Meet USC Marshall’s MBA Class of 2017

Benjamin Drake

Benjamin Drake

University of Southern California (USC), Marshall School of Business

Hometown: Granville, OH

Undergraduate School and Major:

United States Air Force Academy – B.S. Behavioral Science

Gonzaga University – M.A.  Organizational Leadership

Employers and Job Titles since Graduation: Flight Commander, Nuclear Missile Operations – United States Air Force

Recalling your own experience, what advice do you have for applicants who are preparing for either the GMAT or the GRE? It is easy to get discouraged during test prep.  But every single aspect of the GMAT can be learned, from the actual quant concepts being tested to how to best set up your notebook. Start prepping early, figure out where you are weak, and work on it until you hit your target.

Based on your own selection process, what advice do you have for applicants who are trying to draw up a list of target schools to which to apply? Pay attention to where graduates from your target schools end up (geography, industry, and function). Not only does this provide pretty clear insight into what particular MBA programs focus on, but also where the alumni connections are the strongest.

What advice do you have for applicants in actually applying to a school, writing essays, doing admission interviews, and getting recommenders to write letters on your behalf? Every aspect of your application needs to come together to tell one coherent story. Your academic and professional experience, extracurriculars, recommendations, essays, and interview all need to scream, “I know where I’m going and an MBA from XYZ school is the next logical step in getting there.” This is code to the admissions folks for, “Don’t worry, I will get a (good) job after school and will be a strong Ambassador for your program.” P.S.  No one is going to hold you to the story you tell during the application process.

What led you to choose this program for your full-time MBA? The fervor of the Trojan network and my desire to live in California after school.

What would you ultimately like to achieve before you graduate? My MBA is a means to an end that will not be determined until I retire.  Therefore, there is no concrete measure of success during my time at Marshall.  This is a transformational experience that will shape the rest of my career, so before moving on I would like to be comfortable with the trajectory I am on.

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