2018 MBAs To Watch: Vicken (Vic) Bekarian, USC (Marshall)

Vicken (Vic) Bekarian

USC, Marshall School of Business

Scientist and video game enthusiast, bringing loves for people, product, and play into everything.”

Age: 26

Hometown: Glendale, CA

Fun fact about yourself: My record in a typing test is 131 Words-Per-Minute, more than 3 times the average typist

Undergraduate School and Degree: University of California, San Diego – B.S. Aerospace Engineering

Where did you work before enrolling in business school? Project Engineer, Custom Control Sensors and Mechanical Design Engineer, Sierra Nevada Corporation – Space Systems Division

Where did you intern during the summer of 2017? Autodesk, San Francisco, CA

Where will you be working after graduation? Jam City, as an Associate Product Manager

Community Work and Leadership Roles in Business School:

Founder and President, Marshall Interactive Gaming Association

USC Marshall Student Ambassador

Which academic or extracurricular achievement are you most proud of during “business school? Coming together with equally passionate classmates to launch a first-of-its-kind organization that marries business with game development here at USC. I am incredibly proud of the support and experiences we have brought to the talented students making games at USC, but I am most proud of the shift we are creating in how business roles are perceived in the games industry.

What achievement are you most proud of in your professional career? At Sierra Nevada Corporation’s Space Systems Division, I designed components of the rocket motor that powers Virgin Galactic’s SpaceShipTwo. Components of my design will take passengers into the stratosphere when SpaceShipTwo begins commercial flight.

Who was your favorite MBA professor? Milan Miric, Assistant Professor of Data Science and Operations. Milan was able to distill the ambiguity of big data into layers of understanding, supported through relevant challenges and applications, in a way that inspired me to continue working with data not just analytically, but also strategically. He is also an incredibly fun person to nerd out with about data, education, and the evolution of technology.

What was your favorite MBA Course? Designing Spreadsheet-Based Business Models, with Professor Omeed Selbe. The biggest insight I gained from Omeed’s class was that, while not every problem can be broken down into math, my strengths as an analytically-inclined engineer empowers me to make better, more informed business decisions.

Why did you choose this business school? I chose USC Marshall because I have never presumed to be the smartest person in the room, nor felt I could be successful without the help of others.  Surrounding myself with a cohort of equally ambitious professionals was important for me, and knowing that USC’s culture is enriched with the same sense of collaborative ambition made Marshall the top choice for me.

What is your best piece advice to an applicant hoping to get into your school’s MBA program? Marshall’s four core values (Transformational Courage, Collaborative Ambition, Impactful Service, and Unwavering Integrity) are what we are looking for in our candidates as well. Show the courage to challenge yourself and accept change, recognize and embrace how your goals can help others achieve theirs, show your interest in making a real impact, and champion the virtues of honesty and empathy.

What is the biggest myth about your school? The biggest myth about USC Marshall is that our alumni network is as strong and supportive as a family. During my time at Marshall, this has been reinforced time and time again and inspired me to pay it forward (to current students) ahead of my own graduation.

What was your biggest regret in business school? Rarely extending beyond my own school’s MBA network to meet and learn from students in other MBA programs.

Which MBA classmate do you most admire? I admire my close friend and classmate, Sydney Adams, the most. Her ability to face adversity, learn quickly, and contextualize very challenging topics has inspired me to be more present, be a champion for others, and understand what it’s like to see life through someone else’s eyes.

Who most influenced your decision to pursue business in college? As an engineer at Sierra Nevada Corporation, my program manager excelled at motivating and managing the team by combining their knowledge and experience as engineers with the principles and practices they had gained through their MBA, making it a goal of mine to pursue the same combination.

If I hadn’t gone to business school, I would be…building and launching rockets somewhere, or studying education to become a teacher.”

If you were a dean for a day, what one thing would you change about the MBA experience? Create more opportunities for students to share their goals and their dreams with each other in order to help them realize the breadth of support that their new USC Marshall family could provide. 

What are the top two items on your bucket list? Assuming a bucket list of things to do, because they would be fun and exciting, and not for their greater impact to society:

  1. Surf the Pacific coast
  2. Learn Japanese

In one sentence, how would you like your peers to remember you? Someone who broke stereotypes of the typical “nerd.”

What is your favorite movie about business? The Intern, starring Anne Hathaway and Robert De Niro. An entertaining drama/comedy, the biggest lesson I gained from it was the value of each individual’s perspective and experience as it lends to diverse schools of thought.

What would your theme song be? “Riser” by Dierks Bentley

Favorite vacation spot: Downtown La Jolla in sunny San Diego

Hobbies? Playing (and introducing non-players to) video games, hosting movie nights and watch parties, and recording my podcast – The Business of Gaming

What made Vic such an invaluable addition to the class of 2018?

“During his time at Marshall, Vic Bekarian established himself as one of the true visionaries in the class and contributed directly to the formation of the Marshall Interactive Gaming Association. Through his efforts, Marshall was able to establish deeper recruiting relationships in the gaming technology ecosystem and more importantly, Vic opened the door for more than 25 of his classmates to engage in an unique, cross-campus relationship between the USC Viterbi School of Engineering GamePipe Laboratory and Marshall School of Business. This self-starter initiative expanded the opportunities for his classmates to share project management expertise to several gaming development teams by embedding themselves alongside computer science engineers, cinematic visual artists and game designers.  His resourcefulness will have a lasting impact on our ability to deliver to the marketplace MBAs ready to work for leading interactive gaming companies while also strengthening Marshall’s emphasis for experiential learning opportunities.”

Mark Brostoff

Assistant Dean and Director, Graduate Career Services

USC Marshall School of Business





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