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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 11 essential courses is designed to build the foundation of skills required of all leading executives, develop collaborative talent 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 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 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;
  • 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 Marshall 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 to apply for the full-time program is April 1.


The average Marshall M.B.A. 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 Jumpstart program and master the information before arriving on campus.

Orientation programs take place during the last week of July.


The academic program begins the first week of August with a 3-week intensive term that includes workshops in leadership and ethics and course work in management communication, strategy, statistics and financial accounting. Fall semester 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. 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 semester 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.

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.

Management Communication for Leaders

Management Communication for Leaders is a 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 — the Pacific Rim International Management Experience. 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 Sao Paulo, Brazil/Buenos Aires, Argentina; Shanghai/Beijing, China; Hong Kong/Shenzhen, China; Tokyo, Japan; Moscow, Russia; and Hanoi, Vietnam/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.

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 semesterUnits
GSBA 502Management Communication for Leaders1.5
GSBA 510Accounting Concepts and Financial Reporting2
GSBA 511Microeconomics for Management2
GSBA 524Managerial Statistics2
GSBA 533Organizational Behavior and Leadership1.5
GSBA 536Management Accounting1.5
GSBA 540Contemporary Issues in Competitive Strategy 1.5
GSBA 504aOperations Management1.5
GSBA 509aMarketing Management1.5
GSBA 521aCorporate Finance1.5

Select 2 of the following
GSBA 504bOperations Management1.5
GSBA 509bMarketing Management1.5
GSBA 521bCorporate Finance1.5

GSBA 580The Global Context of Business4.5
Graduate business electives12
(500-level ACCT, BAEP, BUCO, FBE, IOM, MKT, or MOR)

Graduate business electives27
(500-level ACCT, BAEP, BUCO, FBE, IOM, MKT, or MOR)
Total units required for degree:63

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