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Summer Program Culminates with New Strategy Competition

Summer Program Culminates with New Strategy Competition

USC Marshall Pre-College students took four weeks of courses on topics spanning from analytics to entrepreneurship. The summer was capped by a friendly case competition, the inaugural “Marshall Strategy Challenge."

Summer Program Culminates with New Strategy Competition

Students participate in Marshall Strategy Challenge

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This summer, USC Pre-College Programs hosted high school students interested in business for a four-week summer program. Students were summer Trojans and able to take classes looking at real businesses, hear from industry experts and Marshall instructors, and together discover the secret sauce that makes businesses successful. The three courses offered for students interested in business were EXPLORING ENTREPRENEURSHIP with Professor Glenn Fox, ANALYTICS: THE POWER OF DATA FOR BUSINESS with Professor Charlie Hannigan, and INTRODUCTION TO BUSINESS with Professor Michael Paranal.

USC’s four-week college immersion program provides high school students with university experience in a subject area of their choice. Courses are interactive, engaging, and challenging— allowing students to explore new areas of study or build on high school coursework.

“In designing the Intro to Business program, we had three critical learning outcomes in mind," said Paranal whose course is dedicated to providing a deeper understanding of the interplay and influences of business areas. He incorporates "what I call the ‘Three Cs’- Competency (building the students’ business knowledge and skills), Collaboration (harnessing the power of collective performance), and Coaching (facilitating growth through mentoring). In four weeks, we provided the students with countless experiential learning activities led by several of Marshall’s world-class faculty." 

Students had an opportunity to learn how consumer and economic trends influence how industries operate and, on the flip side, how industries can drive consumer interests and economies. The summer course culminated in a friendly case competition, the inaugural “Marshall Strategy Challenge,” where students showcased their creativity and knack for strategic analysis.

In four weeks, we provided the students with countless experiential learning activities led by several of Marshall’s world-class faculty

— Michael Paranal, Assistant Professor of Clinical Accounting

“Following Marshall’s emphasis on experiential learning, the case competition capped the students’ four-week experience by giving them the opportunity to strategize around various issues facing real-world companies, and present recommendations in front of a panel of distinguished judges,” said PATRICIA MILLS, vice dean of teaching and faculty affairs.

Judges included faculty and alumni from City National Bank, SpaceX, DC Comics, and more. Mike Norona, who served as one of the judges, is a retired Fortune 500 company CFO with nearly 30 years of experience in retail, commercial, on-line and multi-unit global businesses. He shared his appreciation for the opportunity to come back and give back.

“Spending time with these young students, I was inspired and impressed by how they applied their recently acquired business and technical capabilities to solve real life company challenges. Their maturity, leadership, communication and interpersonal skills were wise beyond their ages. It gives me great confidence in our future knowing these students will be leading us in their chosen paths as they reach their full potential,” he added.

Mishtee Jukar, rising senior from Colorado who participated in the program, shared how this summer allowed her to explore and learn more about a career in business. Her team, which consisted of four other classmates, was chosen as part of one of the final teams presenting their strategy for Disney+.

“Since I am applying to colleges this year, this program has been really helpful. I was pretty indecisive about what I want to study next year, although I knew I wanted to do something related to business. “We learned so many interesting things from all the professors that I will take with me. One thing about USC is the networking opportunities are vast, I really appreciated the opportunity to present to the judges and get real world experiences.”