2019 Best & Brightest MBAs: Jasmine Hagans, USC (Marshall)

Jasmine Hagans

University of Southern California, Marshall School of Business

Queer futurist who believes technology can improve business as well as humanity.”

Hometown: Boston, MA

Fun fact about yourself: My first job was playing marching snare and bass drums in the band at Sesame Place, a Sesame Street-themed water park outside of Philadelphia.

Undergraduate School and Degree: Northeastern University – B.S. Music with a concentration in Music Industry and minors in History, Urban Studies, and Business Administration

Where was the last place you worked before enrolling in business school? Curator of Lectures, Courses, and Concerts – Museum of Fine Arts, Boston

Where did you intern during the summer of 2018? PwC – Los Angeles

Where will you be working after graduation? PwC – Senior Associate, Customer – Tech, Media, Telecom group

Community Work and Leadership Roles in Business School:


  • President, Marshall Pride
  • VP Diversity and Inclusion, Marshall Energy & Resources Club
  • Ambassador, Marshall Ambassadors
  • Co-lead, ABAC-USC Marshall Research Team

Community Work:

  • Challenge 4 Charity


  • Full-Time MBA Second Year Scholarship for Academic Achievement and Leadership

Which academic or extracurricular achievement are you most proud of during business school? I am most proud of my work as co-lead of the ABAC-USC Marshall Research Team. USC Marshall is the only top business school to present the findings of a year-long, real-world consulting project to the APEC Business Advisory Council (ABAC). Leading our elite 11-person research team expanded my knowledge, grew my global network, and expedited my leadership development. Our 157-page final report, “Realizing the Untapped Potential of MSMEs in APEC: Practical Recommendations for Cross-Border Trade,” summarizes our findings from across APEC of almost 600 in-person interviews with executives, entrepreneurs, and policy makers, and several hundred responses to a digital survey. We provided practical programs and policies to support women-led businesses, entrepreneurship, and small businesses across the business leaders, entrepreneurs, and policymakers of APEC’s 21 economies.

We presented our final report at the final ABAC meeting of 2018, in Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea. Seated around the table at our presentation were dozens of executives, financiers, and policymakers from across APEC. Our data-driven research was well received and has garnered international press, including the publication of an op-ed I wrote in the Los Angeles Business Journal. I am proud of our team’s impact during business school. We addressed one of the world’s most important issues by forming this high performing team, conducting professional-level research, and communicating our findings to a global audience. Leaning how to fail at research from our highly esteemed faculty advisor, Dr. Carl Voigt, taught us “what to do” by learning “what not to do.”

What achievement are you most proud of in your professional career? At the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, I led the effort to reconcile public protests around the Museum’s institutional racism and sexism. The protests began over issues with social media posts for a series of events called “Kimono Wednesdays.” In these posts, my well-intentioned colleagues exposed their unconscious bias and blind spots that had been propagated through art history. It was time to reconcile our current values with the historical ones. I led dozens of internal and external conversations with staff members, volunteers, visitors, academics, and the protestors to determine the best format to publicly discuss the issues and explore potential paths forward.

My efforts resulted in a successful public forum that brought together the public with the protestors, academics, media experts, and the Museum’s Director. At the end of the event, there was no consensus on the path forward, but the different participants and the public shared their honest perspectives in a respectful yet vulnerable way. From this, I proposed the institution’s first framework for diversity, inclusion, and equity. Leading these efforts encouraged me to acknowledge my own blind spots and unconscious biases, and to bravely ask the tough and necessary questions. These skills have served me well as President of Marshall Pride and as importantly, in class and my internship. I am not afraid to ask the uncomfortable questions, to pull up the rug and look at the dirt and figure out how to clean it up.

What was your favorite MBA Course? My favorite course was Alliances & Cooperative Strategy. We examined partnerships of various structures across industries and learned how to assess their success. The most elegant rule: Does 1 + 1 = 3? As in, does the partnership create more value than if the partners go at it alone? We saw how partnerships occur across power dynamics, cultural differences, and motivations. A great amount of learning occurred in the class’s group project – writing a case on a partnership and leading the class through a case discussion.

My biggest insight in the class was that teaching a class using the case method is hard! Through writing and communicating the case, I learned how to better structure storytelling in a business context to keep people engaged.

Why did you choose this business school? Culture, location, and global opportunities were my top three criteria for evaluating schools. I applied to USC Marshall for three reasons: a student and alumni culture that values collaborative ambition, the school’s location in LA that provides opportunities across all industries, and Marshall’s unparalleled opportunities for global experiences.

Now, nearing the end of my time at Marshall, I can say that my expectations have been exceeded for all three of my criteria. Through classwork, projects, and career recruiting, my network is now filled with inspiring people from diverse backgrounds. At club and recruiting events, I heard from people in tech, energy, entrepreneurship, finance, social impact, marketing, consulting, policy, and more. I will have traveled to eight countries, mostly on fully-funded trips. Marshall has enabled me to have experiences and gain the knowledge I couldn’t get anywhere else.

What is your best advice to an applicant hoping to get into your school’s MBA program? My biggest piece of advice is to first identify your own personal values and expectations from an MBA. Take an hour and write them down. Discuss them with friends and family to confirm them. Then, as you’re learning about programs and talking with current students and alumni, compare their values and experiences to what you want. If the two do not match, don’t go there! Even if they give you a full scholarship, you will have better professional and personal success if you go to a school that’s the best fit.

Think back two years ago. What is the one thing you wish you’d known before starting your MBA program? I wish I knew how much your GMAT/GRE score influences your scholarship package. I may have studied harder!

MBA Alumni often describe business school as transformative. Looking back over the past two years, how has business school been transformative for you? I came to business school to learn how to make better decisions. Through classroom and experiential learning, Marshall has transformed how I think. I am confident I can better address our world’s most pressing issues because of my MBA.

I’ve learned how to prioritize considerations, lead difficult conversations, build teams, and build compelling stories to convey my perspective. I built these skills by taking advantage of everything Marshall offers: case competitions, leadership opportunities in clubs, real-world consulting projects, solid course offerings, accessible faculty, and importantly, my incredible classmates.

Which MBA classmate do you most admire? I most admire Shreyas Kendurkar. On top of being intelligent, funny, and introspective, Shreyas is a killer musician! He’s my go-to bass player or vocalist when I want to play “Welcome to the Jungle.” Through his careers in music and tech, he’s learned how to handle success – and failure. I really look forward to having Shreyas’ cool ambition, musicality, and humor in my life after we graduate.

Who most influenced your decision to pursue business in college? Hilken Mancini and Nora Allen-Wiles run Girls Rock Campaign Boston, a non-profit that empowers women and girls through music education and performance with no prior experience necessary. As a camper and later as a volunteer, their holistic feminism inspired me to commit to having a bigger impact on the world. I realized my untapped potential and started thinking about how to solve our toughest problems. I realized technology is the biggest tool.

Looking around at the people donating to GRCB and my workplace at the time, the MFA, I saw many of them had MBAs and had used business to make their communities better. The camp’s empowerment inspired me to reach higher and go make my aspirations a reality. The incredible community associated with GRCB gave me the confidence I needed to take my eclectic background through the MBA application process and wring every drop out of my MBA experience that I could to pivot into a tech-focused career.

If I hadn’t gone to business school, I would be…working as a tour manager in the music industry.”

What dollar value would you place on your MBA education? Was it worth what you paid for it – worth more or worth less? $130,493,423,752,234,235,785.67

Totally worth what I’ve paid for it! My MBA has enabled me to pivot into a career that feels like a better fit than anything I could have imagined without it. My leadership, emotional intelligence, and collaborative skills have also been increased, enabling me to work on more diverse teams to solve the toughest problems.

What are the top two items on your bucket list? I’m looking forward to doing a week-long silent meditation retreat – which I’ll do in May! And to living and working abroad again. My experience living in Seoul for a year was incredible and I can’t wait to again experience another place in such a deep way.

In one sentence, how would you like your peers to remember you? A leader I’d like to join as we solve the tough problems for business and society.

Hobbies? Playing metal and rock drums, reading sci-fi fiction, LEGOs, baking cookies, RuPaul’s Drag Race, hiking

What made Jasmine such an invaluable addition to the Class of 2019?

“Jasmine’s leadership of Marshall PRIDE and her collaborative approach with other affinity clubs offered our students a greater appreciation to the workplace transition challenges faced by LGBTQ graduates and more importantly, opened the door for deeper conversations about employment diversity and inclusion. Her enthusiasm and confidence helped to prepare her peers prior to 2018 Reaching OUT conference.”

Mark J. Brostoff

Assistant Dean & Director

Graduate Career Services



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