At USC, the Marshall Online MBA offers an integrated curriculum that is specifically designed to be different from its traditional on-campus program.
Its curriculum emphasizes developing communication and decision-making skills driven by data analysis. Rather than taking stand-alone courses on business communication and business analytics, working professionals in the online program develop these skills throughout the entire program.
“We specifically wanted an online MBA curriculum that was different from our on-campus programs and specifically targeted the needs of full-time working professionals looking for a high-quality, rigorous MBA program that can be finished within two years,” Phil Griego, assistant dean of online Learning at USC’s Marshall School of Business, says.
A FOUNDATION IN COMMUNICATION AND LEADERSHIP
USC’s online MBA program offers training and education in nearly every aspect of business. Yet, perhaps where it shines most is its ability to develop clear-cut communication skills and churn out business leaders.
“It is designed to train modern business leaders who lead, collaborate and work in the online and virtual space as well as emphasizing developing business skills and decision making which are driven by technology, globalization, and data analysis,” Griego says.
Randy Gonzales, a class of 2017 graduate of the program, first decided to enroll when the startup he as working at was acquired.
“To be honest, I was starting to see myself getting pushed out of my role in the project as the larger company started bringing in more and more of their in-house talent to drive the project,” Gonzales says. “If I really wanted to become a leader in this company or any other company, I needed to be more rounded as an individual and be able to work and communicate effectively across multiple functions.”
He says USC’s online MBA program allowed him to see that there was more to success than just being strong technically.
“I was much more aware of communication styles and how to incentivize my direct reports and other team members,” Gonzales says. “I became more effective in communicating and getting alignment across functions and with executives. I changed my mindset to be more strategic and focused my decisions on how to create more value for the business, and not just making something work better for the sake of working better. I believe the MBA program helped me balance my strong technical background with an effective leadership and business style to drive success within my organization.”
WHAT VALUE CAN YOU BRING?
Getting in to USC’s online MBA program takes more than just having basic work experience and strong exam scores.
Griego says USC looks for candidates who can bring value into the USC community and enhance the experience for all students.
The ideal candidate, according to Griego, is “an entrepreneur or employee who wants to learn more, works diligently, and seeks to engage with more professionals in order to further her career and contribute to the business community.”
For the academic year of 2017-2018, the acceptance rate to USC’s online MBA program was 53%. Among those who enrolled, 13% submitted GRE scores. Some 66% of enrolled students had their test scores waived because of their work experience. USC recommends applicants to have at least five years of professional work experience when applying to the online MBA program. This year’s incoming class had an average work history of 11 years.
Chase Lio, a 2017 graduate of the online program, recommends applicants to focus on the value they can bring to the conversation.
“It isn’t necessarily how high your test scores are, the company you work for, or the level of recommendations you provide,” Lio says. “Those are obviously very important, but in a program like this, they are only the threshold for consideration. The breadth of voice, experience, ideas and insight become key differentiators.”
Patty Toscano, a 2018 graduate, says applicants need to understand what USC has to offer when applying.
“Students should recognize the mutual benefits of the program and highlight how it can bring value to their goals, and equally, what they can contribute to the program,” Toscano says.
USC’s online MBA program gives students, who otherwise may be too busy for a traditional MBA, get the education they need to advance their careers.
“Many online programs partner with outside companies to create their online courses,” Griego says. “To ensure a high-quality learning experience for our students, Marshall has invested in building a team of instructional designers, educational technology experts and video production professionals who work directly with our faculty to create our online courses.”
For many students, the online program offers a quality education and worthwhile experience.
“The quality and reputation of education, the caliber of the professors, the blended format of the curriculum, the format of class and lectures, the friendships and connections that will result from the experience, and the leadership skills formed as a result make the online MBA program at USC worthwhile,” Toscano says.