2018 Best & Brightest: Yash Gupta, USC (Marshall)

Yash Gupta

USC, Marshall School of Business

That sound you hear next door is probably me celebrating USC Football’s latest win.”

Fun fact about yourself: When I was a senior in high school, I acted in an Intel Commercial.

Hometown: Irvine, California

High School: Northwood High School

Major: Business Administration

Minor: Sports Media Studies

Favorite Business Course: Founder’s Dilemmas (with former HBS professor Noam Wasserman); The Business of Sports; Sports, Business, Media in Today’s Society

Extracurricular Activities, Community Work and Leadership Roles During College:

  • Marshall Business Student Government
    • Freshman Year: (Fall) Associate, (Spring) Director of Student Affairs
    • Sophomore Year: Vice President of Student Affairs
    • Junior Year: President
    • Senior Year: Senior Advisor
  • Sports Business Association
    • Freshman Year: (Fall) Director of Marketing, (Spring) Vice President of Finance
    • Sophomore Year: Vice President
      • Planned USC Marshall’s ‘Most Outstanding Professional Event’
    • Junior Year: Vice President
      • Named Most Valuable Board Member in USC Marshall
      • Planned USC Marshall’s ‘Most Outstanding Professional Event’
    • Senior Year: Co-President
  • Delta Sigma Pi (Professional Business Fraternity)
    • Freshman Year: (Spring) Vice President of Corporate Relations
    • Sophomore Year: (Fall) Assistant Pledge Educator, (Spring) Senior Vice President
  • Founder and CEO, Sight Learning (sightlearning.com)
    • Non-Profit Organization that has donated nearly $2,000,000 in used eyeglasses to students in Mexico, Honduras, Haiti, and India
  • Other Honors and Awards:
    • 2014 Nickelodeon Halo Award Winner
    • Invited to speak to 16,000 students at WEDay California
    • USC Trustee Scholar (Full-Tuition Scholarship)
    • Coca-Cola Scholar
      • Awarded to 150 HS Seniors around the nation
    • USC Schwarzenegger Institute Spotlight Award
      • Awarded to 1 USC undergrad per semester
    • Global Leadership Program
      • Freshman honors program
    • USC Dean’s List
    • BIG Initiative
      • Named one of the top 10 Sports Business Students in America by University of Michigan’s Sports Business Conference
    • Invited to attend Business Today’s Innovation conference
      • Selected as one of 150 students around the world to attend Business, Tech, and Innovation conference in New York
    • KPMG Case Competition
      • USC – 1st Place Winner
    • Boeing Case Competition
      • USC – 2nd Place Winner
    • USC Athletics Case Competition
      • USC – 1st Place Winner

Where have you interned during your college career? 

  1. Bill Silva Management, Marketing Intern, West Hollywood, CA
  2. Wasserman, Business Development Intern, Los Angeles, CA
  3. Wasserman, Digital Marketing Intern, Los Angeles, CA
  4. Wasserman, Global Consulting Intern, Los Angeles, CA
  5. Under Armour, Brand Marketing Intern, Baltimore, MD
  6. Fox Sports, Digital Sales Intern, Los Angeles, CA
  7. National Basketball Association, International Business Development Intern, NY, NY

Where will you be working after graduation? After graduation, I will be working for the Boston Consulting Group as a management consulting Associate.

What did you enjoy most about your business school? The two things I loved the most about going to school at USC Marshall were the people and the opportunities presented to me.

The people I met at USC Marshall from Dean Ellis and Vice-Dean Callahan, faculty and staff, and students and peers have all made a profound impact on me. Marshall is full of high-achievers – people who dream big and execute even bigger. Being surrounded by like-minded individuals has inspired me to do more to achieve success in and out of the business world while I’ve also had the chance to develop life-long friendships and relationships. The environment at USC Marshall is collaborative, not competitive, which makes learning from your peers much more feasible. I have found that I’ve learned as much sitting in the class as I have around campus and the culture of USC Marshall is a big part of that.

USC Marshall is also home to a plethora of opportunities that other business schools offer. From extracurricular clubs, leadership development, professional events, case competitions, stock pitch competitions, etc. USC Marshall has something that every business student can appreciate. For me, one of the most impactful experiences in college was a freshman year trip I did with 100 other Marshall students to Beijing and Shanghai. The trip, part of a freshman year honors program, was a transformative experience that allowed us to engage with major business players in China while also learning more about Chinese business and culture. The opportunity to go abroad as a freshman was an experience unique to USC and one that made me more culturally aware than my peers at other institutions. Opportunities like the China trip, being able to serve as President of multiple organizations, and professional exposure second to none have all made my USC Marshall experience unforgettable.

What is the biggest lesson you gained from studying business? Studying business has taught me that relationships are a key driver in success and that it is imperative not to burn any bridges on the path to success. Although I understood it was important to be well-connected, studying business has provided me a new perspective on how impactful having a strong network can be. In fact, I now believe that having a strong network is an absolute requisite in order to achieve success, not only in the business world, but also in other avenues of life.

What advice would you give to a student looking to major in a business-related field? Business is a catch-all major. Before deciding on pursuing business, make sure you are aware of some of the nuances within the business world and in the long-term try to pursue a business industry that aligns the best with your passions. In the short-term, be a sponge and pursue a job in which you will never stop learning.

“If I didn’t major in business, I would be majoring in or studying…Engineering or Computer Science. I would have loved to study Engineering or Computer Science in another life; I believe it would give me greater analytical rigor and ability. I also believe that I could have the self-sufficiency to code for my own projects and have a more technical skillset. However, if I did pursue engineering or CS, I would certainly go to business school to round out my education.”

What has surprised you most about majoring in business? I’ve been surprised by the diversity in the business world both in terms of the types of people who pursue business and the opportunities there are in business. Before coming to Marshall, I had a preconceived notion that business majors were generally like-minded, one-dimensional people. However, I have met eclectic, passionate students that come from and are motivated by diverse backgrounds. I have also seen job opportunities come up for friends in business that move away from consulting, finance, and accounting and into things such as fashion, tech, sports, music, and hospitality.

Which academic, extracurricular or personal achievement are you most proud of? I am most proud of the work I’ve done with Sight Learning, a non-profit organization that I founded as a freshman in high school. Sight Learning collects and distributes used eyeglasses to students in developing nations in addition to organizing free eye-clinics for these students and their families. Although Sight Learning started slow, it has grown over the past 7 years to an international organization with chapters around the world. Today, Sight Learning has helped more than 40,000 students around the world get eyeglasses, which have impacted students’ lives in and out of the classroom.

As someone who has worn glasses since I was 5, I know first-hand the impact they can have on education, and I am proudest of the fact that we have been able to contribute to students getting better access to education. My hope is that our glasses can directly or indirectly help families break the cycle of poverty and that the students we help stay in school will one day pay that forward and change the world.

I am also the fact that Sight Learning began as and has stayed as a youth driven movement. From our volunteers to our supporters, Sight Learning has been almost completely run by teenagers and young adults and my goal in running the organization has been to show that young people do have the power to incite change.

If you were a dean for a day, what one thing would you change about the business school? If I were a dean for a day, I would institute mandatory internships for students during the school year for at least two semesters. As someone who has interned during the school year four times, I have found that I have learned as much in the working world as I have in the classroom. I believe all students should look to supplement in-class education with real-world experience. Although summer internships do serve a similar purpose, I have found that interning at the same time as taking classes has a synergistic learning effect where I can more directly learn from and apply the concepts I have learned in class.

Which classmate do you most admire? I admire Andrew Loh, currently a junior at USC Marshall. I’m inspired by Andrew’s unique personality and his self-confidence and ability to be comfortable in his own skin. Andrew is always a positive, motivating, and composed person, even in the face of the most chaotic situations. Furthermore, Andrew is a loyal, trusting friend and is able to put aside any personal biases to give fair, accurate, and selfless advice. I believe everyone should strive to live life as Andrew does: honestly, courageously, and vivaciously.

Who would you most want to thank for your success? 100% my parents. Without the endless sacrifices my parents have made and continue to make, I would not be anywhere close to where I am today. My parents have served as role models and guiding lights in my life – they have always been models of composure, hard work, kindness, and honesty, all of which I hope to live my own life with.

What would your theme song be? “Lose Yourself” – Eminem. The song embodies someone who has to overcome self-doubt and adversity to succeed. As a whole, I can sympathize with the frustration and pressure to be great while also grappling with the fear of failure.

What are the top two items on your bucket list? Travel through East and Southeast Asia (Thailand, Japan, Korea, Hong Kong, Vietnam, etc.)

Learning and getting better at golf

Favorite book: Outliers – Malcom Gladwell

Favorite movie: A Bollywood movie: Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara

Favorite vacation spot: Anywhere with a beach and blue waters

What are your hobbies?: Anything Sports Related, Hiking, Traveling, Road Trips

What made Yash such an invaluable addition to the Class of 2018?

“Yash is the first student who came to mind when I thought “best and brightest.” I first got to know Yash last year when I became the advisor for Marshall Business Student Government (MBSG) and he was President of the organization.  I immediately liked Yash, and very quickly became impressed by his intelligence, leadership, and organizational skills.  MBSG was already a strong organization, but Yash re-envisioned it to focus more on what MBSG could do for all undergraduates at Marshall rather just the select members of MBSG.  Under his leadership, MBSG identified needs and concerns of their fellow undergraduates and worked together and with administration to develop potential solutions. An example: MBSG successfully lobbied to extend the hours of Feritta Hall (the new UG facility) so students could use the breakout rooms to study during evening hours.

“Yash is an outstanding student in the classroom, a natural leader, and a human being who is committed to improving his community and helping everyone be successful.”

“I thought Yash was one of best and brightest simply based on my interactions with him through MBSG–it wasn’t until just recently I learned how much more Yash has managed to juggle and accomplish beyond his role with MBSG. Just one example is that he founded and runs a not-for-profit organization which provides eyeglasses to students who need them but cannot afford them.”

“It’s a testament to Yash’s character that he never once bragged about all his other accomplishments and he always shared the credit with his team.”

“Yash gets good things done, all with a smile on his face and a positive attitude. Yash is the total package!”

Maureen McHale
Assistant Dean, Undergraduate Student Affairs and Student Advising
USC Marshall School of Business



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