Most people don’t worry about their network – until they need it. Maybe they lose their ‘safe’ job – or they find doors shut to them. In these times, they quickly learn that experience is trivialized, skills are commoditized, and can-do attitudes only impress at entry level. Talent may give them a quick start, it requires other people – advocates and key players – to take them to the finish.
That’s why networks are so important to business school students. Relationships are currency. And their classmates, alumni, and faculty members are the ones who can introduce them to the right people and alert them to hidden opportunities. They stamp a seal of approval on MBAs that brands them as valuable and dependable. And few schools offer a more supportive network than the University of Southern California’s Marshall School of Business. Known for its vaunted “Trojan Network,” the school boasts over 75,000 alumni, with MBAs being among the most obliging. In fact, Marshall ranked 6th in The Economist’s 2015 rankings of alumni networks, which is partially based on students’ ratings of the alumni network.
Since arriving on campus, Marshall’s 2017 MBA Class can attest that the “Trojan Network” is as formidable as ever. “I was blown away by the “Trojan Family” mentality and sense of community,” gushes Vaughn Cooper, a Navy veteran from Seattle. “Whether preparing for a case competition, volunteering with local charities, or tailgating before football games, Marshall creates an awesome synergy. After researching numerous MBA programs, I found this culture to be unique to Marshall. I knew this type of environment would allow me to excel, make life-long connections and reach my potential.”
So what sets this Trojan family apart from other MBA programs? The Class of 2017 wasn’t shy about touting their classmates. “My peers here are extremely hard-working and ambitious,” shares Manali Khadilkar, who previously worked in the University of California-Irvine’s Department of Neurology as a lab manager. “Each person is here to help the other to achieve his or her own goals. It is really about ‘strength in unity’.” Larry Sun, whose resume already features roles with MySpace, Vice, and Reuters, seconds Khadilkar’s sentiments. “During the application process, I asked current students and faculty what makes USC Marshall different from other schools,” he notes. “Every student and faculty member spoke to the collaborative community that is the Trojan Network. I learned that the Trojan Network is not just an alumni network. It is a community that you become a part of the first day of class.”
While the Class of 2017’s communal spirit may inspire, their individual accomplishments are certain to impress. The class consists of members from the United States Army, Navy, and Air Force – including a flight commander for nuclear missile operations. They’ve held leadership roles at Nielsen, Linkedin, and CBS – not to mention the New York Yankees. And they hold degrees from institutions as varied as Morehouse College and Stanford.
By the numbers, Marshall received 1,780 applications for a spot in the 2017 Class, up 11% from the 1,648 applications that were submitted for the 2016 Class. As a result, the acceptance rate slipped from 32% to 29%, with the school enrolling 223 students this fall.
Academically, the class mustered a 690 median GMAT, with scores falling between 620 and 730 in the 80% range. Undergraduate GPAs also remained steady, with both the 2016 and 2017 classes averaging a 3.3. At 31%, undergraduate humanities and social sciences majors represent the largest bloc of the 2017 Class. They are followed by science and engineering (23%), business (23%), economics (16%), and computer sciences (8%). Overall, the percentage of science and engineering majors climbed by 5% over the previous year, while the percentage of business and economics majors each fell by 3%.
Demographically, women accounted for 30% of the 2017 class, with American minority students (Asian-Americans, African-Americans, and Hispanics) making up another 24%. In addition, international students made up another 26% of the class, with students hailing from 32 countries including Australia, France, Norway, South Africa, Taiwan, and Venezuela.
As a whole, the average age of the new class is 27, with students each bringing roughly five years of work experience. Overall, the largest percentage of students worked in financial services. However, these students only amounted to 16% of the class, with media and entertainment (14%) and technology (12%) trailing close behind. Students with backgrounds in pharmaceuticals and healthcare (9%), consulting (8%), government (6%), manufacturing (6%), consumer products (5%), non-profits (4%), and real estate (4%) round out the class.
Go to next page to access student profiles of this year’s incoming class.