The University of Southern California’s Marshall School of Business earned a gold medal in the P&Q’s 2023 ranking of best undergraduate business programs. placing No. 1 and knocking University of Pennsylvania’s The Wharton School out of the top spot for the first time in six years.
Marshall offers a quality business education that is characterized by experiential learning opportunities. Of the three methodological categories, Marshall placed highest in Admissions, where they came in 2nd. It placed 9th in Career Outcomes and Academic Experience.
USC Marshall’s average SAT score was 1480 this year, relatively high. The B-school had one of the most selective acceptance rates of all ranked undergraduate business schools this year at 9.03% — coming in just behind Cornell’s 4.17%, Northeastern’s D’Amore-McKim, Wharton’s 5.73%, Stern’s 6.60%, Carnegie Mellon Tepper’s 8.62% and Olin’s 9% — yet still more selective than top schools such as Michigan Ross, with an acceptance rate of 9.8%, and UNC’s Kenan-Flagler, with an acceptance rate of 10% this year.
Both internship and employment outcomes for Marshall graduates were especially strong this year. A perfect 100% of the Class of 2022 secured an internship before graduation. As for employment, the B-school did rather well as well — with 97.81% landing a full-time position within three months after graduation. The reported average starting salary was the 10th-highest of all ranked undergraduate business schools, coming in at $83,777.
For prospective MBAs, it’d be wise to become familiar with the way “breadth with depth” is used at Marshall. 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 Marshall, 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 in July 2021. “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 have the opportunity 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 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.
2021 Alumni say:
“I participated in the Undergraduate Student Investment Fund (USIF) in my senior year. As one of 16 students selected to manage a portion of the endowment, I was empowered by the guidance and trust of Marshall’s faculty in managing over $3 million of capital. USIF provided me with real-world investment experience with the safety net of an academic environment, simultaneously fostering academic, personal, and professional growth through a comprehensive program with active fund management, guest speakers from leading investment firms, a fund-sponsored trip to New York for experiential learning of the financial services industry, and a practical team learning environment with my peers.”
“I was a part of the GLP (global leadership program) as a Freshman. During Spring Break we travelled to Shanghai and Beijing to visit various companies and manufacturing settings to gain an understanding of global business. I have discussed this program in every interview I have ever had because it stands out to employers. Even working in the fashion industry it has come up as a point of interest.”
“USC’s Experiential Learning Center was an incredible tool that provided us with structured scenarios and then showed us footage to analyze our performance. Learning more about how I come across to others while speaking and interacting was an invaluable experience that changed a lot of my self-perceptions and behaviors moving forward.”
“I wrote a thesis senior year about cancel culture in music and it’s impact on consumers, labels etc. It was a unique opportunity to run solo research end to end and test hypotheses about a topic I was really passionate about. We got to do an analyses of our own data, conceptualize and present our ideas while also learning the process from other Marshall faculty and resources.”
“As part of the World Bachelor in Business program, we studied on 3 continents, and one of our classes was a hands-on semester-long consulting project with sustainable business in Latin America which culminated in a 1-week sprint and presentation on-site with the client. Best business simulation I’ve ever experienced while working with peers in other top business schools.”
“USC Marshall had an experiential learning center that focused on giving students the experiences that come far later in one’s career. These experiences taught not only the content of what went wrong, but how to deal with the situation emotionally. As a consultant, that is one of the most important aspects of my job: EQ.”