Offers season

laelene Posted in mba,Tags: , , , ,
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We’ve been back for a little under a month now and the school is abuzz with activity! I feel like every day there are multitudes of interviews being held in the career center and every week people are flying all across the country for interviews on site. It’s great to see the hard work of my classmates paying off – I’ve heard from people who have gotten offers from Deloitte, EY, BCG, Johnson & Johnson, Amazon, and more.

For the most part it seems that consulting, finance, and marketing internships are all interviewing and extending offers right now. Some folks have interviewed at Nestle, Amgen, and will go off to Adobe… I know there will be many more waves of offers as tech, entertainment, and others follow suit in the coming weeks and months. I’m so proud of the class I’m part of and all the amazing things they’re doing. It’s fascinating to me to see where everyone’s landing and I’m keeping track as I hear so I have a sense of our employment across the board.

I’m so glad that I did all my recruiting super early and was done interviewing in October. I can’t imagine how life has been for all my other classmates, who have had to work in high gear all this time. Meanwhile, I’ve kicked back and had time to focus on running the MBA Ambassadors program with my co-director. That’s something I really care about and enjoy doing, since it is affecting the future class(es) that we’ll enroll at Marshall.

I wonder if this flurry of activity will dwindle or if it will stay like this through February and March. Pretty soon I will no longer be the minority and those with offers will outpace those without! This creates great stories that we can tell the prospective students who reach out to us, so this is a stage of our development that I am really enjoying. Before we know it, we’ll have our own incoming class of first years to mentor and guide through the process. 🙂

Second semester

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I had hoped that with the new semester, I might be able to post more frequently, but it looks like I may have underestimated the demands on my time and energy. Things certainly are more manageable, but we need to start planning Admit Weekend and I have a class that doesn’t start until the second half of the semester, so I have a feeling March is going to be a crazy month.

So far the first two weeks have been really nice. At the tail end of winter break, I attended Tech Trek up in the Bay Area, where we visited a bunch of companies (more on that in another post). Then we kicked off classes last week (has it only been that recent?!! I feel like it’s been a month) and I started taking a bunch of fitness classes at the gym since they’re free for the first two weeks, giving us an opportunity to preview them before committing.

This past weekend we had a trip out to Mammoth, which was timed perfectly with the crazy snow they’ve been getting. They’ve received massive amounts of snowfall and have the most snow anywhere in the country at the moment (somewhere around 15-20 feet). It didn’t snow while we were there, offering my classmates excellent skiing and snowboarding options. Meanwhile, I stayed at the cabin and enjoyed my book the first day and did some homework and had a group meeting the second day. I will try to get a post up about that as well, so you can see the massive mounds of snow and the giant icicle formations.

Tonight I wrapped up my last class of the week and many of my classmates are off to Park City for the Sundance Film Festival. I’ll be attempting to get ahead of the mounds of reading that my classes seem to require. In true Core fashion (aka insanely fast and front-loaded), we have a midterm on Monday. Already. It’s for global economics and I’m amazed at how I can read something and then basically forget the entire contents by the time I get to class.

I’m also taking two human capital courses – Designing High Performance Organizations & Human Capital Performance and Motivation. They’re both night classes, but I find them so engaging and interesting that they haven’t felt long. I think I also do better on energy later in the day. My fourth class is Getting the Organization Ready for Big Data, which seemed interesting and useful, but I’m not feeling great about it and I’m considering switching to something else. The professor is brand new (just got his PhD in 2015), the class has never been taught, and he speaks in a rather quiet monotone voice with low energy. He’s nice enough but the class isn’t very exciting.

The class that kicks in in two months is my LEAD class – Leadership Education and Development. We have a cohort of LEAD Fellows from my class who will be taking this and also another class in the fall. LEAD is designed to give us hands-on opportunities to develop our leadership styles, with a community project, off-sites, the class, and a speaker series. I can’t wait to see how the program goes! We’re the first class to have this full-fledged program and I feel very lucky to be part of it.

So that’s a synopsis of how this spring semester is going so far. Sometime next month, global econ gives away to global strategy. Then we start to focus on the countries that we will be traveling to and do projects specific to companies we’ll be visiting. I’m on the Shanghai Taipei trip and I’m so excited!! Also, I’ve scheduled an awesome trip to Israel for spring break, which my classmates planned for us. This is going to be an exciting four months.

Winter break

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Ah, inertia. Ever since Thanksgiving break, I’ve seen a noticeable decline in motivation in all my classmates. We sort of just didn’t want to get back into things after our first real break.

Now that we finally got through the rest of classes, finished up finals, and are on winter break, all I want to do is lounge around. I don’t want to check emails or read books as I thought I might have done. I don’t like watching TV, but for boredom’s sake I’d turn something on just to have it going in the background.

This is reminding me of the spring break I had once where I was one of the only people on campus and I basically watched a dance competition show nonstop. I completely messed up my sleep schedule that time, staying up until 7 or 8 am and sleeping through until 6 pm. At least this time I’m keeping somewhat normal hours, though I’ve lost all sense of what day it is.

I’ve only got two more weeks at home before leaving and I want to maximize my time doing nothing and hanging out with the cats. So that’s the plan.

Adobe Analytics Challenge 2016

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This weekend, I participated in the 15th Adobe Analytics Challenge. My team, DataInsights, was one of six finalists chosen to be flown out to Lehi, Utah (Adobe’s headquarters) and it was quite a ride! USC Marshall had two teams going and we all decided to extend our stay to enjoy Utah after the competition.

adobe analytics challenge XV homepage with six finalist teams

Check it out, we’re on the homepage!

This was my first case competition, so I have nothing to compare it to, but I must say that it would be hard to top. I mean, $50,000 worth of cash prizes, free trips to Utah, a fancy meal, all that swag, and a chance to check out Adobe’s headquarters? It was fabulous and I’m glad I was part of it. I hope to come back next year to support more Marshall teams that make it to the finals!!

view of snow covering salt lake city from airplane landing

I passed out during the plane ride and woke up to find snow covering the town.

view outside plane window when landing at salt lake city airport

Funny enough, as we got close to the airport, the snow was gone.

first glimpse at beautiful snowy mountains in utah

On our way to the hotel, we marveled at the mountains.

springhill suites lehi living room area

They got us suites, which was perfect for meeting in.

springhill suites lehi bedroom area

In the afternoon, we rested and cleaned up before dinner.

entrance to foundry grill at sundance

A shuttle bus drove us up to the Foundry Grill at Sundance.

meat and cheese appetizer at foundry grill sundance

When we arrived, Adobe staff and some appetizers awaited.

mac and cheese appetizer at foundry grill sundance

As we settled in, we chowed down on the appetizers before ordering.

adobe dinner menu at foundry grill

The menu for the night!

foundry grill squash soup

It seems most people got the squash soup.

foundry grill greens & grains

I opted for the salad.

foundry grill filet mignon

Filet mignon was probably very popular too.

foundry grill chicken breast

I wanted carrots, so I got the chicken.

foundry grill maple pecan bread pudding

One of the desserts was bread pudding.

foundry grill chocolate cake

The other option was chocolate cake with cherry flavors.

foundry grill wall art of metal tools

The decor in the place was very rustic.

walking to adobe headquarters building

The next day, we got to Adobe around 8 am.

moon over adobe headquarters building

The moon was still up!

adobe headquarters entrance with event signs

In the entrance, they had signs for the event.

adobe headquarters cafe eating area

Their open cafeteria area is so spacious and bright.

adobe analytics challenge setting up

As we got breakfast, they set up the stage, complete with mics and down screens.

free swag for finalists at adobe analytics challenge

What a wonderful surprise to find at our seats!! I love the swag.

prizes for audience attendees of adobe analytics challenge

The audience got to win all sorts of cool things!

adobe hallway view

This is where we paced doing last-minute practicing for our lines.

view of street from adobe headquarters

Looking out the hallway, there was still an awesome view.

teams of finalists in the holding area practicing

We were the second to last team to go, so most of these folks went before us.

adobe analytics challenge finalists on screen

After all the presentations, the judges had time to deliberate and then we got ready for the announcement.

view from stage of adobe analytics challenge

All teams got on stage for the prize announcements and this was our view. My team came in 4th.

gorgeous view of mountains from adobe headquarters

After the event, we got to have lunch at the cafe and check out this amazing view.

adobe headquarters indoor fire pit

Following lunch was a tour of random things like the indoor fire pit!

music room at adobe headquarters

They’ve got a music room and signed guitars from artists who have played there.

interactive art in stairwell at adobe headquarters

As you go up the stairs, you can grab a ball that you can drop down a tube at the top.

funky top chair in adobe headquarters game room

In the game room, you’ll find these fun spin top chairs! You can fall backwards to roll completely around.

adobe headquarters nunchuck chair and gong

Ah, the nunchuck chair… you should ask about that story if you visit.

pretending to sit in nunchuck chair at adobe headquarters

I didn’t want to sit on it but I wanted to pretend!

closeup of nunchuck design

The nunchucks had some cool dragon designs on them.

adobe headquarters spray paint art on wall

They commissioned a famous graffiti artist to do this. There’s a timelapse of it somewhere…

posing by entry of adobe headquarters

Before heading out, a final pose with Adobe!

neck pillow as coaster for pot

That night, we drove down to Moab and immediately had dinner. This was funny way of holding a pot.

homemade steak and asparagus dinner

One of the guys made us steak, asparagus, shrimp, and zucchini!

men of the household cooking

I love that the men took over the kitchen as the women hung out at the dining table. Thanks guys!

rustic western feel to bedroom

I got a sweet bedroom all to myself.

fancy shower with lights and steam room function

The master bathroom had this insane shower with tons of showerheads, color-changing lighting, and a steam room function. Not to mention a sauna next to it and a hot tub outside. We used them all!!

view from moab trails retreat cabin

The next morning, we saw our surroundings for the first time.

selfie with the truck from the movie cars

First order of business was lunch at a local cafe. Look what we found!

pond at eklecticafe in moab

The outdoor seating area included this pond.

hungry bird eating salad off plate

As we were leaving, the birds came to have some fun with the food.

line to get in to arches national park

Then it was off to Arches National Park!

beautiful red rocks in arches national park

Our first stop provided wonderful views.

snowy mountains against red rocks

Check out the snowy mountains in the background!

red rock formations at arches national park

Sometimes I feels like we’re in Arizona and other times the snow on the mountains feels like Colorado.

standing with arms outstretched with delicate arch in the background

When we find Delicate Arch, I put on my fancy dress.

standing with arms overhead with delicate arch in the background

Who did it best? Me?

standing with arms outstretched overhead with delicate arch in the background

Or him? 😉

jumping with delicate arch in background

I had to do a jumping shot too. Always.

making a manmade arch as person runs underneath

This human arch was great for running under.

planking across boulders to create manmade arch

Try planking it!

view of one of many arches

Every pit stop had something to look at.

crow staring waiting for food

Look at the glow from the canyon on its back as it eagerly awaited food.

crow sitting on dead tree branch

crow flying at arches national park

What an amazing place!

arches national park rocks against blue sky

The sun was setting as we reached our final destination – Devils Garden.

walking on trails at arches national park

It was quite chilly without the sunlight.

doing bridge pose with arch in background

With a change of wardrobe, I decided to imitate the arch for this one!

twirling in front of arch

I was instructed to twirl, so I did as best I could with no shoes on.

twirling with skirt poufing out and arch in background

It was a lot of fun as I got dizzy.

back view of dress at arches national park

My photographers were getting into their own and starting to instruct me on what to do for this final one.

tips of snowy mountains peeking between red rocks

Wow, check out the mountains behind the red rocks.

brown bunny eating grass at arches national park

Just before exiting, we saw this adorable bunny.

brown bunny posing for camera

It even posed for us for a bit before hopping off.

t-bone steak with mushrooms and onions

That night, the ladies enjoyed the hot tub and came in to find dinner ready.

eagle decoration carved in stone tile of bathroom

I just loved this random detail in the hall bath.

adobe headquarters in lehi utah

Our last day, I woke up ill and pretty much slept most of the day away. I caught a picture of Adobe as we passed by on the way to the airport.

free swag for adobe analytics challenge finalists

And finally, here’s a look at what came in the bag! I looove the custom branded S’Well bottle and wall charger.

The craziest week

laelene Posted in mba,Tags: , , , ,
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Every time I think things can’t get crazier, they do! I mean, this week has been insane for me, especially in contrast to my classmates.

It started off on equal footing, with tons of studying and procrastinating for our finals on Monday and Tuesday. Luckily, we got through them and I think I’m relatively unscathed (we’ll see how the grades pan out). I then practiced interviewing with multiple 2nd years, worked on a case competition, attended various info sessions and workshops, had an informational interview, did a phone screen, and prepped for a big interview tomorrow.

Just today alone I was on campus for a full 12 hours of work back to back. I didn’t even have time to eat, though strangely I wasn’t very hungry. I did manage to eat 4 cookies to tide me over until I got home around 10 tonight. My body doesn’t feel tired, but my brain is a bit numb. Meanwhile, many of my classmates have the entire day off since we don’t have class and they don’t have many (if any) meetings. What a stark difference in lifestyles right now. They’re at the beach and I’m in study rooms and classrooms.

Oh! And then today I got a delightful phone call letting me know that I was selected to be a co-director for the Marshall MBA Ambassadors program!! Yippee! So I also squeezed in a quick meeting with the co-directors who are passing on the baton, then sat with the program director in admissions who helps guide us, and finally had a touch-base call with my co-director, who is out in New Orleans for a conference. We had a kick-off dinner to plan for tomorrow, a welcome email to send to the rest of our ambassador team, and other deliverables that don’t need to be done just yet.

It has been a whirlwind of a week and it’s barely half over. Tomorrow I have more meetings, case competition stuff, my all-important interview, and the kick-off/welcome dinner. I’ll have some breathing room after 9 tomorrow night leading in to Friday morning, so I might go home. Then it’s another informational call, a meet and greet on-site with a potential employer, and a long drive out to Joshua Tree for a fun weekend camping and rock climbing.

Whew!

But then when I return Sunday I need to regroup with my case competition team to finalize what we will submit Monday morning. We also happen to start a new set of classes Monday, with our very first prospective student visitors already! #mbalife

First Friday Off

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What an insane weekend! It was the first time that we first year MBAs didn’t have class on Friday and boy did we take advantage of that.

Thursday afternoon it started off wonderfully lax as I sat in the courtyard chatting with classmates after class. I went home about three hours later and worked on my first cover letter for an internship application. Around 7:30, I went out to a bar that many of my classmates were at and socialized until nearly 10. At that point, I was ready to leave and eat dinner! Three of us went across the street to try to get food, but they had just closed the kitchen, so we walked over to a pizza place instead.

iphone temperature alert due to overheating

I accidentally left my phone in the sun for a bit and it overheated!

It was so nice to actually be able to go out and spend time getting to know classmates, some of whom I hardly ever see since they’re not in my cohort. The next day, I got to sleep in, which was fabulous. My roommate was going down to the pool, so I went along and brought my computer so I could edit my cover letter based on feedback from a mentor. In the afternoon, I went on campus to meet with a second year to get more tips on how to tweak my cover letter. To round things out, I asked one more mentor for insights and then I felt pretty ready.

By then, it was time to head off to Fusion BBQ, which was a mix of foods from black, Latino, and Asian cultures. We hung out at Echo Park chatting and eating for nearly 4 hours and I completely forgot to get a picture of the food spread. At 10 or so, we headed off to part two in K-Town, stopping by two places to meet up with others. I thought that I was going to head home as they left around midnight to go to the Line Hotel, but then we ran into more classmates outside and I decided to go along with them.

At the hotel, they got tables so we sat there as some people danced nearby. It was extremely hot, everyone was crowded in, and the floor was sticky. Felt like your typical nightclub. I was standing outside when they started to close the place down not long after 1:30 and they almost didn’t let us back in to get our valuables! I don’t think I’ll be going back there again, especially after the insane charge for the table.

I was giving a couple of people rides home, but at the first stop we decided to just go hang out in the apartment for a bit. The four of us went up and woke up the guy’s roommate, who hadn’t made it to the festivities. We hung out there chatting for over two hours before calling it a night. I was starting to crash and absolutely knackered from the evening I thought would end by midnight. At 5, I happily climbed into bed for a few hours’ sleep.

apex sign at leadership conferenceSaturday morning I had to get up at 10 to attend a professional event at the Sheraton (APEX Leadership Conference: Reinvent Redefine Rediscover). I walked over and made it there on time to meet a couple of cool people who help run APEX. The first session of the day was either Personal Branding or Global Networks. I went to the Personal Branding one, mostly because I was curious about hearing from a female speaker. I wish I had gone to the other one since much of what we talked about was exactly what I’ve been learning in business school, but I did meet two wonderful ladies, so I’m grateful for that.

leadership operating system slide by lisa gates of career oxygen

Learning about our Leadership Operating System.

After lunch, we broke up into other sessions and I chose the Negotiating one (there was one about Managing Up in the other room). It was a really great session run by Lisa Gates of She Negotiates and I felt like it helped me figure out my value proposition a bit better. I even got a chance to speak in front of the room and share a bit of my story! We then spoke with the person sitting next to us and as coincidence would have it, my partner turned out to be a rising YouTuber, Kevin Yee. You should check out his YouTube channel! He’s super chill and a great person, so I’m glad we sat next to each other. He even interviewed me briefly for his vlog. 🙂

I wasn’t as interested in the final sessions, plus I wanted to catch part of the tailgate, so I left around 3 to walk back to my apartment and drive down to campus. At the tailgate, I met some older alum who graduated over a decade ago. One was having a blast making crazy tower creations out of empty cups! I then hung out with a bunch of folks from the first and second year classes and as the tailgate ended, we made our way to one person’s apartment to watch the game. I was there until about 9. Since the Trojans were beating the Sun Devils by quite a bit, I didn’t stay for the end of the game. After so much being out, I was ready to go home and chill!

Key lessons from yesterday:

  • Talk to people you sit next to. You might just make some friends!
  • Skateboarding with a pencil skirt works just fine; cartwheeling with a pencil skirt does NOT work.

Now it’s time to get back down to business and write up my next cover letter, prepare notes for the marketing final, and study data for the quiz on Tuesday… #mbalife

building plastic cup tower at tailgate party

a different kind of "professional skateboarder"

I rolled in with what I call a “SoCal Professional” look.

USC Own It Conference 2016

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This Saturday, I spent the day on campus at the inaugural USC Own It conference. It’s targeted more towards undergrads, but was still a good opportunity to meet women.

view of crescent moon in blue sky with trees

The moon was still out when I arrived! The trees were also shedding like crazy (perhaps there was a squirrel?).

line of ladies getting breakfast before usc own it 2016 conference

piles of tote bags for attendees of usc own it 2016 conference

Lots of goodies!

glowing lights inside usc bovard auditorium executive panelists at usc own it 2016 conference

 

The morning panels were women in high leadership positions and then media/news.

sign post guiding attendees to breakout rooms for usc own it 2016 conference

We split for breakout sessions before and after lunch. I went to both tech ones.

lunch trucks at usc own it 2016 conference

Lunch time!

microsoft tent at usc own it 2016 conference

A little bit of networking at lunch, with the lovely folks at Microsoft and Bing.

giant "we own it because" board with empowering statements posing with art wall

using a power pose in front of art wall

Power pose time. 🙂
(If you’re not familiar, look up Amy Cuddy’s TED Talk.)

women entrepreneur panel at usc own it 2016 conference

The afternoon panels were women in tech and then entrepreneurs.

Small successes

laelene Posted in mba
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Today was pretty successful in my book! I tried some sips of 5 Hour Energy for the first time and managed to stay awake in class. I seem to nod off for a few seconds no matter what, so the energy boost helped me get past that. Then I got to do an informational interview for a student position I’m interested in. I’ve spoken to quite a few people about their experience in the role and I hope my application shines!!

At lunch, it was time to claim free hot dogs for lunch. Pink’s Hot Dogs was on campus giving out free dogs. Each person could claim two, as well as chips and drinks. On my way out, I ran into a second year who I’d been meaning to talk to (“Superman”) and had a nice interaction with him and another second year (“Caser”) who came over. My friend and I then proceeded to spend the rest of the afternoon attending meeting after meeting together.

First up was case competition training, complete with catered lunch boxes. I was able to chat up a classmate I hadn’t officially met yet. He recently got a product (coconut cookies) into Trader Joe’s, which is awesome! After sitting down, I swapped cookies with the classmate next to me because he had chocolate chip and I had poppyseed. I call those small wins.

The next meeting was training for case interviews, which I hope I don’t have to do. I got called on by Caser to talk through one of the slides during the live demo. I talked a bit more than I needed to but ultimately got a decent point across and didn’t make a (complete) fool of myself! At the start of the meeting I was able to set up time to talk to Superman about two roles I am interested in. We met up at the mixer following the event to chat about his experiences. I hope I get both roles!

After the mixer, it was off to yet another kickoff meeting. Here I was able to score some Jimmy John’s sandwiches, as well as the platters they came on, which I plan on using as serving trays when we host parties at our apartment. 🙂 To wrap up the night, our quiz #2 scores were posted for the Data class and I managed to pull off another 90! I’m pretty sure the professor accidentally copied my quiz #1 grade – I had no clue what I was doing!! 😉

So all in all, a good day. Now if only I could put my sore throat and “under the weather”ness behind me…

An ocean of work

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Yikes! I’m getting worse at staying on top of things here. With two full weeks of class behind me, I’m in the thick of things and just trying to stay afloat. It truly feels like a tsunami is behind me and I’m trying to swim to stay ahead of it. Every time I get past a wave, it’s a relief but then I look back only to find the massive waves have not receded.

Just about every single day, we either have a quiz or some sort of homework or project due. Next Friday we’ll already be done with two classes. How crazy is that?! Three intense weeks of class and they’re over. I’m still not sure how I feel about that at this point. On the one hand, we are basically going through recruiting boot camp so we are prepared as polished professionals as soon as we begin looking for internships.

(In case you’re not familiar with MBA life, you basically starting the recruiting process in the fall, where recruiters from various companies come on campus to seek interns for the summer. These internships are done in the summer between 1st and 2nd year and often can lead to full-time job offers to start after graduation. Much of the focus is on what internship experience you can get, since the whole idea of business school is to prepare us to be leaders in corporations.)

This week was pretty brutal, with long days dragging into long nights. It culminated in an all-nighter Thursday that lasted until nearly 5 am on Friday. I ended up sleeping for an hour and a half. Surprisingly, I was pretty functional for the day and didn’t even sleep early last night. This morning it was tough getting up though, so thank goodness it’s the weekend and we have a little bit of breathing room. I still feel pretty stressed since there’s a lot to do – research for two projects, studying for a quiz on Monday, reviewing for a quiz on Tuesday, conducting an informational interview and doing a write-up on it, plus a bunch of readings.

There are some boxes I really want to review but I just don’t have the bandwidth yet! Hang tight and I’ll hopefully get around to them later this month and into next.

MBA time

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Orientation is in full gear and we are buuuusy! (In fact so busy that I started drafting this days ago and never finished posting it… til now!!)

They’ve kept us busy, with days starting either at 8 or 7:20 and “ending” around 6. Afterwards, we’d have group meetings and homework to complete before the next day of jam packed activity.

usc marshall mba orientation bbq

Sunday was our first time ever as a full class of 228. We had a BBQ to kick things off and meet each other and our SOs/kids.

balloon animal usc trojan horse

The kids and staff got to request balloon creations! Someone had this awesome horse.

brand new lecture room in fertitta hall at usc marshall

We took the opportunity to visit the new building, which is meant to house much of the undergrads at Marshall. This is one of their big lecture rooms.

usc marshall mba welcome sign with balloons

Monday morning, we got in before 8 to start our lives as MBAs.

usc marshall mba orientation folder with name tags, schedules, and other documents

My orientation binder contained tons of material and name tags. The big laminated one is for class, the small one was for getting to know each other this week, and the gold one is for networking and professional events.

usc marshall mba binder

I sat at a gold table, which foretold the core I was split into (we are divided into 3 for classes). Core A is gold!

usc marshall mba orientation welcome

We were greeted by many, including Assistant Dean Bouffides seen here in Town & Gown.

uscard table at usc marshall mba orientation

During lunch, we had a chance to pick up student IDs/parking permits, ask about the fitness center/health insurance/financial aid, etc.

usc marshall mba box lunches provided by usc hospitality

The lunch boxes were quite good! I devoured just about everything. I love the Marshall mints. #branded

Starting Tuesday, we were split into our cores. There are three with 76 students each – Core A, B, and C. I’m in Core A! (Best one, of course.) I like to call myself an alpha female. Each core is then split into 13 groups (11 with six people and 2 with five people). My group is A6 and we have one other female, who is international. Of the 4 men, one is international and the other 3 domestic. These folks are going to be like family in the coming months, as we will have TONS of class work, teamwork, and other interactions.

usc marshall mba students walking to classroom

The next morning, there was coffee with the deans, bright and early at 7:20. We then walked back to Popovich Hall for class and more orientation.

The next couple of days was a blur of class, assignments, reading, group stuff, and more orientation sessions. We were trained on everything from teamwork to career management to elevator pitches.

usc marshall mba core a in class

Yesterday, it was TAM day in the afternoon (Teamwork at Marshall) so we got to dress down.

In our strategy class shown here, we set the tone by whooping the other two cores in the cola taste test challenge! Our team got 6 out of 9 correct whereas the others… got 1 each. Core A has stellar taste buds!

usc marshall mba tam day

We got out on the field and competed in a variety of challenges. Here is Core B in their grey shirts, waiting for Core C to show up.

usc marshall mba tam day activity

Activities included this one where we had to get people to “islands” without touching the ground.

We started off with a hula hoop challenge (sending two down the line without letting go of each others’ hands), then did an egg drop before splitting into smaller groups. Each core was split into 4 and we rotated through challenges. Our team did the marble challenge, getting 4 in the bucket (2nd place). The first rotation took us to the water challenge, transporting as much as possible (we won). Then it was a word game and the one shown above, both of which we lost. Luckily it’s based on overall performance across all teams!

usc marshall mba tam day core a pride

To wrap up, we had the water balloon toss. We did quite well but my partner and I got eliminated about halfway through. This is my attempt at an “A” symbol.

usc marshall mba core a

Our team did really well and had the last team standing!

usc marshall mba tam day group photo

The professional photographer took a big class photo for us.

usc marshall mba coffee with deans morning breakfast

Finally, today we had another coffee with the deans to kick off the day.

usc marshall mba networking event desserts

To wrap up the week, we did a mock networking event complete with hot food, fruit, cheese & crackers, and of course, dessert.

It’s a relief to be at the end of the week, but there’s so much to do. Tomorrow I have a social event where I’ll get to meet some 2nd years and I need to prepare work for Sunday, when my group is meeting. We’ll work on group stuff, discuss some things, and go hiking together! I also need to fit in filming a box opening for Yuzen.

It still feels surreal that I’m (shh) technically a Trojan now… I think at best I can be a Brujan. I feel a connection with Marshall and “the network” and the people, but somehow not the generic Trojan image. Once a Bruin, always a Bruin I guess. Have you felt a stronger affiliation to your undergrad institution, if you continued your education too (and went somewhere else)?

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