Meet the MBA Class of 2022: April Banayan, USC (Marshall)

April Banayan

University of Southern California, Marshall School of Business

From the Operating Room to the Board Room: Optimist, Scientist, and Travel Enthusiast.”

Hometown: Los Angeles, CA

Fun Fact About Yourself: I’m a novice Sommelier and have been to over 300 wineries. My parents own a wine shop that opened a few years before I was born. When I was younger, my sister and I spent family vacations being dragged from vineyard to vineyard unable to taste. Instead we spent our days learning about the artistry and science behind winemaking.

Undergraduate School and Major: B.S. Health Promotion and Disease Prevention, M.S. Global Medicine, Current dual MD/MBA student all at the University of Southern California

Most Recent Employer and Job Title: Medical Student at the Keck School of Medicine USC

Aside from your classmates, what was the key part of the school’s MBA programming that led you to choose this business school and why was it so important to you? After spending the last 7 years at USC, I have seen first-hand the immense impact and reach of the Trojan Family. There is a reason it is called a family rather than a network. Trojans do more than have a professional obligation to their alumni, they look out for each other. Some of the greatest connections I’ve made started from hearing “Fight on!” while donning a USC sweater.

What club or activity excites you most at this school? I am most excited by GWiB, Graduate Women in Business, at Marshall. As a Forte school and the first business school to reach gender parity, Marshall demonstrates its commitment to supporting women. Being in two traditionally male-dominated fields, it’s integral to have female role models. GWiB connects women with alumni to make that a reality. In addition, I am excited to serve as Senator for Graduate Student Government and represent my classmates to the greater university body.

What was your first impression of USC Marshall? How has that changed or been reinforced since then? Interviewing at Marshall while concurrently enrolled at USC, I heard constant praise of the esteemed faculty. As someone with limited business experience, it was important to be in a program that teaches fundamentals. I’ve been impressed by the professors’ experiences in their respective fields. Even through a screen, they teach and elevate all students despite varying levels of experience with the subject.

Describe your biggest accomplishment in your career so far: As Finance Director of the Student Run Clinic, I recognized we were uniquely positioned to create a lasting impact on the community. The clinic transitioned from a campus club to a funded division under the Department of Family Medicine. Through surveying the clinics’ patient population, establishing wait times, and creating a needs assessment, we created a compelling case for a new mobile clinic to serve the unsheltered homeless population. The mobile clinic created value by increasing student learning and patient access while decreasing readmission by 9.5% at LAC+USC hospital.

What led you to pursue an MBA at this point in your career? While pursuing one’s M.D., the decision to take on extra schooling is difficult. I am fortunate to have incredible mentors both with and without MBAs. Every physician with the dual degree emphasizes the uniqueness of speaking both the language of healthcare and of business. I aspire to take medicine and business from competing interests to aligned entities.

What was the most challenging question you were asked during the admissions process? If you were not in your current field, what field would you choose to work in?

How did you determine your fit at various schools? Through my experiences, I learned you thrive where you are happiest and most supported. For me, a great culture fit, welcoming student body, and supportive faculty and alumni were key when deciding where I would be the most successful. While researching a school online is important, I’ve found that is no replacement for speaking directly to current and past students to understand the true culture and environment.

What was your defining moment and how did it prepare you for business school? Through my master’s degree in Global Medicine, I traveled and collaborated with a culturally and professionally diverse group of people. Most memorably, I learned from UN, UNICEF, and WHO leadership. They showed me that with perseverance and cultural competence one person’s vision can shape the lives of many.

What is your favorite company and what could business students learn from them? Having worked within a myriad of hospital systems, Kaiser Permanente stands out as they continuously innovate while addressing cost constraints and quality metrics. Through strategically placing themselves as both the payer and provider, they can make daily operational changes based on aggregate data.

Picture yourself in two years graduating from business school. Looking back, how would you know your experience has been a success? Memories, lasting connections, and a wealth of knowledge.



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