Larissa Purnell: 2016 Best and Brightest

Larissa Purnell USC

Larissa Purnell 

University of Southern California, Marshall School of Business

Hometown: Chino Hills, CA

High School: Troy High School – Fullerton, CA

Major: Business Administration

Minor: Health Policy and Management, Digital Studies

Favorite Business Courses: Strategic Management, Business Communication

Extracurricular Activities, Community Work and Leadership Roles During


  • Dean’s List, Presidential Scholar (Half-tuition), Society of Trojan
  • Women Scholarship, Town and Gown Scholarship
  • Marshall Business Student Government President
  • Residential Student Government Vice President of Community Outreach
  • Undergraduate Student Government Assistant Director of Community Affairs
  • USC Office of Admission Admissions Ambassador
  • Global Leadership Program participant – year long seminar taught by the Dean of the Marshall School of Business with a capstone trip to China visiting multinational companies.
  • Remedy through Music ukulele performer at senior homes and hospitals
  • Students Run LA Marathon Coach for local high school students
  • International Exchange Program Participant studying in at ESADE Business: School in Barcelona, Spain for a semester.

Where have you interned during your college career?

  • Northwestern Mutual (Los Angeles, CA) – Financial Representative Intern
  • Kaiser Permanente (Pleasanton, CA) – Digital Services Intern
  • MedTep (Barcelona, Spain) – Business Development Intern
  • Karten Design (Marina Del Rey) – Design Research Intern

Describe your dream job: Professionally, I dream to make a more delightful experience for people striving to live healthy lifestyles as they interact with technology enhancing their wellness. Therefore, I hope to pursue a career in strategic design or design research for products and systems supporting the future of healthcare.

What did you enjoy most about majoring in a business-related field? I am so thankful for all the networking and recruiting opportunities provided to the business majors here at USC that expose me to a variety of career paths to explore and real situations, such as interviews and competitions, to which I could apply my classroom knowledge. Furthermore, the peers in my classes are some of the brightest and most charismatic people I know. Learning alongside of them has challenged me to reach my potential and given me the greatest friends I can brag about.

Where would you like to work after graduation?

BCG Digital Ventures – Strategic Designer

Kaiser Permanente Innovation Consultancy – Design Researcher 

What are your long-term professional goals? Luckily, my strategy professor prompted us to create a 3-step plan, which challenged me to think about what I want my future to look like even though I’m enjoying being open to all the opportunities and possibilities available in the intersection of health and technology industries.

1st Step: Work for 3-5 years as a design researcher, customer insights consultant, or technology integration associate in the San Francisco region.

2nd Step: Dual Master’s Degrees:

  • MBA from the Kellogg School of Management and an MS in Design Innovation from the Segal Design Institute at the McCormick School of Engineering and Applied Science (Northwestern)
  • MBA and MS in Human Centered Design & Engineering from University of Washington
  • MBA and Master’s in Design from Stanford

3rd Step: Become a product/project manager or head researcher at Google Life Sciences, BCG Digital Ventures, or other leading firm at the forefront of innovating within the digital health space.

“I knew I wanted to major in business when…I took a business management course in high school and had the opportunity to intern for Kawasaki Motors Corporation. When I saw how helpful and applicable the lessons I learned in my business class were to my role at my internship, I realized the potential of what a business degree could have in getting my future dream job.”

“If I didn’t major in business, I would be…in an industrial and systems engineering program.” 

What was the happiest moment of your life? Finishing my first marathon with my grandma and parents waiting for me at the finish line.

Which academic or personal achievement are you most proud of? Regarding my last answer, I would say that the process and accomplishment or training for the marathon helped me realize the importance of health, both my personal health and the health of others. Therefore, I added a minor in

Health Policy and Management and landed an internship at Kaiser Permanente -both decisions ultimately steering me towards a passion I’m excited to pursue as a career after college.

What animal would you choose to represent your professional brand? I would say I would most closely associate with a Golden Retriever. In my case, that’s because of my ease of trainability, loyalty, and an affinity to be most energetic and productive when I’m around others or working with other people.

Who would you most want to thank for your success? Without a doubt, my parents are the most integral component to my successes in life – I would not be where I am today without their unwavering support in whatever I want to pursue and belief in my capabilities to achieve my goals. They are my #1 fans and they’ve set quite the standard for me to live up to if I  am blessed with the opportunity to be a parent. 

Fun fact about yourself: I swallowed a bee on my first rollercoaster ride, yet I am still a big fan of rollercoasters. Not so much bees, though.

Favorite book: How Will You Measure Your Life? by Clayton Christensen

Favorite movie: It’s a Wonderful Life

Favorite musical performer: (Very difficult question) Walk the Moon or Sara Bareilles

Favorite vacation spot: Anywhere with sun and a beach, preferably a more secluded/untouched beach.

What are your hobbies? Running, playing tennis, and jamming on my ukulele.

What made Larissa such an invaluable addition to the Class of 2016?

Larissa has taken full advantage of the opportunities provided at USC and Marshall, excelling in the classroom, getting involved in student organizations, giving back to the university and local communities and actively pursuing a career she is passionate about.  She has engaged as a student leader since she first stepped on campus, and she embodies the essence of what it means to be a Trojan.”

Anne Ziemniak
Director of Undergraduate Student Services
USC, Marshall School of Business