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Elective Classes

Elective courses allow students to explore their areas of interest and develop deep competencies that align with their career goals.

MBA students may select 7.5 units of elective classes during the Spring semester of their first year. This provides students the opportunity to take classes that they feel will prepare them to be successful in their summer internship. Students may choose to take additional elective classes during the summer in lieu of an internship.

The second-year of the MBA program is intended to be customized to suit student’s interests and career goals. The 30 remaining elective units can be earned by:

  • Taking elective coursework – Marshall offers close to 100 elective courses for MBA students in any given year;
  • Designing an individualized program of study that cuts across several functional areas*;
  • Completing an independent study project*; and/or
  • Selecting courses from other graduate schools within the university*- students may take up to nine elective units at another USC graduate school

*Available to second year MBA students who have completed all core curriculum and are in good standing (minimum 3.0 GPA)

Students are eligible to select from a wide range of graduate elective courses offered by the USC Marshall Academic Units including:

Please note course offerings are not guaranteed and students should consult the Schedule of Classes for courses offered during any given term.

Featured Elective Courses

Negotiation and Deal Making
The purpose of this course is to understand the theory and processes of negotiation as it is practiced in a variety of settings. The course is designed to be relevant to the broad spectrum of negotiation problems that managers face. Considerable emphasis is placed on simulations, role-playing and case studies.

Strategy and Operations through CFO Lens
This class addresses the strategic and operational issues that companies face in multiple industries, and the responses of chief financial officers who are responsible for the accounting and financial planning and decision making. The class includes guest speakers, CFOs who present how they view the business as a whole and measure performance effectively.

Paul Celebucki
The electives offered, in addition to Core, allowed me to tailor my education toward the industry and job I was looking for. Being able to do so helped me to speak with companies and interview for job positions easier. Having the knowledge gained from these classes helped me to easily transition back into the professional world.

Paul Celebucki   Class of 2014

Experiential Learning Projects

USC Marshall offers students many opportunities to apply classroom learning to real world scenarios.

Graduate Student Investment Fund (SIF) Course

The Student Investment Fund (SIF) Program is a one-year experiential course consisting of two 3-unit finance electives in “Applied Portfolio Management” (i.e., FBE 553a & FBE553b). It is designed to give students rigorous exposure to contemporary investment and portfolio theory and practice.  Each year interested Marshall graduate students apply to be part of the course and 16 students are selected to manage approximately $8.0 million of USC’s endowment fund in four equity and one fixed-income portfolio, each with a unique investment discipline.  Analytical tools for the valuation of stocks, bonds, and options are presented. The course also covers risk management and portfolio optimization, behavioral finance, and performance attribution. Students will demonstrate and refine their ability to apply analytical concepts and techniques through the following:

  • Fund management
  • Sector reports
  • Company research reports
  • Investment research reports
  • Security pitches

MBA Society and Business Fellowship Program

Sponsored by the USC Marshall Brittingham Social Enterprise Lab (BSEL), the MBA Society and Business Fellowship Program is a highly selective, year-long opportunity for the small cadre of MBA and MBA.PM students who are seeking a business degree in order to pursue careers in poverty alleviation, including homelessness, education, and global health.

As a Society and Business Fellow, students receive:

  • Monthly cohort meetings with like-minded students and professional networking relationships with alumni who share values.
  • Personal mentoring from the Brittingham Social Enterprise Lab (BSEL) staff.
  • Targeted guidance and counseling for summer internships and full-time employment.
  • Professional development tailored to non-traditional business careers.
  • Priority registration for BAEP 566/567, 571, 591.
  • Exclusive opportunities to meet with industry leaders and exposure to best practices in social entrepreneurship.
  • Funding toward professional development.
  • Priority consideration for a subsidy (up to $2,500) to complete a summer internship at an eligible nonprofit organization.

Marshall Leadership Fellows Program (MLFP)

MLFP offers a unique leadership development course combining classroom and experiential learning opportunities where second year MBA students dedicated to personal and professional leadership development provide coaching to first year Core teams. This program includes two semester academic experience, totaling 3.0 units of elective coursework (MOR-574a and MOR-574b).  In this program second year student coaches hone their leadership skills, gain practical experience, and learn to provide structured feedback using concepts, mechanism, and management best practices while guided by the Business Communications and Organizational Behavior Core Faculty. At the same time, through this coaching, first year core teams become more high-functioning and collaborative while each team member becomes more high-performing, flexible and open to complexity.

Independent Projects 

Upon completion of the core curriculum, second year MBA students in good standing may apply to complete an independent research project. The independent project option allows students to pursue research in specific areas of interest that may not be covered in other course offerings. Independent projects include Field Research in Business, Independent Research in Business, Research Practicum in Business and Consulting Project in Business. Students working on independent projects work one-on-one with their supervising faculty member to design and execute their research plan.