Meet USC Marshall’s MBA Class Of 2021

Jeremiah Pearse 

University of Southern California’s Marshall School of Business

“People don’t care how much you know, until they know how much you care.”

Hometown: New York, NY

Fun Fact About Yourself: In 2013, I spent a month climbing in Nepal.

Undergraduate School and Major: Oberlin College, Economics

Most Recent Employer and Job Title: Captain, United States Marine Corps

Describe your biggest accomplishment in your career so far: As a junior officer, I ran a major training exercise that included up to 1,500 service members from the United States and foreign militaries. I advised leaders with over 20 years of experience how to conduct military operations in mountainous and arctic environments. It was a completely different role than I had performed before, but I was able to use my prior knowledge of mountaineering and skiing to complement my military experience to develop and deliver a comprehensive training package.

What quality best describes the MBA classmates you’ve met so far and why? Collaboration.  One of the best parts of the military is the sense of shared community and purpose that service instills in you. Although our class is coming to this program with vastly different skills and experiences, I’ve been inspired by the care and effort my fellow students take to help each other succeed.

Aside from your classmates, what was the key factor that led you to choose this program for your full-time MBA and why was it so important to you? What really separated Marshall for me was the level of engagement I immediately experienced after I was accepted. The Marshall Military Veterans Association creates an environment that enables veterans to thrive at Marshall. Before I even stepped on campus, I had access to an amazing support network. As the Assistant Dean and Director of Graduate Career Services and a Navy veteran, Mark Brostoff is an excellent advocate for veterans within Marshall’s administration, and the career services team is experienced and proactive in helping veterans transition into the private sector.

What club or activity are you looking most forward to in business school? Although there are many options to choose from, I’m looking forward to participating in the Student Investment Fund (SIF) Program. SIF is a one-year experiential course that allows students to learn portfolio theory and manage a portion of USC’s endowment funds. SIF members work closely with faculty advisors, which is a wonderful opportunity to develop critical skills under the tutelage of exceptionally smart and experienced finance professionals.

What was the most challenging question you were asked during the admissions process? “Please describe a time when you failed through your personal actions, and what did you learn about yourself?”

What led you to pursue an MBA at this point in your career? Although I enjoyed my time in the military, I knew I had goals outside of the Marine Corps.  I am pursuing an MBA to develop the hard quantitative and analytical skills I need to complement the leadership, communication, and strategy skills I learned in the military.

What other MBA programs did you apply to? UC Berkeley Haas, UCLA Anderson, UW Foster, McDonough

How did you determine your fit at various schools? I wanted a school with a strong alumni network and commitment to service that invested heavily in innovation.  As I conducted research through school websites and secondary sources like Poets & Quants and Clear Admit, I prioritized schools with a collaborative learning environment and connections to social impact and entrepreneurship. I attended online information sessions and contacted students from both military and non-military backgrounds to gain a more complete understanding of each school’s culture.

What was your defining moment and how did it shape who you are? The first time I stood in front of my platoon as their commander, I realized I was truly responsible for the lives and well-being of the people I led.  Understanding that responsibility is what drives me to improve myself to try to be worthy of the trust they had in me.

Where do you see yourself in ten years? I see myself in a leadership role for a company that evaluates performance with the “triple bottom line.” I want to be in a position to make a measurable impact on an industry I care about, and on the community as a whole.

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