2023’s Undergraduate Business Schools To Watch

2023’s Undergraduate Business Schools To Watch

First day of the fall semester featuring students from the Marshall School of Business at USC. Photo by David Sprague

University of Southern California Marshall School of Business

There’s a new king of the undergraduate business school hill. After debuting on our proprietary ranking of the best undergraduate business schools for the first time in 2022, USC Marshall snagged the top spot in 2023.

In the process, it overthrew University of Pennsylvania’s The Wharton School, ending a five-year streak of Wharton wins.

That in and of itself makes it a business school we’ll be keeping our eye on in the coming year, but USC Marshall would have caught our attention regardless.

Marshall had one of the most selective acceptance rates of all ranked undergraduate business schools this year at 9.03%, while both its internship and employment outcomes were especially strong. A perfect 100% of the Class of 2022 secured an internship before graduation, and 97.81% of graduates landed a full-time position within three months after graduation. The reported average starting salary was the 10th-highest of all ranked schools, coming in at $83,777.

All of Marshall’s undergraduate business majors are fully STEM designated, a signal to employers that Marshall students have the technical skills needed in today’s business environment. Indeed, some of the Class of 2022’s top employers are destination companies coveted by business majors around the country. They include Amazon, Apple, KPMG, PwC, Bain & Company, Boston Consulting, Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley, and numerous others.

“Our employers tend to rave about our alumni’s preparedness, their passion and collaborative spirit. Employers also appreciate our graduates’ global perspective and ability to embrace disruption and change. One thing all employers tell us is that Marshall students stand out,” Raman Randhawa, vice dean for undergraduate programs, tells us.

In August, Marshall renamed its risk management program to the Peter Arkley Institute for Risk Management after a transformational gift the school will use to create the top risk management center on the West Coast.

And in 2021, Marshall announced that 51.4% of its incoming freshman class were women, the first time the school had achieved gender parity. The Class of 2022 was 53% women. Further, 26% of the students are first generation college students, 24% are international, and 25.4% are from underrepresented minority groups.

“Women are essential to fulfilling the unlimited potential and unprecedented responsibility that businesses face in the future,” wrote Dean Geoffrey Garrett in a news release at the time. “Gender parity in the undergraduate program represents a real milestone on our path to giving women access to the skills, network and opportunities they need to realize their highest aspirations as business leaders.”


We asked Raman Randhawa, vice dean for undergraduate programs and professor of data sciences and operations, to tell us more about Marshall’s innovations and differentiators. The interview is presented below.

What are recent and upcoming program developments and innovations that will enhance the experience of future students?

2023’s Undergraduate Business Schools To Watch

Raman Randhawa

At USC Marshall School of Business, we are committed to maximizing the value of the four years our students spend with us. We are particularly excited about two ongoing innovations: streamlined dual majors (joint degrees) that can be completed in 4 years and streamlined business master’s degrees (progressive degrees) that students complete in tandem with their undergraduate degree.

  • Joint Degrees: At Marshall, we have recently launched two new joint undergraduate degrees: Business of Cinematic Arts (with the USC School of Cinematic Arts) and Artificial Intelligence for Business (with the USC Viterbi School of Engineering). These programs combine the curricula of the two majors in an intentional manner to streamline and reduce redundancies, with innovative courses and capstone projects added to enhance specialization. All of this is done within the coursework/unit requirements for a typical 4-year undergraduate degree.
  • Progressive Degrees: Our students can add a Master of Science (MS) degree to their undergraduate degree and work simultaneously on both. This requires much less coursework than doing the two degrees separately. Depending on the degree and individual student course plan, these degrees can be completed within one additional year or, in some cases, in parallel with their bachelor’s degree.

What are your program’s two biggest differentiators from other top undergraduate business programs? How do these prepare students for their careers?

Our key differentiators are strong academics that develop our students’ technical business skills combined with unparalleled out of the class learning, all powered by our Trojan Network.

All our undergraduate business programs are fully STEM-designated. This is a clear signal to employers of the rigor and technical focus of our education. This also qualifies our international students to apply for the 24-month STEM OPT extension.

The Trojan Network is our uniquely powerful alumni network. Trojan alums are well-known for their desire to pay it forward to future generations of graduates and to go out of their way to help business students. Our alumni are instrumental in complementing our academics, by working with our faculty and staff in conducting workshops, bringing in projects for our students, hosting our student career treks across the country, and actively recruiting our students for internships and even full-time jobs.

What separates your graduates from other business school graduates?

Our graduates have a rare combination of the technical business skills in high demand in the labor market with the interpersonal skills needed to manage and lead in today’s complex social environment.

Explain the career services, programming, and extracurriculars that give your students an advantage in career outcomes?

Our students have access to an excellent in-house career department that caters to all their needs, from career education and exploration to career advising both for full-time jobs and for internships. We expose students to our career resources from day one and also provide special programming for international and first-generation students.

Above and beyond our foundational career workshops, employer information sessions and career fairs, we offer popular programming such as our Pizza & Professions, Exploring Careers, and Industry Insights series that brings in top industry speakers from various functional areas who talk about careers in their industries.

The Career Advantage Mentor Program (CAP) is our signature mentorship experience that matches students based on interests into small groups with successful working professionals, helping students develop both professional and interpersonal skills.

2023’s Undergraduate Business Schools To Watch

USC risk management class and students in Los Angeles. Photo by David Sprague

What are two key qualities that prospective students must possess to land a spot in your program?

Our students have strong academic performance and especially enjoy rigor in their pursuits and are passionate about leading change.

When alumni look back on their time in your undergraduate business program, what would they consider to be their signature experience?

Our students relish hands on-learning and opportunities to expand their horizons. Our alumni especially reminisce about their global experiences, including first year travel, study abroad, and global internships.

One of our signature experiences is the Global Leadership Program (GLP). This program includes a year-long first year course, taps into our Trojan Network of successful leaders, incorporates a global travel experience, and has significant out-of-the-classroom learning opportunities.

What is the most underrated feature of your undergraduate business program and how does it enhance the experience for your business majors?

USC is an intellectually stimulating campus with more than 20 top schools across which our students have access to more than 200 minors and nearly 200 majors. This gives our students unprecedented ability to build their own interdisciplinary path.

2023’s Undergraduate Business Schools To Watch

First day of the fall semester featuring students from the Marshall School of Business at USC. Photo by David Sprague

We encourage students to build depth with breadth, by first deepening their business studies within Marshall via one of our 9 carefully built specializations within business (business analytics, communication, entrepreneurship, finance, international relations, leadership, marketing, real estate finance, risk management). Then, complementing with either a minor or a second major from across campus.

Which employers are the biggest consumers of your undergraduate talent and what have they told you about your alumni that make them so special?

Our employers go beyond the typical finance and consulting industries. Our location in Los Angeles, the creative capital of the world, also makes us a hub for employers from the entertainment, media, sports, and technology industries.

For the class of 2022, some of our top employers included Amazon, Apple, “Big Four” firms (KPMG, PwC, EY, Deloitte), Bain & Company, Boston Consulting Group, Black Rock, Credit Suisse, Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley, Creative Artists Agency (CAA), NBC Universal, Walt Disney Company, CBRE, and JLL, amongst others.

Our employers tend to rave about our alumni’s preparedness, their passion and collaborative spirit. Employers also appreciate our graduates’ global perspective and ability to embrace disruption and change. One thing all employers tell us is that Marshall students stand out.

What else would you like readers to know about your program?

Our Greif Center for Entrepreneurial Studies serves as the entrepreneurial hub on campus, providing our students with both a formal academic curriculum via the Entrepreneurship and Innovation emphasis, and out of the classroom programs and experiences including the Incubator, Venture Fund, Blackstone LaunchPad, many case competitions and student organizations.

As a final note, as of this year, USC has added an Early Action option for applicants that has been very well received, and it has an earlier November 1 deadline.

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