Meet the MBA Class of 2023: Richard Mei, USC (Marshall)

Richard Mei

USC, Marshall School of Business

“A lifelong learner, whisky lover, and passionate but poor golfer.”

Hometown: Chiba, Japan

Fun Fact About Yourself: I have intense blink reflex. My optometrist gave up putting contacts in my eyes and suggested I stick to glasses.

Undergraduate School and Major: University of California, San Diego – Management Science

Most Recent Employer and Job Title: UCLA, Salesforce Administrator

What word best describes the Marshall MBA students you’ve met so far and why? Everyone is super engaging. Maybe because we were deprived of physical interaction due to the pandemic, but all the classmates I’ve met are just very interested to learn and know about you.

What makes Los Angeles such a great place to earn an MBA? It is just the abundance of opportunities. Obviously, people already know that LA is a hub for industries like entertainment, tech, or CPGs. What people don’t realize is that LA is so big and diverse that regardless of what you are interested in, you are likely to find and connect your passion to your career.

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? The Trojan Family. “Your network is your net worth” is a favorite quote of mine by Tim Sanders. While the 2 years I spend at business school will be invaluable, there is an entire life that I will be facing after graduating. Having a strong network that I can rely on then was a key factor for me when choosing business school.

What course, club or activity excites you the most at USC Marshall? I picked up golf slightly before the pandemic and have been passionately playing since then. So, I’m pretty excited to join and meet other golfers in the Marshall Golf Club. My current goal is to be able to constantly break 90.

Describe your biggest accomplishment in your career so far: I’m most proud of the challenge of building and supervising a data team with zero managerial experience. Through this experience, I have learned to develop relationships with team members individually and really came to witness that there is no one solution fits all to be a leader. I’m glad I got to experience this before coming to business school because now I know what I leadership qualities I lack and can look to improve on them in the best environment.

How did COVID-19 change your perspective on your career and your life in general? COVID-19 really made me think about what I value the most in my future career. As the boundary between work and my personal life became blurred, I had to rethink work-life balance and how much I’m willing to let the two overlap.

What led you to pursue an MBA at this point and what do you hope to do after graduation? In my past jobs, I had the opportunity to work with many MBAs. I’ve come to notice that all of them had a different mindset when approaching a problem and formulating a solution. Instead of just focusing on the now, they are considering the overall impact in the future. I wanted to possess the same mindset when I take on future leadership roles.

I’m hoping to leverage my technological background to pivot into the tech sector as a product manager. In my previous role, I often acted as the liaison between business unit and IT. As part of that, I needed to be able to look at things from both team’s perspective and suggest solutions that work for all. I believe I can translate my problem-solving experience and team-oriented mentality to the PM role.

What other MBA programs did you apply to? UW Foster & UCLA Anderson

What advice would you give to help potential applicants gain admission into USC Marshall’s MBA program? Don’t be discouraged to apply to business schools because of your backgrounds. Focus more on how you can connect the dots to what you are doing right now to what you want to be doing in the future even if they are completely different industries or functions. I was surprised to learn that about 70-80% of my cohort are career pivoters, but that didn’t stop us from applying for b-school and landing here at Marshall.


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