Meet the MBA Class of 2024: Cody Wei, USC (Marshall)

Cody Wei

University of Southern California, Marshall School of Business

“I am outgoing, generous and ambitious and will do anything for the people I love.”

Hometown: Tampa, Florida

Fun Fact About Yourself: I started swimming at the age of 4 and I received the Florida Junior Olympics highpoint award for swimming when I was 12 years old. My favorite event was the 200-yard individual medley.

Undergraduate School and Major: University of California Los Angeles – Integrated Biology and Physiology

Most Recent Employer and Job Title: Pfizer – Sr. Clinical Data Manager

What has been your first impression of the Marshall MBA students and alumni you’ve met so far. Tell us your best Marshall story so far. Marshall MBA students and alumni have been nothing but welcoming and supportive. When they say family, we really are a family. I’ve never felt closer to 200 plus people in such a short time. I’ve loved the smaller class sizes which has given a more personable experience.

I don’t really have one particular story, but a culmination of experiences with the people I have met so far come together to make it my best Marshall story. As I am writing this, we have only had school for about 3 weeks, but I can already tell you that I have made some friends for life.

What makes Los Angeles such a great place to earn an MBA? Los Angeles is the best city on Earth. It has something to offer everyone (unless you like bad weather then you definitely shouldn’t live here). Not only are you immersed in a city that is bursting with diversity and culture, you are also at the heart of almost every major industry. Plus, there are so many great restaurants – I can have any dish I want at any time of day. Lastly, growing up in Florida, I need to be close to the ocean and there are so many great beaches in LA. If beaches aren’t your jam, you can also hike in the mountains. Everything is at the reach of your fingertips.

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? My dream is to build my own biotechnology start-up, which requires a good education coupled with a strong network. Aside from being one of the top entrepreneurial programs, there is nothing stronger than USC’s Trojan Network. The Trojan network is worldwide, extending beyond just the Marshall School of Business into many other fields and industries. I have the ability to network with students and alumni, for example, at the Viterbi School of Engineering or USC Cinematic Arts.

What course, club or activity excites you the most at USC Marshall? What excites me most at USC Marshall is the fact that you can design all of your electives to pursue interests that are important and meaningful to you. For me, wanting to start a business in the life sciences and healthcare sector means brushing up on both my healthcare and business knowledge. Being able to take classes outside of Marshall in the Healthcare Decision Analysis program, combined with the venture initiation elective (Building Your Own Business), will prove integral to my career.

Most recently microeconomics for management has blown me away. I was pleasantly surprised to be so interested in microeconomics. It has been amazing to see all the ways that microeconomics can be applied to me and my future industry.

Describe your biggest accomplishment in your career so far: The biggest accomplishment in my career so far has been my work on the COVID-19 vaccine trial at Pfizer. I led the South American Clinical Research Organization team, managing data and developing data solutions for thousands of study participants in Brazil and Argentina. I was very proud of my work and it was amazing to be able to help so many people and lift economies around the world. Rarely do you get to see the direct impact of clinical trials in real-time. Clinical trials can be very slow and normally take years to complete. Because we were doing everything at hyper-speed, we were able to see our work translated into results very quickly. I will never forget the weekend where we reported our interim study results – on a Friday we reported our results and on Monday our CEO was on CNBC announcing the efficacy of our vaccine.

What is one thing you have recently read, watched, or listened to that you would highly recommend to prospective MBAs? Why? One book that I recently read right before starting business school was The Psychology of Money. Everyone is different because of their behaviors and personalities and it’s reflected in the way they think about money. Money in terms of business, finance or investing a lot of times is taught as math-based courses but fail to factor behavior into decision-making. The book is a series of short stories that teaches lessons about how people think and behave about money. What I took away from this book is to be conscious of your own behavior and improve it the best you can so that you are making the right decisions about money for you.

What advice would you give to help potential applicants gain admission into USC Marshall’s MBA program? No matter how unqualified you feel or how late you’re applying, you should always give it your best shot. Never sell yourself short. Be the best humble bragger that you can be. It’s all about balance. I ended up applying really late but the best piece of advice that I got was to go ahead and try. Your target school may be looking for someone just like you. What you might think is not that unique might be enthralling to someone else.


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