Meet the MBA Class of 2023: Will Thompson, USC (Marshall)

Will Thompson

USC, Marshall School of Business

“A curious and enthusiastic individual who always manifests positive energy and resilience.”

Hometown: Pasadena, CA

Fun Fact About Yourself: At William & Mary, I sang in an a cappella group all four years, and as business manager my senior year I helped produce our bi-annual full-length album.

Undergraduate School and Major: The College of William & Mary; History and Philosophy

Most Recent Employer and Job Title: EY; Senior Consultant

What word best describes the Marshall MBA students you’ve met so far and why? Galvanized. From the pre-orientation meetups to club events at the beach to in-person classes and study groups, the first and second years at Marshall are actively engaged and eager to return to campus (safely)!

What makes Los Angeles such a great place to earn an MBA? As the second largest market in the country, L.A. promotes a variety of industries: media/entertainment, technology (namely, Silicon Beach), finance, and consulting to name a few. The famed Trojan Network is the cherry on top that ties it all together and enables us students to grow and nurture our professional network in such an exciting professional backdrop.

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? Marshall walks the walk when it comes to international experiential learning opportunities. Participating in the Global Context of Business (PRIME) module will provide invaluable problem solving and consulting opportunities in a global setting, as first years will have the opportunity to engage with major corporations in countries that are increasingly pertinent players in the business landscape. I have the utmost faith in our administration to facilitate a fun and valuable experience, whether we conduct the module in person or remotely later this year.

What course, club or activity excites you the most at USC Marshall? I look forward to joining and supporting Marshall’s Challenge 4 Charity (C4C) Club the most because it will enable me to support local communities by leveraging my previous volunteering experience supporting children with disabilities. I can’t wait to collaborate with my peers in the program, as well as the Special Olympics, Junior Achievement, and Team Prime Time organizations!

Describe your biggest accomplishment in your career so far: During the pandemic, I spearheaded the redesign of a technological performance measurement framework for the Chief Information Officer (CIO) of a multi-billion-dollar federal organization. Our automated dashboard solution cut the previous reporting cycle in half and doubled the number of key performance indicators measured. At the conclusion of the project, two IT executive stakeholders who I interviewed during the redesign subsequently hired me to serve as their Chief of Staff due to the success of the interview and project results.

How did COVID-19 change your perspective on your career and your life in general? Like that of many professionals, my work-life balance during COVID-19 decreased as deliverables and deadlines seemed to grow exponentially. However, I was very fortunate to receive flexible living accommodations – my parents allowed me to work from their home for a large portion of the pandemic. Spending this much time with my family made me count my blessings, and it reaffirmed my commitment to maintaining the personal relationships I hold dear.

What led you to pursue an MBA at this point and what do you hope to do after graduation? I want to leverage my existing agile software project management, finance, and cybersecurity skillsets to pivot from public to private sector client / customer support. After sharpening my business acumen at Marshall, I plan to pursue either a digital strategy role in consulting, or a product manager position within a large tech company.

What advice would you give to help potential applicants gain admission into USC Marshall’s MBA program? I would advise prospective students to seriously reflect on their personal goals and desired employer values before applying. In classes and career development meetings at Marshall, which start around the first week of August, you’ll continuously revisit these themes. So understanding your professional roadmap early will guide your recruiting process and hone your post-MBA strategy.


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