Meet the MBA Class of 2025: Janiece Smith, USC (Marshall)

Janiece Smith   

University of Southern California, Marshall School of Business

Hometown: Jacksonville, FL

Fun Fact About Yourself: I assisted the United States Intelligence Community in a project to help identify more sustainable ways to utilize natural resources.

Undergraduate School and Major: Howard University 2015; BA in International Business

Most Recent Employer and Job Title: Finance Manager at Amazon

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. The USC Marshall network extends its reach extensively, fostering a culture where mutual support is paramount. Even before commencing my official classes, I encountered a fellow Trojan who generously dedicated their time to help me fine-tune my elevator pitch. They skillfully distilled the core of my professional values, ensuring that they would be prominently conveyed in my interactions.

During my time within the program, a particularly heartening incident unfolded. While attending a company presentation, a second-year student went out of their way to introduce me to a recruiter and enthusiastically spoke highly of my qualities. Astonishingly, this student’s kind endorsement came after knowing me for only a few hours. This anecdote highlights the remarkable camaraderie that pervades the USC Marshall community.

The willingness of individuals to go above and beyond to assist one another is truly exceptional, a testament to the strong bonds that unite us within this network

What makes Los Angeles such a great place to earn an MBA? LA is the perfect location to earn an MBA because it provides access to diverse industries, influential corporations, and innovative startups. This facilitates ample networking opportunities and potential career connections.

Additionally, LA’s strategic geographical location positions it as a gateway to global markets, allowing students to gain insights into both domestic and international business dynamics. The city’s cultural diversity and rich entrepreneurial spirit foster a unique environment for learning and collaboration.

Furthermore, LA’s concentration of top-tier universities and business schools ensures access to quality education, expert faculty, and cutting-edge resources. The vibrant lifestyle, favorable climate, and plethora of entertainment options contribute to a well-rounded student experience.

Ultimately, pursuing an MBA in Los Angeles offers not only a top-notch education but also exposure to a dynamic business landscape and a lifestyle that merges learning with cultural exploration.

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 USC Marshall PRIME program stood out as the definitive reason for my choice to join this esteemed institution. PRIME represents an exceptional initiative tailored for incoming first-year FTMBA students, immersing them in a role reminiscent of consulting. This immersive experience involves the in-depth analysis of authentic international corporations, accompanied by the formulation of innovative solutions to address a spectrum of challenges they face.

Engaging in a program of this nature, which offers tangible real-world prospects to catalyze transformation within foreign enterprises, perfectly resonates with my immediate aspirations. My ambitions revolve around assuming leadership roles within South East Asia, whether it pertains to spearheading a team, overseeing a product, or orchestrating a comprehensive program. The PRIME program’s alignment with these ambitions further solidifies my decision to embark on this academic journey at USC Marshall.

What course, club or activity excites you the most at USC Marshall? I am greatly anticipating the opportunity to enroll in USC Marshall’s negotiation class. Mastering the intricacies of negotiation holds immense appeal for me, as it promises to refine not only my analytical and strategic acumen but also elevate my communication abilities to new heights. The art of negotiation encompasses a multifaceted skill set, including the sharpening of my capacity to influence effectively, all of which are essential attributes for a leader aiming to make a meaningful impact.

Describe your biggest accomplishment in your career so far: During my time at Amazon, I provided support to business partners dedicated to addressing some of the company’s most significant reputation-related challenges. At that time, the team was actively engaged in implementing an initiative aimed at allowing the general public to visit local fulfillment centers. This initiative aimed to showcase both the working conditions of Amazon employees and the company’s pioneering technological innovations.

In the early phases of this project, I was tasked with evaluating a variety of data points that the team had gathered. My role involved analyzing the data to assess the effectiveness of the reputation-building campaign. By synthesizing and consolidating this data, I was able to offer valuable insights to my business partners. Specifically, I identified the optimal timing and days for conducting tours, as well as the specific target audience that would be most influential in conveying a positive reputation message.

Through my comprehensive analysis, the team gained the ability to allocate resources for this program more efficiently. This allowed us to focus on capturing the attention of audiences most likely to speak positively about and impact the company’s reputation. Ultimately, my contributions played a key role in refining the program’s strategy and ensuring that our efforts resonated with the right stakeholders.

What advice would you give to help potential applicants gain admission into USC Marshall’s MBA program? Embrace your true self fully. Confront the challenging inquiries about yourself that you might have been evading. It’s through this introspection that you’ll unlock the core of the Trojan spirit.


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