Meet the USC Marshall MBA Class of 2018

Valerie (Claire) Jadulang

University of Southern California, Marshall School of Business

Describe yourself in 15 words or less: A high school teacher turned martial arts instructor, who bakes a mean chocolate chip cookie.

Hometown: Huntington Beach, CA

Fun Fact About Yourself: I’m a classically-trained soprano. I’ve sung for 16 years, and my favorite performance to date was in a choir of 900 singers, with the Los Angeles Philharmonic and the Simón Bolívar Symphony Orchestra, under Gustavo Dudamel. 

Undergraduate School and Major:

University of California, Los Angeles

Major in English, with a minor in Public Policy

Employers and Job Titles Since Graduation:

Green Dot Public Schools, Development Operations Manager

Teach for America, Corps Member

Bridgeport Public Schools, English Teacher

Describe your biggest accomplishment in your career so far: My biggest accomplishment so far was launching a $14M federal grant to build 20 public schools in underserved communities. Two years ago, my former employer won the largest grant in its history. It was my job to make sure we executed it correctly, but due to legal technicalities, we almost lost the money before we began. I led a cross-functional team to negotiate with the federal government, eventually proving that we had legal right to the grant award. After six months of negotiations, we launched the grant and gave transformative educations to 3000+ students during my time there.

Looking back on your experience, what advice would you give to future business school applicants? My best advice is to enter the application process knowing that graduate schools want you as much as you want them. As applicants, we spend too much time worried that our dream schools will reject us; we forget that those same schools are just as worried that their dream prospective students will reject them. So every time you tackle an admissions essay or interview, focus on the fact that the admissions officer is looking for reasons why you’re a good fit for their school—rather than for reasons you aren’t. In my experience, it helped build my confidence by stripping away the stress that can make it difficult to shine.

What led you to choose this program for your full-time MBA? I chose USC Marshall because I wanted to be a part of a collaborative, ambitious culture. Looking for a school that focused as much on pushing its students as it did on building a community to support them, USC Marshall was the best fit from Day One. The Trojan Family is real, and USC Marshall shows it from the first time you visit campus, until you graduate, and even in the years beyond when you’re an alum. Plus, it’s hard to beat Los Angeles.

Tell us about your dream job or dream employer at this point in your life? My dream job is one where I’m constantly learning, working for an employer that’s as invested in the quality of work we produce as it is in my own professional development. Since returning to school, I cannot imagine a life where I’m no longer developing at such an incredible pace. This means I’m excited by the prospect of working on great teams to wrestle tough, ambiguous problems, where innovation and practicality meet to find the best possible solutions. Finding that kind of work on in driven, collegial culture—where I can explore both growth and results—is the absolute dream.

What would you like your business school peers to say about you after you graduate from this program?  I would like my business school peers to say that I was as good of a leader as I was a team player. I came to business school to develop more confidence in my leadership, but I’ve come to realize that confidence can be sometimes overbearing. At the end of the day, the results of my growth mean nothing if I’m not doing my best to support my team at school; so now I’m working on developing skills in different kinds of team roles, depending on what my team needs most at that time. As Trojans we strive to build a collaborative, ambitious community, and I want to be sure I both lead and follow with pride.

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