Meet the MBA Class of 2023: Deonta’ Plase, USC (Marshall)

Deonta’ Plase

USC, Marshall School of Business

“A creatively curious music lover and gym connoisseur on the pursuit of happiness.”

Hometown: Chicago, IL

Fun Fact About Yourself: I was once an “extra” on the set of Real Housewives of Atlanta.

Undergraduate School and Major: Morehouse College – Business Management

Most Recent Employer and Job Title: Deloitte Services, LP (In-House Marketing Agency – Green Dot Agency) – Lead Integrated Campaign Strategist

What word best describes the Marshall MBA students you’ve met so far and why? Ambitious – Everyone that I’ve interacted with is excited about this two-year journey at USC Marshall and hopeful for the future. The energy in our classes has been electric and it feels good to be in-person and on campus.

What makes Los Angeles such a great place to earn an MBA? Los Angeles truly has something for everyone. While most people only associate LA with entertainment, the city is much more diverse and has opportunities in nearly all industries. Aside from the job opportunities, it’s extremely hard to beat the consistently good weather and tacos.

Aside from your classmates and location, what was the key part of USC Marshall’s MBA programming that led you to choose this business school and why was it so important to you? Through the USC Marshall Certificate Program, students can pursue various specialized certificates by enrolling in a concentrated curriculum. I look forward to partnering with the USC School of Cinematic Arts to pursue a certificate in the Business of Entertainment.

What course, club or activity excites you the most at USC Marshall? I’m extremely excited about the research coming from Dr. Shaun Harper and the USC Race and Equity Center. The many events of 2020 shed an interesting light on race relations in the US and it is imperative that future business leaders are better prepared to respond.

Describe your biggest accomplishment in your career so far: My involvement in DEI recruitment activities while at Deloitte was always special to me. Being able to speak to prospective hires and help them along their interview journey was extremely rewarding. I especially loved being a part of Deloitte’s strong relationship with Management Leadership for Tomorrow (MLT).

How did COVID-19 change your perspective on your career and your life in general? COVID-19 slowed down the entire world and forced us all to sit and reflect. It reminded me that life is precious, and tomorrow is not promised. It also reinforced that we owe it to ourselves to spend our lives doing things that we love and keep us energized. As such, COVID-19 led me to apply to business school.

What led you to pursue an MBA at this point and what do you hope to do after graduation? I spent my entire post-undergrad career at Deloitte, and I was ready to shake things up a bit. The craziness of 2020 (COVID, George Floyd killing, etc.) forced me to reflect on my life and think about the experiences that I wanted. I’ve always considered pursuing an MBA and living in Los Angeles was on my to-do list. Fortunately, attending USC Marshall allows me to do both. I plan to pursue a career in Brand Marketing within the Sports, Entertainment, and/or Tech industry.

What other MBA programs did you apply to? UCLA Anderson

What advice would you give to help potential applicants gain admission into USC Marshall’s MBA program? Make sure to understand why you need an MBA and how Marshall can help. Remember to stay true to you by bringing your authentic self into your application essays and interviews. This might be considered cliché, but it will be your key to getting into most programs.


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