Meet USC Marshall’s MBA Class Of 2021

Manya Agarwal 

University of Southern California’s Marshall School of Business

“I’m an aspiring overachiever and a finance professional interested in learning absolutely everything!”

Hometown: Pune, Maharashtra (India)

Fun Fact About Yourself: I’ve been told that I have a “unique” sense of humor and I’m sure my classmates have already had a double-dose of it!

Undergraduate School and Major: BA (Hons) Accounting and Finance at University of Exeter

Most Recent Employer and Job Title: Alvarez & Marsal: Analyst in Corporate Solutions Group, Transaction Advisory Group

Describe your biggest accomplishment in your career so far: I became one of the best networkers at my company in India, overcoming my childhood introversion.

What quality best describes the MBA classmates you’ve met so far and why? My classmates are some of the most interesting people I have ever met, and I feel this after just 10 days!

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? The key factor is Marshall’s network is so ready to connect. This is the most consistent aspect I heard while applying, and I’m already experiencing it right from the start.

What club or activity are you looking most forward to in business school? The Finance Association, largely because that’s the field I’m really interested in. My aim is to help us increase investment banking intake in 2021!

What was the most challenging question you were asked during the admissions process? I admit that, while I had practiced my answer, I still found it challenging when my interviewer asked me to tell him about myself. It was hard condensing all the things that define me into a brief answer. I also admit I suffer from word vomit! That’s a thing being at Marshall is already helping me overcome.

What led you to pursue an MBA at this point in your career? I wanted to make a transition in my career from Transaction Advisory into Investment Banking – the next stage in the transaction cycle. This is where the deal happens, and I want to be a part of negotiations.

What other MBA programs did you apply to? I applied to Columbia Business School, Georgetown McDonough, Duke Fuqua, and Michigan Ross.

How did you determine your fit at various schools? Key considerations for me were course customization, location, class industry diversity, and intensity of competition (healthy or debilitative). I realized that I was making a career pivot, and evaluated my school choice based on how well my school helped me realize it.

What was your defining moment and how did it shape who you are? I was gifted a self-help finance book when I was in high school. After reading it, I realized that finance was the way I could explore any business I wanted; it could help me be a part of all of the causes that I was passionate about like art, history, literature, music, and architecture.

Where do you see yourself in ten years? 10 years down the line, I see myself doing something I’m passionate about, which is learning everything I can about industries that I’m interested in while I’m helping facilitate financing for change-making industry players.

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