After an impressive 13th place finish in our debut ranking in 2016, the University of Southern California Marshall School of Business disappeared from Poets&Quants’ second annual list in 2017. How come? The school, located in downtown Los Angeles. couldn’t muster up enough alumni responses to quality. For the famed Trojan Network, that’s not exactly an endorsement for the school. But USC is still a fine school with an excellent business school, whether it makes a ranking or not.
For high school students interested in studying business at USC, it’d be wise to become familiar with the term “breadth with depth.” The school’s administrators use it to describe the idea of studying the appropriate amount of depth in a student’s specific area of interest. This is reflected in the curriculum by a commitment to liberal arts even for business students.
Within the business school, students choose from a business administration major or an accounting major. However, USC Marshall has one of the most unique degree programs in the World Bachelor in Business Program. A joint program more akin to an executive MBA than a bachelors degree in business, students spend for years studying at USC, HKUST Business School in Hong Kong, and Università Bocconi in Milan, Italy.
“The World Bachelor Program in particular touches on things like university processes, admissions, housing, and medical insurance,” Vice Dean of Undergraduate Programs at USC Marshall Tyrone Callahan told Poets&Quants last July. “We had to make sure we considered every aspect of the program and what the student experience would be like. Through that I was able to learn a lot about how the university works in different capacities in a way that most faculty members are unaware of.”
Incoming students will also get to experience the state-of-the-art Jill and Frank Fertitta Hall. Before, the undergraduate population had been spread out among multiple buildings, but Fertitta Hall — opened this fall — serves as a hub for undergraduates at Marshall. Another relatively recent innovation made by Marshall was to “trim the fat” of unnecessary core courses. The result was freeing up a lot of electives.
“Within the business curriculum, students have a minimum of 24 free electives, and that’s enough to do pretty much every minor,” Callahan pointed out in his interview.
USC Marshall finished in a five-way tie for ninth in the most recent U.S. News ranking, but was not included in the latest Bloomberg Businessweek ranking because it did not hit the minimum student response rate. While Marshall finished seventh in the admissions category of Poets&Quants ranking, its 17th finish in employment data brought it down to 13th. At more than $278,000 in total cost for four years of tuition and fees and living expenses, USC Marshall is one of the priciest schools on the list.