University of Southern California
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Master’s Degree Programs

Marshall M.B.A. Program

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

A core of 15 essential courses is designed to build the foundation of skills required of all leading executives, develop collaborative talent, expand the student's vision with a global perspective and instill an innovative spirit. 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 Marshall M.B.A. curriculum is both broad and deep, offering students an opportunity to learn about business from varying perspectives. Marshall M.B.A. students develop:

  • a world view that understands and appreciates different cultures and economies;
  • a strategic perspective that understands the global dynamics of worldwide industries and new markets;
  • appreciation for the creative process, intellectual property and a commitment to continuous innovation;
  • an entrepreneurial spirit for initiating business opportunities and moving large companies forward;
  • an ability to integrate decisions and solutions across disciplines in complex decision-making environments;
  • a clear framework for ethical and values-based, decision-making supported by unyielding personal integrity and the confidence to act accordingly;
  • a professional presence and the ability to articulate a vision needed to motivate others and lead diverse teams of people.

Marshall M.B.A. graduates are collaborative by nature, innovative in spirit and global in perspective.

The Faculty

Instructors in the Marshall M.B.A. 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 Mar-shall weave theory with practice.

An Advanced Learning Environment

The educational approach of the Marshall M.B.A. 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 real managers on real projects.

Classes are taught in state-of-the-art caserooms featuring network access for every student. 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 M.B.A. Admission Office in Popovich Hall (JKP) 308; (213) 740-7846; Fax (213) 749-8520; Apply online at

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 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 for the full-time program is April 1.

Focus on Collaboration

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

Students are assigned to small teams for the first year of study. These teams are composed of students with diverse backgrounds and experiences to enhance the overall learning experience for each team member. In group projects, study groups and competitive assignments, teamwork is crucial to success. 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 Marshall M.B.A. program, students are, in many ways, pursuing one nine-month course because the individual courses and materials covered are highly integrated.

Instructors for first-year required courses are selected on two grounds: teaching excellence and their ability to work together as a faculty team. The first-year teaching team develops and evaluates selected assignments jointly, linking concepts across courses, and occasionally team teaches, examining complex business programs from multiple perspectives.


To develop students' abilities to master and adapt to constantly changing conditions, Marshall requires course work focusing specifically on the management of innovation and change. This competence will enable our graduates to excel in tomorrow's organizations. The courses in the basket focus on at least one of some key elements of innovation in business.

Professional Development for Leaders

Professional Development for Leaders is a year-long business communications 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 — required of successful leaders.


The global vision generated during the first year of the M.B.A. culminates with PRIME — Business Practices in the Pacific Rim. PRIME melds on-campus classroom study with nine days abroad. Students make a major presentation either on specific industry analyses or on consulting projects that they have undertaken. To date, students have studied in Sao Paulo, Brazil; Santiago, Chile; Shanghai, Beijing, Tianjin, Nanjing and Hong Kong/Shenzen, China; Havana, Cuba; Tokyo and Osaka, Japan; Mexico City, Mexico; Singapore; and Bangkok, Thailand.


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 exchange programs in cooperation with leading business schools around the world. Through this program students may attend a partner institution in Europe, Asia, Latin America or Australia. Students may choose to spend a semester abroad or may enroll in a summer program. Since many of the programs are taught in English, language proficiency is not a requirement for all countries. Students must complete the M.B.A. core and maintain a 3.0 GPA in order to participate in the exchange program.

Program Structure

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

first year "core" required courses*— first semester Units
GSBA 502aProfessional Developmentfor Leaders1
GSBA 509Marketing Management2.5
GSBA 510Accounting Concepts and Financial Reporting2.5
GSBA 511Managerial Economics2.5
GSBA 521Corporate Finance2.5
GSBA 524Data and Decision Models2.5
GSBA 533General Management1.5
GSBA 540Contemporary Issues in Competitive Strategy1.5

second semester Units
GSBA 502bProfessional Development for Leaders0.5
GSBA 504Operations Management2.5
GSBA 513Global Leadership andAccountability1.5
GSBA 515Contemporary Issues in Global Economic Strategy1.5
GSBA 526Global Economics1.5
GSBA 536Management Accounting1.5
GSBA 580Business Practices in the Pacific Rim (PRIME)1.5
Graduate business electives6
(500-level ACCT, BAEP, BUCO, FBE, IOM, MKT, or MOR)

Second year Units
Graduate business electives30
(500-level ACCT, BAEP, BUCO, FBE, IOM, MKT, or MOR)

Total units required for degree:63

*Innovation requirement: In addition to core courses required in the first year, all students must satisfy the innovation requirement by taking at least one class from a select list of approved eletive courses.

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