Feb 28, 2024  
USC Catalogue 2020-2021 
USC Catalogue 2020-2021 [ARCHIVED CATALOGUE]

Full-time MBA Program

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The Marshall full-time MBA curriculum is a comprehensive two-year (63-unit) learning experience develop outstanding leaders who act with positive impact and character in a rapidly changing economic, social and political world.

A core of essential courses is designed to build the foundation of skills required of all leading executives, develop collaborative talent, cultivate innovation and expand the student's vision with a global perspective. An individualized program of study, which begins in the second semester of the first year, allows students to acquire knowledge and skills in specialized functions within specific industries.

Recognizing that success in business requires more than a thorough knowledge of the vernacular of business, the full-time MBA curriculum is both broad and deep, offering students an opportunity to learn about business from varying perspectives. Full-time MBA students develop:

  • a strategic perspective that understands the global dynamics of worldwide industries and new markets;
  • an ability to integrate decisions and solutions across disciplines in complex decision-making environments;
  • a world view that understands and appreciates different cultures and economies;
  • a clear framework for ethical and values-based, decision-making supported by unyielding personal integrity and the confidence to act accordingly; and
  • a professional presence and the ability to articulate a vision needed to motivate others and lead diverse teams of people.

Full-time MBA graduates are collaborative by nature, innovative in spirit and global in perspective.

The Faculty

Instructors in the full-time MBA program are an inspired group of teachers who are passionate about nurturing the development of their students and are committed to the program and to innovative implementation. Scholars bring their latest thinking into the classroom and convey it so that students embrace ideas and learning with excitement and a willingness to demonstrate that learning and enthusiasm in their careers.

Recognized experts, academic specialists and industry leaders are actively involved in the program. Faculty known for their work in Marshall research centers offer industry collaboration. Many faculty connect with other schools in the university, tap into the strengths of innovative Southern California industries and engage our alumni across industries and globally. The valuable contributions of experience and expertise from individuals and organizations outside Marshall weave theory with practice.

An Advanced Learning Environment

The educational approach of the full-time MBA is a careful balance of case learning along with course work, lectures, experiential exercises and field studies. Students are members of supportive and challenging learning communities. The experience is hands-on and teamwork based, with extensive opportunities to work with real companies and managers on real projects.

Classes are taught in state-of-the-art case rooms. The Experiential Learning Center offers students opportunities for experimentation, video practice, simulation exercises and group preparation.

The full-time program is rigorous, intellectually demanding and time-intensive. Students typically spend 60–80 hours per week on course work and projects.


Applicants should have significant full-time work experience. Letters of recommendation submitted with the application should relate to the applicant's work experience. For more information, contact the Marshall MBA Admission Office in Popovich Hall (JKP) 308; (213) 740-7846; Fax (213) 749-8520; marshall.usc.edu. Apply online at gradadm.usc.edu/.

Application Deadlines

Admission decisions for the full-time program are made within four admission rounds. Applicants who submit completed applications (including test scores) to the Admission Office by the December, January, February and April dates listed on gradadm.usc.edu/ will receive notification in approximately six weeks. Applicants are urged to file a completed application as early as possible, as the applicant pool is extremely competitive. The final deadline to apply for the full-time program is April 1.

Summer Preparation

The average full-time MBA student is returning to school after completing five years of full-time employment. To help students prepare for their return to academia and refresh their knowledge of business fundamentals, Marshall provides non-credit tutorials and workshops via online/distance formats. Students complete the summer preparation materials and master the information before arriving on campus.

Orientation programs take place during the latter half of July.

Early Start to First Year

The academic program begins the first week of August with a three-week intensive term that includes graded course work in communication for management, strategy, microeconomics and professional values. The fall semester academic program continues with classes, workshops and study sessions meeting Monday through Friday.

Focus on Collaboration

The ability to work in and manage teams is becoming increasingly important in business practice. Building these skills during the program is a key part of each student's leadership growth.

Students are assigned to small teams for the first semester of study. These teams are composed of students with diverse backgrounds and experiences to enhance the overall learning experience for each team member. Teamwork is crucial to success in a variety of settings including group projects, study groups and competitive assignments. A greater understanding of teams is bolstered through formal discussions and presentations throughout the year.

In addition to formal team projects, a strong community of mutual support develops from the important role informal study groups play in the school's academic culture.

The Core: An Integrated Program of Study

Although the curriculum lists a series of required courses to be taken during the first year of the full-time MBA program, students are, in many ways, pursuing one nine-month course because the individual courses and materials covered are highly integrated.

The first-year teaching team develops and evaluates selected assignments jointly, linking concepts across courses, and occasionally team teaching, examining complex business programs from multiple perspectives.

Communication for Management

Communication for Management is a business communication course comprising class sessions, tailored workshops and ongoing individual and group coaching. First-year students are immersed in developing their presentation skills, interpersonal communication skills and emotional intelligence — the ability to understand and respond to the human side of business — all skills required of successful leaders.

Career Insight Seminars

Identifying and exploring potentially satisfying career paths is the starting point for effective lifelong career management success and the key to personal and professional growth and satisfaction. To support students in this process, all candidates attend a series of “Career Insight” seminars during the first semester of the program. These seminars improve students' functional and industry awareness, provide a deeper understanding into the future of business and industry, and as a result enhance decision-making in the areas critical to career development, satisfaction and success.


The global vision generated during the first year of the MBA culminates with PRIME. The final component of the Global Context of Business course, PRIME takes on-campus classroom study abroad for nine days. Integrating the classroom and international travel components of the course, students conduct research on industry- and company-specific business issues and report their findings in major presentations. Recent PRIME locations include Bangkok, Beijing, Hong Kong, Seoul, Shanghai and Tokyo.


Practical experience is critical to success in business. Marshall has developed an extensive network of prospective employers who offer internships during the summer between their first and second year. Successful internships often lead to job offers.

International Exchange Program

The Marshall School offers a range of international semester-long exchange programs in cooperation with leading business schools around the world. Since many of the programs are taught in English, language proficiency is not a requirement for all countries. Students must complete the MBA core courses and maintain a 3.0 GPA in order to participate in the exchange program. This program is open to full-time MBA and MBAPM students.

Program Structure

A total of 63 units is required. The following outlines the typical full-time student’s schedule:

Total units: 16.5

Total units: 16


Second Year

  • Units: .5
  • Additional graduate business elective courses (500-level ACCT, BAEP, BUCO, DSO, FBE, GSBA, MKT or MOR) sufficient to bring the total to at least 63 units required to complete the degree.

Total units required for degree: 63

Note: USC reserves the right to change, add or delete its course offerings and programs without notice.

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