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How To Approach USC Marshall’s MBA Essays

The University of Southern California’s Marshall School of Business is all about its Trojan community.

For MBAs, fit is one of the key aspects admissions officers look for in applicants.

“What matters most to us is our learning community and how, through collaboration, we grow and learn together to collectively strengthen the Trojan Family,” Assistant Dean and Director Evan Bouffides says.

Stacy Blackman, of Stacy Blackman Consulting, recently discussed how applicants can address Marshall’s essay prompts to highlight fit.

Essay 1

What is your specific, immediate short-term career goal upon completion of your MBA? Please include an intended position, function, and industry in your response.

Marshall’s first essay prompt asks about applicant goals. Blackman says it’s important for applicants to ensure that their resume complements and supports their essay.

“For example, if you are career switching, highlight any transferable skills in your resume,” she writes. “Another idea is to ask your recommenders to comment on your future plans. Further, as you craft all of these strategies, make sure you highlight how you will use your MBA to reach your goals.”

Essay 2

Please draft a letter that begins with “Dear Admissions Committee”

While the open-endedness of this prompt may appear challenging, Blackman says this essay is the perfect opportunity to go into detail about aspects you haven’t covered in other areas of your application.

“This essay is purposely open-ended,” she writes. “You are free to express yourself in whatever way you see fit. The goal is to have an appreciation for and an understanding of each candidate in ways that are not captured by test scores, grades, and resumes.”

This essay can also be an opportunity to align yourself to the virtues and characteristics of the Trojan community.

“Showing who you are as a person is important to your USC Marshall application,” Blackman writes. “Ideally, you can demonstrate that you understand the USC culture and values with your answer to this essay question.”

Sources: Stacy Blackman Consulting, Marshall School of Business

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