I’m 21 and have a car, I can fully take advantage of everything LA has to offer: bars, coffee shops, theaters, concerts, etc. Obviously the weather of Southern California is pretty incredible, so it’s nice to be able to go to the beach or just hang outside with good weather basically year-round. I also really enjoy the diversity of LA. USC’s location in Los Angeles gives the opportunity to engage with people from various backgrounds and cultures – each of which has amazing food!

What global experiences have you had in college?
Through USC and Marshall, I’ve studied, volunteered, and worked abroad. My freshman year I traveled to Beijing and Shanghai in China during spring break through the Global Leadership Program to better understand Chinese business practices. My sophomore year, I spent a week of my winter break in Panama through Global Brigades working on a business development consulting project with a client in rural Panama. The summer before junior year, I worked in Taipei, Taiwan through the USC Global Fellows program. I was working at National Taiwan University with the Office of International Affairs to do marketing consulting and exchange program redevelopment. Last spring, I studied abroad in Vienna, Austria through the Marshall International Exchange Program and spent the semester at the Vienna University of Business and Economics. All of these experiences have been an incredible part of my college experience, I have USC, Marshall, my parents, and donors to thank for these memories.

What internship/employment opportunities have you taken advantage of at Marshall?
I’ve had a variety of working experience that were opportunities that were provided by USC and Marshall. Through portals like ConnectSC and Marshall Career Source, I’ve landed internships with Teach For America, National Taiwan University, and KPMG. I think working experience, over the summer and during the school year, is the best tool to help you decide which career path you’d like to pursue in the future.

Favorite USC Marshall class:
I’d probably have to pick two classes tied for my favorite. First, DSO 431: Foundations of Digital Business Innovation with Professor Majchrzak. This class was my first introduction to digital innovation and this course introduced me to the strategy behind innovation in the 21st century. I really enjoyed all of the speakers that came to class from different industries to explain innovation in their specific sectors. Professor Majchrzak made the course very interactive to keep our class engaged and her industry experience made lectures more interesting than reading slides. My second favorite class has been BAEP 491: Introduction to Social Entrepreneurship. Similar to DSO 4313, this course has a variety of different speakers in the social enterprise space to discuss the specific details of running a nonprofit organization that independently generates revenue beyond donations. The course content is really important to me because one day I hope to be a part of a social enterprise that puts social return on investments for society before stockholder’s financial gain.



Erik Rocha

Class of:
Business Administration
Education & Society, Enterprise Information Systems