On Friday, 18 November, 2016, we welcomed alumni from the University of Southern California to speak with our students and families about their college experiences. The panelists included Monita Maeloa, Marshall School of Business Class of 1992, David Lim, Marshall School of Business Class of 1991, and Charles Ill, Viterbi School of Engineering Class of 2009.
Although Marshall and Viterbi are two of USC’s most prominent undergraduate schools--both ranking in the national top 15 in their respective fields--USC is a large school, with 14 different undergraduate schools to enrol and almost 20,000 undergraduate students.
The panelists began by speaking, of course, about the near boundless academic opportunities they experienced during their undergraduate educations at this school.
“Personally," Monita began, “I felt that the curriculum and electives gave me the best fundamentals for business that I could have asked for”. She cited the very “hands-on” style of learning that USC emphasised. David also spoke to the practicality of a USC education. He noted that one of the professors he had in an introductory business course had a financial consultancy in downtown LA, and told his students that their marketing analysis they turned in would be put to the test in the real world. “Professors here are very industry linked,” he added, “not just here for research and publishing.”
But beyond their respective majors, each speaker took time to note the classes they took in other disciplines and across other schools within the university. David recalled a Film Studies class he enrolled in, which required him to watch old Hollywood films in his dorm and get an informal education about Al Capone from his American roommate. The elective challenged him in ways his Finance courses, or as he put it “I was out of my comfort zone—way out.” Likewise, Monita spoke about how much she learned by studying Japanese language, as did Charles in his Gender & Sexualities class.
But above all, they circled back to USC’s school spirit. As Charles put it, “USC is all about the Trojan family…we are very loyal.” This loyalty is fuelled in large part by the university’s dominant sports teams. USC boasts an incredible athletic legacy, one so extensive that if USC were it’s own country, it would rank 6th in the number of olympians produced—indeed, a USC student or alumni has won a medal at every Summer Olympics since 1906. Athletics characterise a lot of the USC student, the panelists mentioned that even intramural sports teams are filled with regional champions. And no matter what major or extracurriculars you pursue at USC, the crosstown USC-UCLA rivalry football game will always be a big event.
That being said, pride in USC extends far beyond sporting events. Being a Trojan stays with you way beyond your undergraduate days. As David Lim declared, “You become proud of the achievements of the school and all its alumni—it’s very infectious.”
When asked about campus life, Monita and David admitted that upon their most recent visits, they found that USC’s area of Los Angeles had changed quite dramatically. The university has been one of the greatest investors in real estate in the region, and the campus’s infrastructure is in constant development. From new student dorms, to academic halls, to the 190,000 sq. ft., $50 million biomedical research center, there are several large scale buildings projected to be completed within the next year. The investments the university is making in its campus and students shouldn’t be undervalued, as Charles so rightly observed, “When you’re making a list of university’s to apply to, look at the school’s trajectory—ask yourself where is that school going to be 10 years down the line?”
With stellar programs and resources, in everything from theatre to mechanical engineering to finance, USC’s future looks as bright as ever.
We'd like to give a huge thank you to our panelists and guests who attended. If you have any more questions or would like to hear more about similar upcoming events, please contact our admissions mentors at firstname.lastname@example.org