Meet the MBA Class of 2022: Ray Campos, USC (Marshall)

Ray Campos

University of Southern California, Marshall School of Business

“I’m energized by meeting new people and sharing experiences…and also by fantasy football.”

Hometown: Whittier, CA

Fun Fact About Yourself: I’ve moved across country four different times since high school. These were practically coast-to-coast moves too, having completed a round trip from Los Angeles to North Carolina and then subsequent moves from San Francisco to New York City, and most recently back home to LA. It can be exhausting, but I’ve truly appreciated the diverse cultures and networks that I’ve been exposed to.

Undergraduate School and Major: University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Political Science

Most Recent Employer and Job Title: Biolumina (an Omnicom Health Group agency). Vice-President, Group Account Supervisor.

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? Marshall has established itself as a globally-focused program with an emphasis on experiential learning. The required PRIME course reflects this, and it’s an important reason why I chose to matriculate at the school. Although this year’s version may look differently due to COVID-19, I’m still really excited to see what’s in store and sharpen my international commerce skills. Globalization and advances in technology continue to make the world smaller and being able to work efficiently and appropriately with firms from countries and cultures all around the world will become increasingly pertinent.

What club or activity excites you most at this school? I’m most excited to engage with the Marshall Graduate Student Association and was fortunate enough to be selected as an AVP for Career Development for this school year. I wasn’t involved with student government in undergrad, but with the small, tight-knit community at Marshall and the clear support of the program office, I think it’s exciting to be able to represent the class and make meaningful change through the feedback of every student.

What was your first impression of USC Marshall? How has that changed or been reinforced since then? I thought it was very helpful and encouraging that the program office and second-year class arranged numerous pre-MBA informational sessions on different aspects of the program such as the academic calendar, career development resources, and professional clubs and other organizations. These were also great opportunities to network with admitted students, and actually put us ahead of schedule compared to classes from prior years despite the virtual aspect of our interaction due to COVID-19. It’s been clear since even before the semester that the student body and program office are collectively committed to ensuring that a vibrant and lasting community is built. They don’t call it the Trojan family for nothing!

Describe your biggest accomplishment in your career so far: I had the opportunity to represent my agency at an industry-leading healthcare tech conference last year. It was such a great opportunity to be able to network with industry leaders such as firm CMOs, startup founders, and other agency and third-party partners. Most importantly, I was able to distill the key presentation information and partnerships and present the information back to my entire agency for the benefit of our full client roster.

What led you to pursue an MBA at this point in your career?  I really enjoyed every bit of my past journey in the creative advertising industry. It took me to exciting markets across different firms with great mentors and growth opportunities. At this point in my career, I’d like to not only diversify my industry experience outside of just healthcare (where I specialized), but also gain more cross-functional skills. I felt MBA was a natural next step because of this.

What was the most challenging question you were asked during the admissions process? It was probably the question regarding what I wanted to do post-MBA and long term. The business school application process is notorious for asking this question, and I do think it’s good to challenge incoming students on what they want to do to help give them focus. Reality is, many students will change course as they begin to network with second years and classmates, get involved in the professional clubs, and take their core classes throughout the semester. For these reasons, it’s good to have a thoughtful and researched answer down for this question but don’t fret if you aren’t one hundred percent certain that it reflects what you want to do long term.

How did you determine your fit at various schools? I held informational interviews with current students and leveraged resources published by the schools (such as the program websites) and other online blogs and forums (like this website!) to get a better understanding of the culture, curriculum, club and case competition opportunities, and employment prospects. I would say that I prioritized culture and the employment reports evenly and more so than other resources and factors when trying to determine my best-fit school.

What was your defining moment and how did it prepare you for business school? I traveled for a multi-day industry conference last year. While I was there, I had the opportunity to really reflect on my employment and whether I wanted to continue in the space long term. Although it was a great professional development opportunity, I think that being in that kind of environment where you’re inundated by the energy of the industry really helped me to understand that I wanted more professional experience outside of the industry and potentially in a different function as well. This moment helped me drive my focus and set clearer goals and was one of the last determining factors in my decision to attend business school.

What is your favorite company and what could business students learn from them? Apple. I’ve been an avid Apple supporter for about 10 years now. I loved reading about the trials-and-tribulations (and obvious successes) of the company over time in Walter Isaacson’s Steve Jobs. I think business students can learn from Apple in that there will certainly be serious roadblocks to success throughout your professional journey. However, it is a relentless commitment to your mission and values – and truly understanding why you are doing something – that will help you persevere through the toughest of challenges.

Picture yourself in two years graduating from business school. Looking back, how would you know your experience has been a success? It will be a success if I can look around me and not only recognize every student in my class but also have an understanding of their professional goals and interests. Your business school network is really a big pool of friendships, so it’s paramount to take interest in every one of your classmates and build honest and meaningful relationships that will last. Coming from a creative industry, it would be great to finally be able to apply financial models to solve real world problems too!


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