2016 Best MBAs: Jordan Selva, USC Marshall

Jordan Selva USC

Jordan Selva

University of Southern California, Marshall School of Business

“Jordan is a natural leader. He invests deeply in his team, and is always willing to go the extra mile to help anyone who needs his assistance or encouragement. But for as heavily involved as he is, he is also the calm center of the storm.”

Age: 28

Hometown: Newport Coast, California

Education: BS in Finance, Santa Clara University

Where did you work before enrolling in business school? Senior Strategic Analyst in Global Sales Development group at Oakley Inc.

Where did you intern during the summer of 2015? Altamont Capital Partners, Munich, Germany.

Where will you be working after graduation? Strategic Manager at Altamont Capital Partners in Irvine, California.

Community Work and Leadership Roles in Business School:


Leadership Positions

  • Assistant Vice President (AVP) of Young President’s Organization for the Entrepreneurial Venture and Management Association
  • AVP of Special Olympics for USC’s Challenge for Charity Club
  • AVP for the Marshall Outdoor Club.
  • AVP Marshall Sports Business Organization
  • Member of USC Men’s Chorus

Community Work

Volunteered 80 hours with Special Olympics, Junior Achievement, and A Better LA


Leadership Position: Co-Chair for USC’s Challenge for Charity Club (C4C)

  • Overseeing Special Olympics, Alumni fundraising gala, club finances, and data analytics
  • The USC Alumni Gala Raised $84,000 a 68% increase from previous year
  • Helped plan USC Marshall volunteering at 2015 Special Olympics World Games in which we had over 200 Marshall Full Time MBA complete over 600 hours of community service.
  • Raised $285,000 (most in C4C history), oversaw 9,000+(most in C4C history) hours of volunteer work
  • Recipient of President Obama’s Volunteer Service Award
  • Winner of the Challenge for Charity Golden Briefcase Award

Community Work

Volunteer 86 hours with Special Olympics, Junior Achievement, and A Better LA, and over 250 hours with other nonprofit organizations

Awards and Honors

  • Nominee for USC’s Order of Arête Award
  • Recipient of President Obama’s Volunteer Service Award (Club)
  • Winner of the Challenge for Charity Golden Briefcase Award (Club)

Which academic or extracurricular achievement are you most proud of during business school?  My most memorable and pride inducing experience during business school was my role in helping USC Challenge for Charity winning the Golden Briefcase Award for the 7th year in a row. The award itself is not paramount, it is what the award represents. Challenge for Charity is a 32 year 501(c)3 nonprofit organization which originated at Stanford University – it includes nine of the top west coast business schools: Stanford, UCLA, UC Berkeley, University of Washington, UC Davis, UC Irvine, Pepperdine, USF, and USC. The Golden Briefcase is awarded to the school that raises the most funds per capita, volunteers the most hours per capita, and all of this is concluded with a sports competition held at Stanford in which all schools compete in over 20 different sports. The Golden Briefcase is then awarded at the end of the weekend based on the winner across these categories.

This year was an unbelievable year for USC’s C4C club. We raised $284,000 for Special Olympics, Junior Achievement, and A Better LA, which is a 22% increase over funds raised the previous year and the most in C4C history. USC also averaged 22 hours of volunteering per student. This feat made me recognize the amazing students we have here at Marshall. Every student has so many other school and club commitments, and I was one of three Co-Chairs responsible for leading a Board of over 50 students who worked tirelessly to organize events and opportunities for our classmates to give back. At times, the tasks were daunting, and it was integral to keep morale and motivation high. My pride is in part due to the fact that giving back to the community is so ingrained in the Marshall culture; in part due to the realization that everyone I go to school with is laudable; and finally in being able to lead over 400 people to cast aside their own priorities to give back to people in need. The amount of leadership and social responsibility that was demonstrated through this entire year was a truly humbling experience. Winning the Golden Briefcase was the cherry on top and was proof that other schools recognized what I was able to see in our students.

What achievement are you most proud of in your professional career? The greatest achievement in my professional career was getting to run Oakley’s online training website OMatter.com during the 2012 London Olympics. OMatter.com is Oakley’s main training website. It has an active user group of 50,000 people across 73 countries and 8 languages. I was a Strategic Analyst when I was approached to run this website. The Olympics were Oakley’s most visible moment during 2012 with a coordinated marketing effort and investment of millions of dollars.

Strictly speaking, I should not have been responsible for any aspect of Oakley’s participation with the Olympics or run OMatter.com. Three months prior to the Olympics the employee responsible for this project announced a leave of absence for the final activation and management of the website during the month leading up to and throughout the Olympics. My boss approached me to take over the manager’s responsibilities, an opportunity I jumped on. I learned the backend of the website and oversaw the company hired to build it. I also supervised the international training managers who were in control of distributing the content to their respective countries; and upload daily media.

This 30-day experience was incredibly challenging and equally rewarding. This month ended up being the most successful in OMatter.com history with 2,559 visitors per day, an average time on site of 20:08 minutes and 987,301 minutes of training. These statistics blew away all set goals, an accomplishment that overcame a myriad of obstacles to become the highlight of my professional career.

Favorite MBA Courses?  Corporate Strategy with Professor Peer Fiss and Leading with Mindfulness with Professor Allen Weiss. These courses taught me to be reflective and deliberate when making both personal and professional decisions.

Why did you choose this business school?  I chose USC Marshall because it emulates a strong sense a community and collaboration, a rarity across MBA programs. I was also thoroughly impressed with the PRIME global trip – a capstone consulting project in which students travel internally in order to give a company presentation. It has been a priority of mine to focus on international strategy, and seeing Marshall’s international presence and network was a leading factor in my decision to attend this program. Marshall also does a great job of developing well rounded leaders, focusing on core soft skills that turn great managers into great leaders.

What did you enjoy most about business school?  The thing I enjoyed most about business school is seeing my classmates grow and developed into polished business professionals. Much of Marshall’s curriculum is focused on working well in groups and presentations. I have been absolutely blown away at how well my classmates are at presenting and how pleasant it is to work in groups together.

Running an umbrella organization at USC has also given me insight into how my classmates act outside of the classroom, which is almost more impressive. My classmates have stepped up to help the underserved population of South Central Los Angeles. All of us are very privileged to be getting out MBAs, and for so many people in my class to recognize that others are not as fortunate as we are has been is amazing to see. Watching my classmates transform from a sometimes precarious professional path to self-aware business professionals who are using their talents to teach underserved children in the LA area about personal finance and the importance of saving through programs like Junior Achievement made me appreciate the people I have met during this program.

What is the biggest lesson you gained from business school? My biggest lesson came from one of my classes Leading with Mindfulness. This class was centered around how to manage stress in the workplace. This class taught me how to manage stressful situations and people in a healthy way. My key takeaways were how to develop active listening, understanding another person’s viewpoint, and learning how to meditate. I will use these skills the rest of my life!

What was the most surprising thing about business school? The most surprising thing about business school was how diverse the backgrounds of all my classmates are; it is amazing to learn about the things they did prior to business school.

What’s your best advice to an applicant to your school? The best advice I would have would be to be yourself and to be ready to get out of your comfort zone. Marshall will push you to be the best version of yourself, but you will only get as much out of it as you put in. Dive in head first!

I knew I wanted to go to business school when…I was in middle school.”

If I hadn’t gone to business school, I would be…working as an analyst at Oakley.”

What are your long-term professional goals? Long term, I would like to found and run my own outdoor sports company. I have found that when I align my work with my passions I am the best version of myself and my professional output reflects this. Having a company that promotes an active lifestyle has been a lifelong dream of mine.

Who would you most want to thank for your success? There are three people: my dad, mom, and grandpa.

My Dad has always been a role model to me. His parents immigrated to the United States from Nicaragua. He was able to attend USC undergrad and get his MBA at UCLA. From his humble beginnings, he has risen to become CEO of a multibillion dollar real estate company. Through all his success he has always managed to keep family first. My dad is the type of person who can make a connection with anyone regardless of background and hierarchy. He instilled faith and the value of hard work to all of his children and helped mold me into the person I am today.

My mom is the rock and spiritual leader in my family. She is the moral compass whenever an issue or doubt arises. She is the most compassionate and caring person that I have ever known.

My Grandpa served in WWII and lived through the great depression, yet he was the most positive person I have ever known. His internal drive was amazing to see, even into his eighties he would get up early every day to exercise in order to stay healthy. Nothing could ever be wrong in his eyes; he was always able to put a positive spin on any situation. He also loved my grandmother with every ounce of his being and it was amazing to have grandparents married for 60 years. He and my grandma were the first ones to take me on an international trip, which sparked my love for traveling. He is deeply missed by the family, but is always in our hearts.

Fun fact about yourself: I had both a music scholarship (singing) and baseball scholarship for my undergraduate studies.

Favorite book: Game of Thrones Trilogy

Favorite movie: Shawshank Redemption

Favorite musical performer: Fleetwood Mac

Favorite television show: Peaky Blinders

Favorite vacation spot: Koh Phi Phi, Thailand

Hobbies? Snowboarding, rock climbing, and travelling

“Jordan is a natural leader. He invests deeply in his team, and is always willing to go the extra mile to help anyone who needs his assistance or encouragement. But for as heavily involved as he is, he is also the calm center of the storm. His classmates will tell you that Jordan is smart, genuine and that he inspires their confidence. I have to agree with them.“ — Suh-Ping Ku. Professor of Clinical Finance and Vice Dean of Graduate Programs, USC, Marshall School of Business