2022 MBA To Watch: Alganesh Tamyalew, USC (Marshall)

Alganesh Tamyalew

University of Southern California, Marshall School of Business

“I am a calm, punctual, organized, big picture thinker and dreamer.”

Hometown: Las Vegas, NV

Fun fact about yourself: I can do backwards speech- the ability to have a conversation pronouncing words phonetically in reverse

Undergraduate School and Degree: University of Nevada, Las Vegas- BSBA majoring in Marketing

Where was the last place you worked before enrolling in business school? Strategic Account Manager, Amazon

Where did you intern during the summer of 2021? Consulting Intern, EY Parthenon in Los Angeles

Where will you be working after graduation? Consultant, EY Parthenon in NYC

Community Work and Leadership Roles in Business School:

  • Forte Fellow
  • President, Black Graduate Business Leaders
  • Diversity & Inclusion representative, Marshall Graduate Student Association

Which academic or extracurricular achievement are you most proud of during business school? I am most proud or organizing and executing the 2022 FORWARD Summit Conference. USC Marshall’s Black Graduate Business Leaders and Latino Management & Business Association hosted a half-day DEI conference in the Metaverse, where we invited inspirational Black and Latinx business leaders as panelists. It took 9 months of planning. I probably spent more time and energy on this event than I did on my coursework, but the sense of relief, accomplishment, and elation upon event completion was immense. I learned a ton in the process about sponsorships, marketing, project management, and working in teams.

What achievement are you most proud of in your professional career? My answer is unconventional, but my proudest professional moment is having the courage to quit my job with no back up plan. I chose myself and my happiness over the less risky and more logical option of staying in a career that may have given me money and a great resume in the long run, but unhappiness nonetheless. That leap led me to business school and taught me a bigger lesson- when I trust my gut, things tend to fall into place.

Why did you choose this business school? It’s a cliché answer, but I chose it because of its infamous network. I initially intended to stay in Los Angeles long-term and knew that USC has a huge alumni presence here that is well connected. I was also interested in Entertainment when I first applied; Marshall’s Business of Entertainment concentration, along with USC’s notoriety in Entertainment, made it a no brainer that this was the school for me. I’ve since shifted my career interests away from Entertainment and Los Angeles, but the value I received here has remained the same nonetheless, connecting with a great network, and access to quality education and professors.

Who was your favorite MBA professor? Kirk Snyder: he’s awesome! He genuinely cares for his students, and his courses gave me space to pause and think about what careers fit with my intrinsic motivations and passions.

What was your favorite MBA event or tradition at your business school? 100 days Banquet- a formal event where we get to dress up in fancy outfits, sip on wine, and listen to our faculty and classmates get roasted.

Looking back over your MBA experience, what is the one thing you’d do differently and why? I placed unnecessary pressure on myself to do everything: maintaining a high GPA, recruiting for multiple industries despite knowing I was not committed to a few of them; being involved in clubs; and engaging in networking. There came a point of burnout where I needed to take a step back. I have no regrets. If I could redo my MBA experience, I would be more intentional with where I focused my energy.

What is the biggest myth about your school? My perception of USC before I came was that there would be an atmosphere of elitism and pretentiousness. I have found that the school is more diverse than I expected in terms of background, experience, and interests. I quickly felt comfortable with my peers and believe that anyone can find their place here.

What surprised you the most about business school? What has surprised me most is the amount of opportunity there is to get hands on experience and learnings outside of the classroom. I have met with several alumni and high-profile non-alumni who were open to connecting with me and provided nuggets that were invaluable. I have been involved in projects with both Marshall and non-Marshall USC students, from planning a music festival to creating a podcast. The knowledge I received from my classroom learnings allows me to be flexible in connecting with people from different backgrounds and there were always students willing to get involved in business or creative projects to gain hands on learning.

What is one thing you did during the application process that gave you an edge at the school you chose? I had already thought about the courses at USC I would want to take, the concentration and certificate I was interested in, international studying opportunities, and clubs I wanted leadership roles in. USC was my top choice school and I made sure to mention all the ways I planned to get involved if I were to be accepted. I provided this level of detail in my application, and I believe it showed my commitment to not just business school, but Marshall specifically.

Which MBA classmate do you most admire? The MBA classmate I most admire is Dongjin Hwang. During our first year when we were virtual, Dongjin was located in South Korea. Despite the time difference, he never missed a team meeting, deliverables, or engagement with our group. I don’t know how he did it, but I admire that level of dedication. Dongjin is an awesome teammate and friend.

Who most influenced your decision to pursue business in college? I played around with the idea of business school, but didn’t take it seriously until my sister suggested I apply. We are both getting our MBA and graduating May 2022, and it’s been interesting to go through this journey simultaneously and hear of our different experiences

What are the top two items on your professional bucket list?

(1) My dream is to launch my own venture and scale it to an international conglomerate employing hundreds of thousands.

(2) Invest earnings into scholarships for Black students seeking higher education, various philanthropic efforts, and into the infrastructure and rebuilding of Tigray

How has the pandemic changed your view of a career? Life is too short. The pandemic gave me the perspective that I do not need to wait until the perfect time to pursue something that I want. I am full of ideas and dreams but have always been a risk-averse person. I am finally allowing myself to try things that may not make sense on paper but feels like a risk worth taking. Quitting my job during the pandemic was risky, but it led me to Marshall. Coming to Marshall led me to pivoting from my original career intention and connecting with others that have similar Tech + Entrepreneurial aspirations which I am now focused on. These aspirations led me to making a last second decision to change my post-graduation location from LA to NYC, a less ‘safe’ option as I do not have a network there However, it’s a city I have always wanted to be in, and there is greater access to make my aspirations come to fruition

What made Alganesh such an invaluable addition to the Class of 2022?

“Alganesh embodies the one element that, to me, truly distinguishes Marshall – Trojan Spirit! At the heart of this is the desire and ability to give back. Through her leadership and passion as the President of Black Graduate Business Leaders (BGBL), Alganesh has worked in concert with the Admissions Office to promote diversity and to increase the number of historically underrepresented candidates to join our Trojan Family.”

Evan Bouffides
Assistant Dean & Director, Graduate Admissions
USC Marshall School of Business


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