Megan Beatrice Rucker
“Extreme extrovert, ambitious, forever optimist, political junkie, feminist, must-love-dogs.”
Hometown: Newport Beach, California
Fun Fact About Yourself: I love to bake but I’m really terrible with certain recipes. Every time I make an apple pie the bottom is soggy. However, I make an incredible chocolate chip bread pudding.
Undergraduate School and Major: Tulane University, Majors: Psychology and Spanish, Minor: Political Science
Most Recent Employer and Job Title: Institute for Applied Network Security (IANS), Account Manager
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? There were a few key aspects that drew me to Marshall. USC is the first business school to achieve gender parity. As a woman in the workplace, I wanted to have a community of ambitious and strong women. Marshall also has a global mindset and an incredible alumni network for someone who desires to stay in Los Angeles. In addition, developing the fundamentals is something that USC focuses on – something that I was looking for specifically since I come from a nontraditional business background. I want to develop a more sophisticated understanding of fundamental business concepts and have the vocabulary to communicate that understanding.
What club or activity excites you most at this school? I’m one of the Community AVP’s for MGSA (Marshall Graduate Student Government) and it’s an opportunity I’m thrilled about. COVID has curtailed the in-person experience in a way that is completely out of the control of both the students and the administration. I’m honored that I get to be a part of making sure that our class is still bonding and building a community of which were proud.
What was your first impression of USC Marshall? How has that changed or been reinforced since then? My first real impression of Marshall was during the USC Marshall Women’s Forum. We had a mock classroom experience and I was able to meet some of my future classmates. Everyone was incredibly warm and welcoming and ambitious and I was immediately enthusiastic about joining the Trojan family. Since starting this August, this has only been reinforced. I know that the administration has had a lot on their plates because of COVID. However, they have been working tirelessly to try to make the transition to online classes as smooth as possible. Over the summer, they had online networking sessions in order for us to get to know one-another, and have been holding small groups sessions in order to garner feedback on how they can make improvements so that this year can be as successful as possible. The second year students have also been incredible and I cannot thank them enough for embracing us and showing us the ropes.
Describe your biggest accomplishment in your career so far: Working in the nonprofit world was an extremely rewarding part of my career. Fundraising is difficult work, very similar to sales. However, instead of receiving a good or service, donors must be motivated by solely altruistic benefits. My biggest accomplishment thus far would probably be the $1 million donation I acquired while working at the Academy Museum of Motion Pictures. After 9 months of discussions, it was exciting to finally close on a deal that would make a such big difference to the local community, especially children interested in the arts.
What led you to pursue an MBA at this point in your career? A hallmark of my professional life has been social involvement—pushing for changes when I see opportunities—whether it’s developing an onboarding plan for exasperated new hires, advocating for overworked employees who needed flex-time, or simply raising funds for worthy causes. However, I felt that there was something missing that would allow me to make larger contributions. I knew that Marshall would allow me to obtain the network, knowledge and skills necessary to be a more visible and confident contributor to my next organization.
What was the most challenging question you were asked during the admissions process? I was fairly prepared for the basic interview questions and am quite extroverted, so I really enjoyed interviewing in-person. What I was intimated by most were the prerecorded on-camera questions. It’s hard to evoke the proper amount of emotion or get subtle feedback clues when you’re not in front of a person.
How did you determine your fit at various schools? Location was a big factor in where I decided to go to school. I already have a network in the Los Angeles area, my family is here, and it’s where I want to continue creating my community post-MBA. Culture was also a really important factor. Everyone I spoke with at Marshall focused on this idea of the “Trojan family” and it’s something I’ve experienced over and over since starting this year.
What was your defining moment and how did it prepare you for business school? Working at a small startup means that you have to play a lot of roles. As our small team expanded, I was given responsibilities I was not expecting and I quickly had to change my mindset from team player to active leader. I had to onboard new team members, train them on compliance, and advocate for my team to executive leadership. I realized that I truly enjoyed this new role that I had stumbled into and that I had the potential to become a strong and adaptive leader. This translated into having the confidence to pursue an MBA and to become a vocal member of my class.
What is your favorite company and what could business students learn from them? A favorite company of mine is actually one that I worked for: Aspiration. It’s a financial technology start up focused on getting people to trust the finance industry again. They live by their motto “do well, do good.” With a focus on sustainability and helping their clients both make money and spend responsibly, they allow clients to make the world a better place for both them and their communities. Clients are able to “spend, save and invest with a conscience.”
Picture yourself in two years graduating from business school. Looking back, how would you know your experience has been a success? If I am able to make lasting connections with kind and ambitious people who support one another and create spaces and opportunities for a wide range of people, I’ll know that I’ve been successful.
DON’T MISS: MEET USC MARSHALL’S MBA CLASS OF 2022