USC Marshall Admissions Chat with Grace Kim and Veronica Ho

USC Marshall Admissions Chat with Grace Kim and Veronica Ho

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Linda Abraham (Oct 24, 2006 9:47:59 AM)
Hello. My name is Linda Abraham. I am the founder of and the moderator of today’s chat. First I want to welcome all applicants to the chat today, and I want to congratulate you for taking the time to learn more about USC Marshall’s School of Business. It is critical to your decision making process and your admission chances that you know as much as you can about the schools you are applying to. Being here today allows you to ask experts about this top business school.

Linda Abraham (Oct 24, 2006 9:48:11 AM)
First I want to welcome you all to’s USC Marshall MBA Admissions Chat. I also want to welcome Grace Kim, Senior Associate Director and Veronica Ho, Associate Director of USC Marshall admissions; Thanks to everyone for joining.

Linda Abraham (Oct 24, 2006 9:51:04 AM)
Grace and Veronica, are you there?

VeronicaHoUSC (Oct 24, 2006 9:51:08 AM)
Hi Everyone, Thank you for joining us today. Grace and I will be on the chat and look forward to answering your questions.

cavalera_110 (Oct 24, 2006 9:51:14 AM)
I would like to know if USC has any events (information sessions) for the Full time MBA program scheduled on weekends or evenings. I work fulltime and I cannot take time off work to attend their morning/ afternoon sessions. Please let me know.

VeronicaHoUSC (Oct 24, 2006 9:52:13 AM)
cavalera_110: Yes, we will have weekend and evening sessions for the full-time program. The sessions are posted on our website. Here is our schedule:

Linda Abraham (Oct 24, 2006 9:52:38 AM)
Grace, Veronica :What’s new at USC Marshall?

GraceKimUSC (Oct 24, 2006 9:54:02 AM)
Nothing too much has changed in terms of the program. We have added one more an early deadline date of November 1st for those applicants who will be applying to USC only.

aculina (Oct 24, 2006 9:54:17 AM)
Do you have distance learning?

GraceKimUSC (Oct 24, 2006 9:54:50 AM)
No unfortunately, we do not have a distance learning program

Linda Abraham (Oct 24, 2006 9:55:18 AM)
Any plans to revamp the curriculum? Seems to be in vogue this year.

VeronicaHoUSC (Oct 24, 2006 9:56:01 AM)
We actually already did change our curriculum last year. It's been received very well by the students.

Linda Abraham (Oct 24, 2006 9:56:14 AM)
What were some of the innovations?

tish (Oct 24, 2006 9:56:27 AM)
Grace: which companies recruit from USC?

VeronicaHoUSC (Oct 24, 2006 9:58:08 AM)
Linda - One of the innovations to the curriculum include team teaching among faculty which helps students see the relevance of business/management across the Core courses.

GraceKimUSC (Oct 24, 2006 9:58:25 AM)
tish, we do have companies from a variety of different industries that come and recruit on campus. To find the list, please check our web site at and head over to the Career Resource Center. They have an extensive list of companies that recruit for both internships and post graduate jobs.

Linda Abraham (Oct 24, 2006 9:58:55 AM)
Does the team teaching also encourage less of a silo approach to business? Are the profs encouraging students to see the interrelationship between business functions?

Linda Abraham (Oct 24, 2006 9:59:17 AM)
Grace are any companies particularly prominent? Any fields?

VeronicaHoUSC (Oct 24, 2006 9:59:49 AM)
Yes, very much so. There is an emphasis on faculty collaboration in the Core.

Linda Abraham (Oct 24, 2006 10:00:14 AM)
Veronica and Grace: When you are evaluating applications and the numbers are in the ballpark, what puts one applicant in the admit pile, and others in the rejected or waitlisted piles?

VeronicaHoUSC (Oct 24, 2006 10:01:56 AM)
When evaluating applicants, we look at numerous elements - professional, academic and personal accomplishments. We do have a profile of our current class which can help applicants to a self-assessment to see how competitive they are, but there are many factors to consider. This link is to our current class profile:

GraceKimUSC (Oct 24, 2006 10:01:57 AM)
Linda, right now the the trend has been to return to the larger functional areas, such as marketing/finance as well as consulting. So we have companies such as Mattel, Disney, Goldman Sachs, Intel, etc.

Linda Abraham (Oct 24, 2006 10:02:56 AM)
Are there any qualities that you really must see in an application to USC Marshall in order for it to land in the admit pile?

Linda Abraham (Oct 24, 2006 10:03:01 AM)
Thanks for the link. But I am really asking more qualitatively.

VeronicaHoUSC (Oct 24, 2006 10:03:32 AM)
Having thought thoroughly about why he/she wants to pursue the MBA and being able to communicate that clearly is important. It is also about the candidate understanding our culture, and the candidate should have a sense of what the program is like.

GraceKimUSC (Oct 24, 2006 10:04:08 AM)
Also, we are looking for "fit". Will this person contribute to the Marshall community.

tish (Oct 24, 2006 10:05:15 AM)
Does USC have a program where students can do pro-bono work for small and minority businesses?

GraceKimUSC (Oct 24, 2006 10:06:14 AM)
tish, yes, through the Lloyd Greif center in the entrepreneur department and also some of our professional clubs will do work in that area.

Linda Abraham (Oct 24, 2006 10:06:47 AM)
How do you use recommendations in evaluating applicants? If an applicants wants to submit a 3rd recommendation, will you accept it? Do you discourage them from doing so?

VeronicaHoUSC (Oct 24, 2006 10:07:00 AM)
tish - There's also a large student organization at Marshall, Challenge 4 Charity, that does a lot of community service work in the local LA area.

GraceKimUSC (Oct 24, 2006 10:07:40 AM)
Linda, recommendations are another way for the applicant to show that he/she is prepared for the MBA and that this is the right time given their experience. If an applicant wants to submit 3 recommendation letters, we do accept. I wouldn't go over 3 though.

tish (Oct 24, 2006 10:08:44 AM)
How heavily do you weigh the GMAT?

GraceKimUSC (Oct 24, 2006 10:10:28 AM)
Oh, yes the GMAT. We DO NOT have a weight system with each component. All of the components in your application are looked at before we make a decision on your application.

Linda Abraham (Oct 24, 2006 10:11:24 AM)
Grace, Veronica: An increasing number of schools have decided to reach out to early-career applicants and encourage applications for those with less than 3 years of experience. Where does Marshall stand on this question?

VeronicaHoUSC (Oct 24, 2006 10:12:19 AM)
The current average years of work experience in our class is 5 years. While we have some current students with fewer, it depends on the type of work experience...

Linda Abraham (Oct 24, 2006 10:13:18 AM)
Do you have a minimum amount of full-time work experience or do you view an application from a college senior without prejudice and evaluate it based on its merits?

VeronicaHoUSC (Oct 24, 2006 10:13:49 AM)
If one has substantial work experience that is closer to 3 years, we would certainly look positively on that experience. It's not about the number of years, but more about the type/scope of exp.

GraceKimUSC (Oct 24, 2006 10:13:52 AM)
No, we do not have a minimum amount of work experience, however, in the pool of application that we see, we do recommend that applicants have about 2 years of work when they apply.

tish (Oct 24, 2006 10:14:05 AM)
in terms of outside activities what are you looking for?

GraceKimUSC (Oct 24, 2006 10:15:59 AM)
tish - In everyone's busy schedule these days, I know it is difficult to fit in volunteer/outside activities. If you have managed to find the time, then great. We will take a look at that as well and the amount of time and commitment you have put into it.

Linda Abraham (Oct 24, 2006 10:16:17 AM)
Are there any special considerations for re-applicants? Do you reviewers also like at least year's application when reviewing the application of a re-applicant? Do they just look at the reviewers' notes? Or do they ignore last year's application?

GraceKimUSC (Oct 24, 2006 10:17:26 AM)
There is no special consideration that we give to re-applicants. We do ask the re-applicant to let us know how there application has changed in the past year that would make them a better candidate this year. We don't ignore your previous application, but we also try to give your current application the most attention, since we don't want to taint out decision based on what happened last year.

tish (Oct 24, 2006 10:18:20 AM)
Can you submit your application by the deadline and choose to retake the GMAT afterwards if necessary, or does everything have to be done by the time the application is turned in?

VeronicaHoUSC (Oct 24, 2006 10:19:02 AM)
Yes, you can submit the application without taking the GMAT. You definitely want to email us once you've taken the exam and self-report your score to us. The actual GMAT score goes to a central USC database, and we get the score report at a later date, so it's best to email us directly as well.

Linda Abraham (Oct 24, 2006 10:20:07 AM)
How is hiring going this year? Were salaries up for 2006 Marshall grads?

VeronicaHoUSC (Oct 24, 2006 10:20:42 AM)
Yes, it was up! Let me look for the numbers. Our avg. compensation for full-time grads was $103.7 K

Linda Abraham (Oct 24, 2006 10:20:51 AM)
That would be great.

Linda Abraham (Oct 24, 2006 10:21:35 AM)
While Veronica is looking up those stats, Grace: Are there more companies recruiting on campus this year? Are any sectors particularly active?

Linda Abraham (Oct 24, 2006 10:22:40 AM)
Is that number salary and bonus?

VeronicaHoUSC (Oct 24, 2006 10:22:58 AM)
It is salary and signing bonus.

GraceKimUSC (Oct 24, 2006 10:23:25 AM)
Yes, there is an increase in companies. The Career Center is committed in getting more companies to recruit on campus. Each year we have had an increase.

Linda Abraham (Oct 24, 2006 10:23:35 AM)
How do you use the interview in the admissions process?

VeronicaHoUSC (Oct 24, 2006 10:24:22 AM)
The interview helps us get a sense of who the candidate is. Grace mentioned "fit" earlier, and this is part of what we look at in the interview. We also see the int. as a chance for the candidate to talk about his/her work exp. and communicate why he/she wants to pursue the MBA

Linda Abraham (Oct 24, 2006 10:25:01 AM)
Is there an advantage to applying in different rounds? What percentage of accepted students were accepted each round?

Linda Abraham (Oct 24, 2006 10:25:39 AM)
I guess the answer to the why MBA is also a part of the "fit" that Veronica alluded to.

GraceKimUSC (Oct 24, 2006 10:25:57 AM)
There is no advantage to applying in any round. The bulk of our applications come to us between January and March...

VeronicaHoUSC (Oct 24, 2006 10:26:16 AM)
Very much so. We also hope the candidate has researched USC Marshall and knows something about the program. We want the fit to be on both sides.

Linda Abraham (Oct 24, 2006 10:26:41 AM)
What is USC Marshall’s grade disclosure policy?

VeronicaHoUSC (Oct 24, 2006 10:26:55 AM)
Can you clarify? Do we disclose grades of our current students?

Linda Abraham (Oct 24, 2006 10:27:12 AM)
some school have a policy that students cannot disclose grades to recruiters. Recently some of those school have revoked that policy (Wharton for example).

VeronicaHoUSC (Oct 24, 2006 10:27:25 AM)
For us, it's up to the student.

Linda Abraham (Oct 24, 2006 10:27:29 AM)

GraceKimUSC (Oct 24, 2006 10:27:42 AM)
Each year is a bit different as to the percentage of admits each round. We don't have a quota system per round.

Linda Abraham (Oct 24, 2006 10:27:58 AM)
What are Marshall's strengths?

VeronicaHoUSC (Oct 24, 2006 10:28:24 AM)
In addition to the recent curriculum innovation, we have a very strong community. If you talk to students, you'll get a sense of that and we greatly encourage applicants to try and visit us. It's a terrific opportunity to see what the environment is like, meet students, and learn more about the program. So community is a key factor. It also leads to the USC / Marshall network. Our USC / Marshall network is huge and our international presence stems from alums, faculty and current international initiatives so our global presence is important, particularly in the Pacific Rim.

hugh (Oct 24, 2006 10:29:20 AM)
Could you speak to the strengths of the Greif Center and the role of entrepreneurship within the program?

GraceKimUSC (Oct 24, 2006 10:29:27 AM)
We try to provide a holistic experience at Marshall. Both in academics as well as the social aspects of graduate school.

GraceKimUSC (Oct 24, 2006 10:30:48 AM)
The entrepreneur program is very popular here. I believe that the program teaches you not only the basics of running your own business, but also the idea of venture capital as well...

Linda Abraham (Oct 24, 2006 10:31:02 AM)
Yes. Marshall has a fantastic study program on the Pacific Rim. Veronica, could you describe it?

VeronicaHoUSC (Oct 24, 2006 10:31:10 AM)
The Greif Center brings in renown speakers as well. You have a chance to meet and hear from very influential and accomplished entrepreneurs.

GraceKimUSC (Oct 24, 2006 10:31:35 AM)
We also have a business plan competition amongst the students

VeronicaHoUSC (Oct 24, 2006 10:31:38 AM)
There are many int'l opportunities at Marshall, starting with PRIME for the full-time program (called GLOBE for our part-time program). PRIME is a course and a Core requirement. Students will go on a 10-day business program.  This year, we've added Hanoi, Vietnam as one of the locations. It is paired up with Thailand. The PRIME/GLOBE program is constantly evolving to expose students to global business opportunities.

GraceKimUSC (Oct 24, 2006 10:32:00 AM)
You can also go on a study aboard program as well.

tish (Oct 24, 2006 10:32:20 AM)
How long are the study abroad programs?

GraceKimUSC (Oct 24, 2006 10:32:37 AM)
There are 14 partnership schools around the world. There is no language requirement for this.

VeronicaHoUSC (Oct 24, 2006 10:32:43 AM)
We have Fall and Spring semester exchange programs that last from 10 - 15 weeks. We also have summer exchange programs that are 3 - 7 weeks

TZU-HSUAN (Oct 24, 2006 10:33:49 AM)
I would like to know if I must follow the order to finish the essay 1 for MBA in 3 sections (short term goals>long term goals>how). Or I could integrate these three elements into one article.

GraceKimUSC (Oct 24, 2006 10:34:37 AM)
Tzu-Hsuan - You can integrate the questions within the section, but please answer the 3 questions.

tish (Oct 24, 2006 10:34:46 AM)
For financial aid do you offer a lot of merit base scholarships, and if yes what are some of the requirements of these scholarships?

GraceKimUSC (Oct 24, 2006 10:35:19 AM)
Yes, we do offer merit based scholarships. It is awarded to the top 25% of the class.

tish (Oct 24, 2006 10:35:46 AM)
Where are the other locations for the PRIME program?

VeronicaHoUSC (Oct 24, 2006 10:36:40 AM)
The locations for PRIME are: Chile/Brazil; Shanghai/Beijing; Cuba/Mexico City; Tokyo/Kyoto; The PRIME program is an opportunity for students to take on a consulting-type project with an int'l corporation. Other locations are: Thailand/Hanoi and Hong Kong. All programs include 2 locations. Hong Kong and Shengzheng

GraceKimUSC (Oct 24, 2006 10:36:42 AM)
As far as qualifications, it is based on all of the information you provided in your application, but all of the components have to be excellent.

TZU-HSUAN (Oct 24, 2006 10:38:14 AM)
I saw one of your concentration is the business of school. Is this course held by business school, or by education department?

GraceKimUSC (Oct 24, 2006 10:38:41 AM)
Tzu-Hsuan - Can you clarify your question? What specific concentration is it?

Linda Abraham (Oct 24, 2006 10:39:04 AM)
Grace, while he is clarifying: If applicants want to either communicate with or talk to current Marshall students, can they do so? If yes, how?

VeronicaHoUSC (Oct 24, 2006 10:39:41 AM)
Yes, they can email us at or they can also go to our website and find our Ambassadors, which are current students. I'll post a link. This is our Ambassador site:

Linda Abraham (Oct 24, 2006 10:40:22 AM)
Any last questions about USC Marshall admissions?

Linda Abraham (Oct 24, 2006 10:41:17 AM)
Thank you again all for participating today. Special thanks to Grace and Veronica for joining us today. I know it is a very busy time of year for you all.

Linda Abraham (Oct 24, 2006 10:41:24 AM)
We look forward to seeing you at future chats, and here is a list of the upcoming scheduled chats:

Linda Abraham (Oct 24, 2006 10:41:31 AM)
Consortium 2 Oct. 25 MIT Oct. 31 Columbia Nov. 1 CMU Nov. 9 Michigan Nov. 13

VeronicaHoUSC (Oct 24, 2006 10:41:36 AM)
Thank you all for your questions. Feel free to email us if you have more questions:

Linda Abraham (Oct 24, 2006 10:41:40 AM)
Please check for details and exact time.

Linda Abraham (Oct 24, 2006 10:42:17 AM)
Good luck with your applications!

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