2020 MBAs To Watch: Detti Belina, USC (Marshall)

Detti Belina

USC, Marshall School of Business

I am a multi-cultural world traveler who loves nature, learning, and spirituality.”

Hometown: Addis Ababa, Ethiopia and Silver Spring, MD

Fun fact about yourself: I just learned to swim and surf while getting my MBA.

Undergraduate School and Degree:

Duke University: B.S. Evolutionary Anthropology minors in Chemistry and Biology

Keck School of Medicine: M.D. and M.P.H. c/o 2021

Where was the last place you worked before enrolling in business school?

Company: Impactivo Consulting in San Juan, Puerto Rico

Role: Healthcare Analyst

Where did you intern during the summer of 2018? I did not intern as I was continuing M.D. and M.P.H. coursework.

Where will you be working after graduation? I will be attending a medical residency immediately post-graduation. I will likely pursue roles in healthcare management and leadership post-residency.

Community Work and Leadership Roles in Business School:

  • Marshall Leadership Fellowship Program: Leading and coaching first-year M.B.A. students through the core team experience.
  • Brittingham Social Enterprise Fellow: Personal and professional development geared towards pursuing a career in the social impact sector.
  • First-year Diversity and Inclusion Representative: Curating an atmosphere of inclusiveness through workshops and advocacy.


  • Fellow of The Consortium for Graduate Student Management.
  • Represented USC Marshall at National Black MBA Case Competition in 2019.
  • Representing USC at the World Health Summit in Berlin, Germany in November 2019.

Which academic or extracurricular achievement are you most proud of during business school? I’m most proud of representing our school as a representative of Diversity and Inclusion. This was an honor as I learned a lot about community engagement, inclusiveness on graduate school campuses, and retention of a diverse body of students and faculty. I learned how to advocate for sensitive topics in a way that honors all students and faculty in our journeys to creating a more equitable and inclusive graduate school experience.

What achievement are you most proud of in your professional career? I’m most proud of the work during my first three years of medical school as the founder of a student group called Social Justice in Medicine. I advocated for curricular changes to reflect the health disparities of our affiliated public hospital, LAC/USC, and our surrounding community of predominately low-income immigrant residents. Through forming close relationships with administrators and relaying student feedback to curriculum faculty, we worked with the administration to formulate a 5-year curriculum revamp process to include an emphasis on health justice as well as the hiring of a full-time dean of social justice and inclusion.

Who was your favorite MBA professor? My favorite MBA professor is Peer Fiss who taught me two strategy courses. I love the way he engages the classroom, asks provocative questions, and creates a humorous debate about the cases. Everyone is practically jumping out of their seats to speak and it’s impossible to drift off because the conversations are so interesting.

What was your favorite MBA event or tradition at your business school? I love our school’s International Mixer held annually. This event features foods and drinks from all the different countries of origin of our students, both domestic and international. I served Ethiopian food at the event to reflect my origin. This event demonstrates our school’s commitment to celebrating the diversity of our student body. It was really special to share my food and customs with all my classmates in a formal event.

Why did you choose this business school? I chose to attend USC Marshall for several reasons. For one, I knew that it was a Consortium school and it was committed to diversity and inclusion, something that’s really important to me. I also loved that they had invested in building the Brittingham Social Enterprise Lab, an office which I had known about before applying to business school. This demonstrated a commitment to thinking outside of the box to solving pressing social issues. Lastly, its close connection with other prominent USC graduate schools such as the Price School of Public Policy. Marshall’s location in beautiful Southern California helped too.

What is your best advice to an applicant hoping to get into your school’s MBA program? I would recommend that they focus on their distinct interests and passions in any field of their interest. Our student body is incredibly diverse in terms of background and interests, whether it be in music or law or sports. Showing that you have a dedication to learning, exploring and creativity will give you major bonus points.

What is the biggest myth about your school? USC, as a whole, is sometimes referred to as the University of Spoiled Children because of a lot of the wealthy students who attend the school, primarily in undergraduate schools. However, as someone from a lower-middle-income background, I found the school incredibly welcoming and inclusive especially in comparison to my alma matter.

Looking back over your MBA experience, what is the one thing you’d do differently and why? I would be more involved in the Healthcare Leadership Association. I went into business school hoping to learn a completely different way of thinking relative to medical school and the school of public health. Thus, I avoided healthcare-related clubs to focus on ones geared towards general business and leadership skills relevant to a career in social impact. Despite appreciating all that I’ve learned, I now am interested in learning how to apply these new skills to the healthcare field.

Which MBA classmate do you most admire? I admire Olivia LaViolette, whom I got to know through our courses and also through the fellowship program with the Brittingham Social Enterprise Lab. I admire her for her approach to navigating the business school experience. Despite her background in non-profit work, she jumped into business school eager to participate in as many case competitions, groups, and experiences as possible that would challenge her worldview and framework for her career. As someone with similar interests, I learned how to address my biases and be open-minded regarding my future career.

Who most influenced your decision to pursue business in college? My boss at Impactive Consulting in San Juan, Puerto Rico inspired me to go to business school. I worked very closely with her on small-scale healthcare consulting projects for low-income non-profit clinics on the Caribbean island. She showed me the immense value of her MBA in delivering high-quality, affordable health services to low-income residents all over the island.

What are the top two items on your professional bucket list? I’d like to work on a project with the World Health Organization (WHO) in my home country, Ethiopia. I’d also like to design my own community health center in Los Angeles near predominately Ethiopian and Black communities near Mid-City and Inglewood.

In one sentence, how would you like your peers to remember you? I’d like to be remembered as a fun-loving yet inspiring creative whose personal and professional life/passions have little boundaries.

Hobbies? Swimming, Surfing, Running, Traveling, and Hiking.

What made Detti such an invaluable addition to the Class of 2020?

“Detti brings a dedication to service and spirit of continuous improvement to our community. From his passion for global health to his MBA leadership roles in diversity & inclusion and mentoring first-year study teams, Detti quietly demonstrates his consistent willingness to lead by example. I also admire Detti’s capacity for actively engaging in two of USC’s largest student communities – Marshall School of Business and Keck School of Medicine.”

Janella Chiang
Academic Services Manager
Full-Time MBA Program


Questions about this article? Email us or leave a comment below.