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Darla Moore School of Business


Video of Doug Hanslip

Internships were once regarded as the holy grail of experiential learning. The on-the-job experience was often key to boosting student skills and making a candidate more appealing to potential employers.

Today, says Doug Hanslip, director of career services at the Darla Moore School of Business, internships are more akin to entry-level jobs. “In many cases, having a degree with industry specialization and the accompanying skill certifications makes you a better, more differentiated and qualified candidate.”

But, says Hanslip, the deep specialization you can get from an MBA focused in an area such as finance, marketing, supply chain or global strategy can be further complemented by certification in a skill such as business analytics, enterprise resource planning or supply chain. And those skills can deliver key benefits for job searchers or the newly employed.

“Employers will move their consideration of a candidate up and, in many cases, pay a premium for students with those certifications or functional skillsets. Our graduates also find that when they join the workforce, the curriculum moves them ahead of peers — even those from other acclaimed business schools,” he says. “On the job, many also see a higher acceleration of promotion as a result.”

Moore School students within the One-Year MBA program and the nation’s No. 1 International MBA program gain deep, functional knowledge. Adding an MBA enhancement such as industry-level certification makes a graduate that much more of an expert — one with demonstrated expertise and proven skills that can deliver from day one on the job.

“Our graduates don’t just do well on their interviews, they do the job well on day one and hit the ground running,” says Hanslip. “Industry specialization and certifications you can pursue at the Moore School separate you out as top talent.”

Beyond functional specialization and industry certifications, students can also gain valuable skills through the school’s on-campus research and partnership centers and student business clubs and organizations. More than simply bolstering your resume, involvement in professional associations or clubs along with participating in project-based classes that feature experiential learning opportunities shows you have a real passion and drive to attain more experience and knowledge. Participation can also broaden your network with fellow Moore School graduates, industry insiders and partner companies.

As you learn skills, adds Hanslip, you have the opportunity to enhance your marketability to the workforce. That’s an edge the Moore School works hard to deliver for MBA candidates.

To learn more about the One-Year MBA or International MBA programs, email Diondra Smalls Black or call her at 803-777-3709.

Jennifer Ninh
Managing Director, Full-time MBA Programs

Moore School alumni are elevating corporate social responsibility at employers around the world. One is Renee Paris (’14 International MBA), a sustainability manager for Electrolux in Anderson, South Carolina.

At the home appliance company, Paris is the sustainability manager for food preservation in North America and focuses on sustainability goals for refrigerators and freezers.

“Electrolux has aggressive sustainability goals, including implementing climate neutral operations by 2030, making products more circular and driving the use of energy-efficient products,” Paris said. In my area, “we’re working on all sorts of exciting projects — increasing recycled content in our appliances; promoting sustainable eating, which focuses on reducing food waste and encouraging a plant-forward diet; and sustainable packaging initiatives — and much more! I work closely with the Stockholm team as well as coworkers in the U.S. and around the globe.”

Paris has always been civic-minded. As a student, she was part of an economic development project in Mamfe, Cameroon, while serving in the Peace Corps. After graduation, Paris joined a global packaging company, where she served and eventually led the supplier sustainability team. Later, Paris transitioned to a full-time focus on sustainable packaging due to the global plastic crisis. After National Geographic published an article about the plastic crisis, and China and other southeast Asian markets started declining U.S. plastics because of possible contamination, many consumer packaging companies created sustainable packaging goals and joined the New Plastics Economy initiative, says Paris.

“That decision fundamentally changed the economics of recycling in the U.S. New packaging legislation including Extended Producer Responsibility laws have passed in increasing numbers recently,” she says. “It’s all culminated into a large focus on sustainable packaging. Consumers value it, lawmakers are legislating it, investors are spending based on it and companies are pledging to do it. Companies are creating positions in sustainability that never existed before. The last three positions I’ve held — including my current one — were all brand new roles in the companies where I was working.”

Paris adds that corporate social responsibility is an expectation of many consumers. In addition, buyers don’t have issues purchasing other brands if one does not meet ethical standards.

“It’s no longer a delighter; it’s a gatekeeper,” she says. “A growing number of consumers expect companies to meet basic responsibility standards, and they have no problem calling out brands that do not play their part.”

With Electrolux, Paris says she uses the communication, data analysis and operations management skills she gained from the Moore School’s International MBA program every day. She especially appreciates the curriculum’s focus on cross-cultural communication, cultural values and similar topics.

“Understanding the different ways people think helped me immensely, both in foreign countries and back home,” she says. “The next big skill is data analysis. There are lots of vast spreadsheets that need to be interpreted. Being able to communicate with data is as valuable as being able to communicate with people.”

Finally, Paris said, many employers have a growing interest in lean operations.

“People do a lot of unnecessary, non-value-added work, sometimes only because it’s always been done that way.”

Learn more about another International MBA graduate’s experience in sustainability at Henkel, a German chemical and consumer goods company.

To learn more about MBA options at USC, email Diondra Black, Assistant Director of Full-time MBA Programs, or call her at 1-803-777-3709.

Claire McGrath

Moore School alumnus Mihai Scrobotovici (’19 IMBA) saw immediate impact from his International MBA education. After completing a rotational, 16-month leadership development program at Henkel, a German chemical and consumer goods company, he was promoted. He credits the skills he gained at the Moore School as a major role in his advancement to a finance manager within the company.

“First, soft skills,” Mihai says. “People management is most important when working cross-functionally and especially when managing projects. Second, business analytics. Henkel has been focusing on digital transformation and automation, so I was able to contribute to that goal in all program rotations from purchasing and IT to finance and business controlling.”

Mihai also was able to explore his interest in corporate social responsibility through Henkel’s voluntary, employee-led resource groups. “There are groups focused on climate sustainability, civil rights, community outreach, volunteer work, cultural diversity, sports and other topics,” he says. “They organize seminars, speaker events, activities, fundraisers, etcetera. I have participated in climate sustainability fairs, spent paid work hours packaging food for the local food banks, ‘adopted’ families in need for the holidays and have had the opportunity to participate in even more related activities.”

The exposure to Henkel’s corporate social responsibility principles so early in his time with the company was telling to Mihai. “An organization that inspires its employees top-down to produce ideas and then supports their bottom-up implementation is, in my view, truly socially responsible,” he says.

Social responsibility is more than public relations at Henkel. The company has integrated it into corporate standards and performance. “Henkel requires suppliers to submit to supply chain audits and contractually commit to a set of social responsibility key performance indicators. While it is all a work in progress, and more needs to be done, these increasing requirements trickle up and down the chain and make a difference.”

Mihai looks forward to continuing his interest in corporate social responsibility at Henkel for years to come.

“In a short time, I have learned that Henkel puts people and community first knowing the bottom line will always benefit as a result,” he says. “During the COVID-19 pandemic, I enjoyed job stability with a clear upward path in a familial, yet professional environment designed to foster my professional and personal growth. I couldn’t ask for more.”

Learn more about another International MBA graduate’s experience in sustainability packaging at Molson Coors Beverage Company in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

To learn more about MBA options at USC, email Diondra Black, Assistant Director of Full-time MBA Programs, or call her at 1-803-777-3709.

Claire McGrath

Video of Jeff Rehling

When you’re evaluating the quality of an MBA program, knowing the facts about who you’ll learn from and how is essential. That includes far more than a business faculty roster, according to Jeff Rehling, Center for Marketing Solutions Director and lecturer at the University of South Carolina Darla Moore School of Business.

At the Moore School, students learn from traditional research and tenure track faculty as well as lecturers and clinical faculty that bring robust real-world experience into the classroom. “The members of our clinical faculty have held management-level, director-level positions at leading companies around the world,” he says. “That provides our students with a strong balance of traditional academic-based learning and real-world practice in applying what they’re learning.”

Flexible delivery is another aspect that adds to the learning experience, too. “Most of our MBA students have significant work experience so there’s value in being face-to-face and talking to the students around you,” says Rehling. “We do have the technology to teach fully online if we need to and we have a handful of courses that mix in-person and virtual learning. We also bring in corporate partners from around the world, often virtually.”

The Moore School has made a conscious effort to control cohort size to ensure students have as high quality an experience as possible. “Smaller cohorts allow faculty to get to know the students and the students to get to know one another. They also allow us to take that more hands-on approach that we like,” he says.

The Moore School is also home to 12 faculty-led research centers. The Center for Marketing, which is led by Rehling, and the other research and learning centers strive to inject experiential learning and real-world projects into classes to give students the opportunity to apply what they’re learning.

According to Rehling, the choices made by the Moore School create an equally meaningful experience for program’s faculty. “I stay in touch with many graduates because we’re able to interact with each other in ways you just can’t in larger class sizes and programs,” he says. “I’m a huge fan of being face-to-face, rolling up our sleeves, and getting to know one another. There is so much to be gained from learning from one another and whiteboarding ideas together.”

The need to maintain one foot in the classroom and one in the business world is not lost on Rehling, who understands why students seek out the Moore School’s One-Year MBA or No.1-ranked International MBA program. 

“Many of our students are at a critical point in their careers and looking to make a change or a transition. The MBA is going to be the foundation of that pivot,” he says. “We want to provide as rich and robust an experience as possible to give them every chance to achieve their goals.”

To learn more about the One-Year MBA or International MBA programs, email Diondra Smalls Black or call her at 803-777-3709.

Jennifer Ninh
Managing Director, Full-time MBA Programs

Moore School management assistant professor Jeff Savage believes personal experiences and research are more than add-ons to the International MBA Global Strategic Management curriculum. They’re core coursework.

He works to make his class “Google-proof” by expecting more than recall of definitions and concepts. “Students review basic principles on their own so we can use class time to gain a ‘master’s-level’ understanding,” Jeff says. “They put in the work before class so we can apply tools and frameworks to real situations and engage in dialogue surrounding their use, their weaknesses and strengths, etcetera.”

Making the Business World Into Classrooms

Students also work on a project with a local startup, small firm or nonprofit addressing a key business opportunity or threat. The exercise solidifies academic concepts, and students see how strategy affects real employees, processes and tactics.

Class projects included analyzing global HVAC trends in sustainability with a multinational HVAC company; helping a sawmill startup prepare for a pending acquisition; devising key metrics for a stormwater management company’s chief operating officer; and, working with a local transit authority to develop a financing strategy that reduced reliance on government funding and improved user engagement.

One recent partner was GlassWRX, a ‘stealth-mode’ startup based in Greenville, South Carolina. “They are leveraging scientific breakthroughs to upcycle waste glass and other materials to create materials resulting in longer-lasting, more eco-friendly concretes, as well as materials that can better clean our air and water,” explains Jeff. “The students and I provided consulting on potential commercialization paths for the many applications of this technology — including market size, competition levels, potential partnerships, regulation pitfalls and optimal locations for building future plants.”

Exploring Issues that Impact the Marketplace

In group discussions, the class also games out how larger-scale strategic decisions could impact leading multinational organizations. “In 2020, the class spoke a lot about the launch of Disney+ and how Netflix should respond to that threat,” he says.

He also brings his research findings into the classroom. Centered on strategy, innovation and entrepreneurship, much of his recent research has focused on novel outcomes or novel scientific research. Recent topics have addressed how top innovators in South Carolina are able to routinely produce new and interesting outcomes; patent strategies and enforcement; and local national laboratories’ attempts to improve the commercialization of research.

Real-world experience isn’t just an afterthought in the Moore School International MBA program. It’s a strategy.

To learn more about MBA options at USC, email Diondra Black, Assistant Director of Full-time MBA Programs, or call her at 1-803-777-3709.

Marjorie Riddle Duffie

The University of South Carolina Darla Moore School of Business announced today that its International MBA program is ranked No. 1, according to the latest U.S. News & World Report’s Best Graduate Schools publication released on March 30. The International MBA program has been ranked in the top three for 32 consecutive years and No. 1 for the past eight years.

“The Moore School has proven once again that we are the top International MBA program,” said Darla Moore School of Business Dean Peter Brews. “A testament to our top-notch faculty and the overall excellence of our program, the No. 1 ranked International MBA in the nation shows that we are committed to providing an exceptional educational experience. As the No. 1 International MBA program, we prepare our students for future career success but also emphasize the importance of networking, integrity and resiliency.

“While possessing resilience was especially important during the COVID-19 pandemic, to ensure our students remain competitive in the demanding international marketplace and in their unmatched preparation to do business globally, we also offer our students an opportunity to become data proficient and analytically capable in a functional area so they are ready to add value to employers immediately upon graduation.”  

The Moore School’s 22-month International MBA program features one of the most comprehensive core MBA curriculums in the market, integrating global business principles with the longest in-country immersion of any International program based in the U.S. Students have the option to select from one of two tracks, the global track for in-country immersion where English is widely spoken, or the language track for immersion in an international environment that includes language study. The program also offers students the opportunity to obtain specialized certificates to further enhance their skillsets in high-demand areas such as business analytics or supply chain management.

The 2022 rankings are based on the 2020 graduating class, which were in the midst of their international immersions when the COVID-19 pandemic began and had to evacuate from their locations abroad.

“The International MBA students who graduated in May 2020 experienced firsthand what it meant when the world shut down outside of the U.S. Even with the challenges our International MBA students faced this year with the COVID-19 pandemic, they still showed immense resilience and learned how to operate within global marketplaces,” said Jennifer Ninh, managing director for full-time MBA programs. “The top experts in their fields, our international business faculty are able to share their illustrious real-life experiences in markets around the world to inform International MBA students’ ability to understand business in a global context. Our graduates are now working with prestigious multinational companies, and with the added knowledge of navigating a pandemic, are fully prepared to make a difference in their organizations.”

The Moore School’s Professional MBA program, the first of its kind when it was launched in 1970, is also ranked No. 1 in the state and is among the top 25 programs in the country. The Professional MBA program is currently ranked at No. 25 for part-time MBA programs, according to the 2022 U.S. News & World Report publication.

“The Moore School is continuing to build on the reputation of its No. 25-ranked Professional MBA program,” said John Jones, managing director for the Professional MBA program. “Our Professional MBA program enables students to immediately apply what they’re learning in their courses to their respective jobs. Completing an MBA while working full time prepares our graduates to strengthen their business acumen while building their network with peers from a variety of industries. Our innovative approach provides teaching from top faculty so our graduates can further impact their organizations and enhance their opportunities for advancement.”

The Professional MBA program offers a flexible, part-time format that allows professionals to complete their MBAs while they continue to work. The program can be completed in two years and has start dates in both January and August. Regional classrooms connected via tele-presence technology allow students to interact with peers across eight different locations on evenings and select Saturdays, and on-demand access — real time and delay — enables students to take classes on a schedule that meets the needs of today’s working professional.

Visit the International MBA and the Professional MBA web pages to learn more about these top-ranked programs. 

Marjorie Riddle Duffie

Video of Diondra Black

When you’re evaluating the cost of an MBA, it’s important to know all the facts. The cost of tuition is one of several value considerations, according to Diondra Smalls Black, Assistant Director of Full-time MBA Programs at the University of South Carolina Darla Moore School of Business.

“At USC, you’re not paying for the added expense of a university’s brand name or settling for a program without a blockbuster faculty,” she says. “Here, you’ll be part of a nationally leading program that’s led by a top-grade faculty, for half the cost.”

The One-Year MBA is a 10-month, full-time program that’s ideal for those ready to accelerate their career, says Black. “It’s designed to get you going quickly. You start with core intensive coursework taught by industry leaders, and work on consulting projects with local and global companies. Not only do you take part in real-world case studies, we put our students in front of top CEOs and top CFOs from global companies,” says Black. “You can tailor your degree to your goals and lifestyle — for just over $20,000.”

The International MBA is a 22-month, full-time program that includes a corporate internship and the nation’s longest international immersion. “You get to travel to another country, to live, touch, taste global business,” she says. “I believe the international immersion is what truly sets our program apart.” With 100% of International MBA candidates receiving scholarships that qualify them for in-state tuition, most students complete the program for under $35,000.

“At USC, if you receive at least a $2,000 scholarship, you qualify for in-state tuition rates. That’s one value that makes our program more affordable for more students,” she says.

The City of Columbia, where the Moore School is located, is known for its highly affordable cost of living. “I always hear from students that the cost of living is great here,” says Black. When you include the region’s mild winters, vibrant downtown living and lack of traffic and overcrowded streets, it’s a great way of life.

Last, says Black, it’s important to think about your end-game result. “Graduates often come out of our programs with salaries of $100,000-plus,” says Black. That enviable starting salary is backed by USC MBA students’ being fully prepared — in every sense — for the working world.

“It’s not only about the salary,” explains Black. “It’s about preparing people to enter careers where they’ll be happy, where they can be passionate, and where they won’t want to change jobs in the next year.”

At USC, value isn’t just the price you pay for tuition. It’s everything you can gain by choosing a nationally respected MBA program that allows you to maximize your income and potential for less than you’d spend for comparable programs.

To learn more about the One-Year MBA or International MBA programs, email Diondra Smalls Black or call her at 803-777-3709.

Jennifer Ninh
Managing Director, Full-time MBA Programs

Darla Moore School of Business International MBA candidate Robert Campos Renteria (’21 IMBA) is a first-generation student whose entrepreneurial family inspired him to reimagine his future.

After earning his undergraduate in biology from Clemson University in 2017, Robert’s career plans morphed from bodies to business. “My family wanted me to be a physician,” he says. The South Carolina native’s parents and uncle are Hilton Head Island business owners. “Seeing that growing up made me passionate about business,” he says.

A Love of Business Drives a Next-Level Education
Robert began his career as a UPS sales representative before becoming an account executive. He credits UPS for showing him many aspects of business such as marketing, finance, operations, management, and how they work together.

His entrepreneurial instinct brought him to the Moore School. “I thought having an MBA could guide me once I had to make high-stakes decisions,” he says. Along with his International MBA, he will hold a Graduate Certificate in Business Analytics with a specialization in marketing when he graduates in May. “I am glad I made the leap,” he says. “I feel better prepared to handle challenging situations in business.”

Pandemic Sparks Creative Solution
When the coronavirus pandemic sidelined his program’s study abroad experience in Guadalajara, Mexico, his entrepreneurial streak struck again. “A few classmates and I created an independent study by partnering with a startup from Mexico City, Mexico,” he says. “Our goal was to deliver a go-to-market strategy that would be effective in the U.S. With our knowledge of American culture and marketing, we were excited to be part of something useful for this business.”

Robert’s two months in Mexico taught him much about the country’s history and honed his professional skills. “The experience taught me persistence. We had to do a lot of cold calling and become more comfortable with the unknown,” he says. “With so many changing variables, especially during the pandemic, planning and risk mitigation were key in keeping us and people around us safe while still being innovative and helping an international business move forward.”

Raising the Bar for Future Generations
After graduation, Robert anticipates another move — thousands of miles from his South Carolina home. After a cross-country move to Seattle, he’ll join Microsoft’s Azure Cloud Services team as a marketing manager.

“I’ll start in a rotational program and work on three different teams and projects,“ he explains. “My work will include user experience, business strategy and branding for Azure. I’m excited to jump in and make an immediate impact.”

Robert hopes his career makes his family proud while challenging future generations. “When no one in your family has been to college, it’s difficult to envision a life different than your parents’,” he says. “I’m happy to show younger generations the way if they choose higher education.”

To learn more about MBA options at USC, email Diondra Black, Assistant Director of Full-time MBA Programs, or call her at 1-803-777-3709

Marjorie Riddle Duffie

Moore School alumnus Bill Harley (’93 MBA) is an experienced entrepreneur who has been part of six startups in the past 23 years. Maneuvering a company through a worldwide pandemic is one obstacle he hadn’t experienced until 2020.

Harley is the CEO for Zeriscope. With clients across the U.S., in Africa and soon in Haiti, Zeriscope is a medical technology firm that develops specialized mobile telemedicine solutions for focused medical use cases.

“As the CEO of a startup, I am deeply involved in most every aspect of the company from engineering and business development to general administration,” Harley said.

Harley and his team at Zeriscope adjusted to the pandemic by eliminating travel and moving most meetings online.

Keeping employees and patients safe was Zeriscope’s top priority as they grappled with how to deliver services from a predominantly virtual staff.

“Zeriscope has tailored systems for providers to use in hospitals to limit exposure to patients with COVID-19,” Harley said. “We are also supporting health care clients who provide care for sickle cell disease in developing countries but who are not able to travel to those countries due to COVID-19.”

In the six months since the pandemic began, Zeriscope’s biggest challenge was helping to convert a National Institute of Mental Health-funded in-person clinical trial of its new system to treat PTSD to a completely virtual trial, Harley said.

“Fortunately, our clinical partners were eager to keep the trial going, as was Zeriscope, and we were able to obtain approval from the National Institutes of Health and the Institutional Review Board to make the modifications without impacting the efficacy of the trial,” he said.

Harley said he is proud of the technology Zeriscope is developing in the PTSD trial with an experienced group of therapists to potentially change and save lives. 

“The work we are doing with providers in the treatment of PTSD is expected to revolutionize the current protocols and significantly increase the effectiveness of treatment,” he said. “PTSD is a debilitating mental health condition that increases suicide risk and affects up to 20 percent of military veterans and 8 percent of the general public. Data on U.S. Army soldiers reveals that service members with, as compared to without, PTSD are six times more likely to commit suicide.”

As CEO of Zeriscope, Harley concentrates on all aspects of the business; he said he has a great team to help him deliver their services. Before completing his MBA, Harley focused more on the technical nature of his work as a mechanical engineer until he was able to combine those skills with his MBA.

“My MBA experience has been invaluable in my business career,” Harley said. “I can’t imagine running a business without understanding accounting or the fundamentals of marketing.”

Harley’s companies he helped create before Zeriscope ranged from an internet consultancy group, Xcelerate, a marketing and distribution company of commercial fuel additives, Cenergetics, to a national provider of in-home medical mobility and respiratory equipment, MRB Acquisition Corp.  

Because of his entrepreneurial success, Harley previously served on the Moore School’s Faber Entrepreneurship Center advisory board for four years. He currently serves on the USC McNair Institute for Entrepreneurism and Free Enterprise, which encourages students to participate in entrepreneurism.

Marjorie Riddle Duffie

Moore School International MBA Alumnus Joey Smith developed a passion for working with overseas businesses while living in Vietnam for more than seven years. Smith’s experiences in Vietnam led him to pursue a career that would allow him to work with multinational companies.

In 2017, Smith returned to the U.S. from Vietnam and started working in development and fundraising at Neighborhood House Charter School in Boston. Within this position, he missed interacting with international businesses.

“It was a great experience, and I loved Boston, but I really missed the exposure to international markets, so I had to have an honest conversation with myself and had to do some self-reflection on how my career interests and capabilities had changed while living overseas,” Smith said.

After reflecting and realizing that he wanted to further his education in international business, Smith started researching different graduate programs and said he became very intrigued by the Moore School IMBA program. When he visited campus, Smith said he was able to meet with key faculty and staff, sit in a classroom, talk with students and get an overall feel for the program.

“The university’s status as the top International MBA program was a big draw,” he said. “Honestly, I had never correlated South Carolina with international business education, but their track record was impressive. I pursued the global track, and the opportunities and projects that we are discussing appealed to what I was looking for in a graduate experience.”

Starting an IMBA at the Moore School, Smith said it was an adjustment getting back into the groove of being in a classroom again. He said that the students in his cohort helped him tremendously as they were always eager to lend a hand when needed.

“It was really fun getting to know people from a variety of backgrounds while learning how to balance each other’s strengths across projects,” he said.

In spring 2020, Smith and his teammates won the USC COVID-19 Ideas Challenge with a proposal for a new educational gaming platform called PlayGround. Smith said that PlayGround would allow students to work collectively on projects and assignments in a virtual setting. As students work through material, they would be rewarded with enhancements that they can use toward their virtual characters such as special outfits, hair, accessories, among other things.

This experience allowed Smith to enhance his already existing planning and proposal skills. The project also helped him learn how to work on a tight deadline as the group only had 12 days to decide on a concept, mold it into a business plan and formalize everything for submission.

“I came to graduate school to learn and fill skill gaps, so I’ve had some really beneficial classroom experiences,” he said. “[International Business Professor] Tatiana Kostova and [Management Assistant Professor] Jeff Savage’s courses were highlights that I continually reference.”

Smith said he hopes to utilize the skills and knowledge that he has gained from his courses in a strategy or consulting role after graduation in 2021. Eventually, he would like to have his own consulting organization that works with small towns on turnaround and improvement strategy, he said.

“I love the collaborative nature of the work needed to achieve the end goal,” he said. “The aspect of continuous learning through the varied assignments is incredibly appealing, and I feel like it’s an opportunity to make meaningful, lasting impact in the work I do, which is really important to me after spending so much time in the nonprofit sector.”

He said those who are considering getting their IMBA need to think about how important an international focus is for the work they want to be involved in. He also said that it is a good idea to speak with faculty and connect with students and alumni to get a more holistic view of what the experience is like. “It is challenging, and you will leave the gate running,” Smith said. “But you’ll have a support network, and everyone is in it together. Don’t be afraid or too proud to ask for help. I would also add that it’s OK if you switch your focus. I came in thinking I was going to focus on marketing, but exposure to more strategy-, case- and consulting-style courses helped me to realize what my true passions were.”

Claire McGrath

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The Moore School’s newest full-time MBA cohort is one of the first groups of students to attend classes at USC in person since the COVID-19 pandemic began; they may be among the first groups of college students in the U.S. to meet face to face since courses across the country went virtual in March.

The summer 2020 MBA cohort was given the option to return to face-to-face instruction in July or continue virtually learning depending on their comfort level. For those who choose to attend in person, university protocols are in place to keep faculty, staff and students safe and healthy.

“The MBA program staff has been able to pull together to create a sense of community and create a network that’s virtual in ways we never have before,” said Jennifer Ninh, managing director of full-time MBA programs.

MBA candidate Sean Maurice said he appreciates having the option to attend class in person or virtually.

“Even though we’re social distancing, I still feel very close to my fellow classmates,” Maurice said.” We’re always messaging on [Microsoft] Teams or What’s App. It’s just been a really good experience so far.”

The MBA students are adapting, and courses are operating smoothly, said Doug Hanslip, director of career services for the full-time MBA program in the Moore School’s Office of Career Management.

“We’re all wearing masks, and as a teaching faculty, we are offering dual virtual and in-classroom instruction,” he said. “There’s a little bit of adapting between the two mediums when you’re going back and forth, but students have grasped both formats and the duality of the teaching styles very effectively.”

Including this new group, the Moore School’s MBA program is continuing to grow; enrollment has doubled in size over the past two years. This is the largest class the Moore School has had in their full-time MBA program in close to 10 years.

Not only have the quantity of students increased, but the program has also seen an increase in the professional and personal diversity students bring to the table.

“What I think is very impressive, there’s a lot in the news today about the decline of the MBA marketplace overall with some schools closing their MBA programs, but our program’s enrollment has increased almost 100 percent in the past two years,” said Jeff Rehling, marketing lecturer and director of the Center for Marketing Solutions, a key advisor for MBA strategic marketing. “Not only has the Moore School done it with greater numbers, we’ve recruited higher quality students with more work experience and from a variety of professions and industries. Our program really is representative of the ‘real world.’”

In this year’s class of MBA students, their career backgrounds include consultants, engineers, a professional musician, a pastry chef, returned Peace Corps volunteers, a minister and military veterans. They are from 16 states and five continents. The 2020 students also have an average of four years’ work experience with companies like PricewaterhouseCoopers, the U.S. House of Representatives, UPS and KABOOM! that they’re bringing into the program.

One of the reasons students choose the Moore School’s MBA is to find a “springboard in their careers, or they are looking to make a pivot and try something different. Our leadership in terms of globalization and international business is built to help them achieve these goals,” Rehling said.

The Moore School’s International MBA is ranked No. 1, according to U.S. News & World Report, and has been in the top three for 31 consecutive years and No. 1 for seven consecutive years. 

“If you think about what’s been going on for the past several months [with the pandemic], I don’t think the International MBA could be any more relevant than it is today,” Rehling said. “That’s why we take a lot of pride in that No. 1 ranking and the things that we accomplish with our students in providing them with opportunities to learn from one another and continuing to be a leader not just in South Carolina or the U.S. but around the world.”

While learning from “world-class faculty with global experience who are world-renowned researchers,” MBA students also learn from the students sitting next to them in class, where students share their experiences from the industries they’ve worked in and the jobs they’ve held while making connections to real-life situations, Rehling added.   

The Moore School has made intentional enhancements to the full-time MBA program over the past several years to drive the growth in both the quality and quantity of students choosing the program.

“About three years ago under the guidance of Dean Peter Brews, we revised the curriculum to meet the demands of a changing marketplace,” said Satish Jayachandran, associate dean of full-time MBA programs and chair of the marketing department. “As a consequence, our students today can get a great MBA or International MBA education and supplement that with certificates in business analytics, enterprise resource management, or for the IMBA certification, global strategy as well.”

With increasing demand for their program, the Moore School MBA faculty and staff are determined to meet the demands of employers by continuing to provide a holistic, relevant experience that prepares MBA graduates for a competitive, globally focused marketplace, Ninh said.

Marjorie Riddle Duffie

The University of South Carolina Professional MBA program at the Darla Moore School of Business focuses on providing students practitioner-based knowledge that they can immediately apply to their careers.

As students in the PMBA program also hold full-time professional positions, the goal of the program is to enable its students to become more valuable members of their organizations from day one of the program.

“The power of the Professional MBA program is in the practical knowledge that I have learned across the disciplines of business,” said Tiffany Crumpton, a current PMBA candidate. “Areas such as management, marketing, accounting, finance and quantitative methods are coupled with the learnings from the classroom and are immediately applied to my work.”

The PMBA research and clinical faculty are bright professors who are also business consultants and engaged industry professionals; this enables them to provide relevant, real-world examples of the practices they are teaching. Therefore, PMBA program students are presented information about timely topics pertinent to real-world business issues.

“I present topics like budgeting, cost-volume-profit analysis and short- and long-term decision making in my managerial accounting class,” said Robert Lipe, the faculty director of the PMBA program. “A number of students have said they took those lessons and applied them the next week at work.”

While faculty will cover some theory and conceptual learning in the classroom, Moore School PMBA students are exposed to a wide array of practical applications of their degree. Laura Cardinal, a PMBA program professor, said that these “frameworks” help students manage sustaining and disruptive innovations in their career work.

“These frameworks enable professionals working in small firms and large corporations to think strategically about anticipating shifts in their industries and creating new capabilities to better manage the life cycle of innovation in their organizations,” Cardinal said.

Thomas Victa, a product manager who is currently enrolled in the PMBA program, said that the “framework” from the PMBA program has allowed him to “look at my business through a new lens.”

“My marketing classes, particularly Professor [Mark] Newsome’s, have really helped me create a winning product strategy and connect the dots between the consumer and successful products and brands,” Victa said.

The Professional MBA program exposes business professionals to new ways of approaching their work and empowers them to utilize their knowledge to advance their organizations, industries and careers.

With the University of South Carolina PMBA program, a well-respected MBA is closer than you think.

You don’t have to amass huge amounts of student debt to earn a quality business degree. The best part, with eight classroom sites and a flexible, distance-learning format, the Professional MBA program allows you to access your coursework in your region.

While the Darla Moore School of Business is physically located on USC’s main campus in Columbia, South Carolina, seven distant classrooms join the Professional MBA program classroom in Columbia. Professor Bob Lipe, the faculty director for the PMBA program, said the “telepresence” technology used in the PMBA program allows students to learn alongside their peers, even if they are situated in various locations across the state.

“In my class, students attending in Greenville, for example, feel like they are in one big classroom where they can gain insights from me in Columbia or another student in Charleston, even though we are many miles apart,” Lipe said. “Yet, when it is time for an in-class group exercise, the Greenville students huddle with their colleagues in the classroom for in-person debate of the problem I have assigned. The experience is like being in a classroom where all of the students are learning together without the long drive to Columbia each week.”

Further, if a student’s work schedule or other commitments interfere with their ability to be present in one of the live classrooms, a web-based platform for lectures is available. This allows students to be a part of the class from wherever they may be. During the spring 2020 semester, Lipe said he had a student complete his course via the web-based platform from Wuhan, China.

The web-based platform allows students to attend sessions from virtually anywhere. Nicholas Fernandez, a PMBA student who enrolled in the program when he lived in Charlotte, North Carolina, received a professional promotion in the middle of his MBA coursework that required him to move to Florida. Fernandez was able to complete the program virtually; he plans to graduate in summer 2020.

“As you can imagine, this promotion was a great opportunity for me as it was a chance to participate in an executive role at a regional level,” Fernandez said. “Luckily, I have full flexibility to complete the PMBA program, but I definitely rely on the remote connectivity [to complete my coursework].”

Lipe added that the synchronous component of the PMBA courses, which allows students and professors to interact during every session, is far superior to fully asynchronous online programs offered by some competitors. Even if students’ schedules prohibit them from attending the live sessions, they can watch the replay of the course and still benefit from the live instruction.

Whether class is attended live from a distant classroom, your own home or a different country, the Moore School PMBA program allows working professionals like you to earn a valuable MBA degree that can advance your career.

Taking on the work associated with earning a graduate degree while maintaining a full-time job may sound daunting, but the flexibility of the University of South Carolina’s Professional MBA program allows students to find a balance between their course work, career and personal life.

“The nature of the program helps you develop and hone time management and prioritization skills,” said Thomas Victa, a PMBA candidate who began the program in 2018. “Working a full-time job while in graduate school is a challenge, but the PMBA program is designed to help you manage your time.”

PMBA student Nicholas Fernandez has three young children and accepted a leadership promotion at First Citizens Bank during the final stretch of his PMBA coursework. Fernandez relocated to Boca Raton, Florida, in fall 2019 and is completing the remainder of the PMBA program remotely while overseeing the integration of two banks into the First Citizens Bank system.

“Flexibility has become key in my life as things change routinely and I have to adapt,” Fernandez said. “Time slots are limited, so I try to make the most of my schedule and catch up on the weekends. I have full flexibility to complete the PMBA program, but I definitely rely on the remote connectivity. I also routinely travel back to Columbia, South Carolina, for the Saturday sessions when I can.”

The blended learning format of the PMBA program allows students to complete their courses while managing the demands placed on today’s working professionals. Fernandez said that, due to the time commitment that the bank mergers require during the workday, he often does not begin his schoolwork until after dinner.

“Balancing a family, my new role and graduate school has been extremely challenging,” Fernandez said. “Effectively, without the flexibility of the PMBA program, I don’t think it would have been feasible for me. The balance lies in effective time management, sticking to a routine/schedule, prioritizing deadlines/tasks/projects well in advance, flexibility to adjust and adaptability.”

Erika Davis, a 2018 PMBA program graduate, is also thankful for the flexibility she experienced while completing the program. Now RDI North America logistics coordinator at Michelin, a promotion she earned while completing the PMBA program, Davis managed her coursework while raising her then-10-year-old daughter, Alessa.

“Finding work, home and school balance required a lot of sacrifice,” Davis said. “In the beginning, it was more of a challenge to find how all aspects of life and the new challenge of the PMBA program would fit together. By the second semester, a routine formed, and time management was a key factor in the driving success of course work.”

Finding immense success from her perseverance through the PMBA program, Davis said she is grateful that the program allowed her to “show my daughters that you can accomplish anything you want if you put in the work.”

“Professionally, [the PMBA program] has shown me that I can manage my time and put in the work to succeed at the tasks presented. It has opened doors for new job positions to advance in my career,” she said.

The PMBA program at USC’s Darla Moore School of Business offers a flexible, accessible MBA for professionals from all industry backgrounds who are looking to gain the skills and networks needed to accelerate their career.

Are you ready to advance your education and career and apply for the University of South Carolina’s Professional MBA program? Applying for the PMBA program requires a bit of planning on your part, but the process is not as intimidating or time consuming as you may think. Plus, with the fall 2020 round-three application deadline on July 15, 2020, there is still plenty of time to prepare and submit your application.

As you prepare to apply for the PMBA program, consider these steps to help you simplify the application process.

Begin compiling your transcripts from your previous educational institutions. Unofficial transcripts are accepted for the PMBA application, so reach out to the institution if you don’t have an updated version of your transcript.
Identify and reach out to individuals who will write your recommendation letters. The PMBA program requires two recommendations, so it is a good idea to begin engaging early with the people who will write your references.
Determine your GMAT (Graduate Management Admissions Test)/GRE (Graduate Record Exam) status with the Moore School.In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, any PMBA candidate that can demonstrate strong academic performance and quantitative skills may apply for fall 2020 admission without GMAT or GRE scores. Learn more about test exception requirements.

If you need standardized test scores to strengthen your application, both the GMAT and GRE are currently offering virtually proctored exams, so there is still time to fulfill this application requirement. You may submit your PMBA application and send in your test scores after you receive them. Candidates who have previously taken the GMAT or GRE may submit those scores; GMAT and GRE scores remain active for five years.

Once you have gathered your transcripts, recommendations and test scores (if needed), you are ready to begin applying for the PMBA program.

May 2020 PMBA graduate Karen Canup attended an information session, applied for the GMAT/GRE waiver and was accepted into the program in a matter of weeks.

“The application process was very simple. I attended one of the information sessions at the USC-Upstate campus, and the recruiter who hosted the session was very helpful in guiding me through the process,” she said. “It seems very intimidating to take on the challenge of the PMBA program while in the midst of a full-time career, but it is an awesome learning experience and so worth the effort!”

If you have questions about the application process or the program in general, you should contact a PMBA recruiter.

The part-time Professional MBA program at the University of South Carolina Darla Moore School of Business offers students the opportunity to earn an MBA degree with flexibility, affordability and access to industry-experienced faculty.

The program, designed for working professionals with at least two years of professional experience, can help you secure a promotion, gain insight into your industry and expand your business knowledge.

The top-ranked part-time MBA program in South Carolina, the Moore School’s PMBA program is ranked the number 23 program in the United States by the U.S. News and World Report. This highly accessible program works with your schedule and allows you to complete your coursework in tandem with your work schedule. Because PMBA sessions are held in the evenings and on select Saturdays, you can attend class after work and then apply what you learned the next day at the office.

With eight educational sites across South Carolina and Charlotte, North Carolina, the USC PMBA program allows students to experience most of what the full-time MBA program offers with flexible course options. As a PMBA student, you can virtually attend class or download recorded lectures and watch them on your own time, so you don’t have to sacrifice attending courses if you travel for work or have other obligations.

Even if you chose to complete the program virtually, you are still able to go to one of the eight sites to network with other students and engage with professors.

“The class delivery format is the best compromise — nothing is quite as good as sitting in the real classroom, in my opinion, but the live class through TVs at the remote sites is very good,” said Lyderic Champetier, a Michelin service operations account manager who graduated from the PMBA program in 2018. “The option to take the classes live through Blackboard Collaborate is far superior to an online, non-live delivery.”

Many of the Moore School’s faculty members are actively engaged in industry and work with Fortune 500 companies. This means that what you learn in the PMBA program is relevant, fresh and immediately applicable to your career.

“The richness of experience and skill building in the PMBA program has provided a really powerful stepping-stone for me in my career progress,” said Tiffany Crumpton, a marketing director who is currently enrolled in the PMBA program. “The talent caliber of my fellow students and the faculty has truly blown me away and encouraged me to power up my level of engagement and learning.”

Through applying the knowledge they learned in the program, many PMBA candidates have earned job promotions during and after completion of the program. Carolina Brown, for example, was promoted to chief external affairs officer at the Medical University of South Carolina after earning her MBA in 2019.

“Without the Professional MBA, it would have been difficult to continue to progress in my career and especially to earn a role in the C-suite,” Brown said. “The program helped round out my business acumen and ensured that I can speak the language of colleagues and external partners who work in essential functional areas including finance, operations, marketing and quality. I improved my negotiation and leadership skills, which I use on a daily basis to influence decisions and create partnerships, affiliations and joint ventures with outside groups.”

Additionally, since Moore School PMBA program students pay tuition based on the number of credit hours they are enrolled in, the program is a tremendous value. The total cost of tuition to earn the MBA is less than $40,000, which is highly competitive with other part-time MBA programs across the nation. This allows students to receive a high-quality degree at an affordable price. What’s more, out-of-state students in areas like Augusta and Charlotte pay in-state rates. “If you’re considering an MBA and think it will help advance your career or personal goals, start now,” Brown said. “The time is going to pass regardless, and you will be so glad you didn’t wait any longer to begin your journey.”

The International MBA program at the University of South Carolina Darla Moore School of Business is again ranked the nation’s best according to U.S. News & World Report’s Best Graduate School 2020 Rankings. The program has been ranked in the top three for 31 consecutive years and No. 1 for the past seven years.

The 22-month International MBA program begins annually in July and features two tracks of study: the Global Track for in-country immersion where English is widely spoken or the Language Track for immersion in an international environment that includes language study.

“Ranking as the No. 1 International MBA in the nation is a credit to our outstanding faculty and the educational excellence of our program,” said Darla Moore School of Business Dean Peter Brews. “The Moore School is committed to delivering exceptional business programming that not only prepares graduates for future career success but teaches them the value of teamwork, integrity and resilience and hard skills like data analytics and understanding international marketplaces so that they can better lead and make a difference in corporations around the world.”

“The No. 1 ranking showcases our commitment to prepare students to compete in global marketplaces,” said Satish Jayachandran, Moore School associate dean for full-time MBA programs and marketing department chair. “Our international business faculty are experts in their fields, and our students go on to have successful and high-level careers with an array of multi-national companies.”

Another Moore School standout according to the rankings is the part-time MBA program. The first of its kind when it launched in 1970, the program is the No. 1 program in South Carolina and is among the top 25 programs in the nation. The Professional MBA program is currently ranked at No. 23 for part-time MBA programs, according to the 2020 U.S. News & World Report publication.

“Having our Professional MBA program rank in the top 25 part-time MBA programs is an amazing accomplishment,” said Brews. “The innovative, multi-location classroom offerings, combined with stellar teaching and networking opportunities, ensures that our graduates gain the preparation needed to become the impactful and highly productive business leaders that companies seek.”

The Professional MBA program’s flexible, part-time format allows professionals to complete their MBAs while continuing to work. The program can be completed in 28 months with start dates in both January and August. Regionally networked classrooms connect students with peers across eight different locations on Saturdays and evenings, and on-demand access – real-time and delay – enables students to take classes on their own schedule.

Learn more about our top-ranked International MBA or Professional MBA or other MBA programs at the Darla Moore School of Business.

Marjorie Riddle Duffie

Humans constantly analyze situations and make choices. From minute daily decisions to life altering, nerve racking, “did I chose the right path” moments, we chose. Yet, even with all these habitual choices, even when we research and deliberate, we often miss the cost and benefit that will be paid and gained from a decision. We miss the big picture — the true cost.

When I made the decision to go back for my MBA, I made the decision with clear intentions and a strong purpose of why, yet the process wasn’t easy or clear. While choosing to go back for my MBA took less than two minutes, choosing where to get my MBA took weeks. I pored over research and data and compared schools in between a full-time job and studying for the GMAT. The daunting process made me feel like my 17-year-old self again, choosing my undergraduate university and the path of my post-college life. Except this time, I was older, wiser and far busier. As I dug into the research, I compared schools on the expected fault lines — MBA programs offered, the program length, and current university and MBA program rankings. I was targeting an international-focused MBA which helped winnow the list. Then I threw a wrench in my decision by choosing to attend full time. All of sudden, all International MBA programs were on the table and I was swimming in data and uncertainty again.

For clarity, I turned to the numbers and looked at the real cost of earning my MBA. There were myriad factors to consider, starting with tuition. The tuition costs ranged from around $40K to over $100K and were either annual or total program costs depending on the school. The numbers were staggering, and I was moderately panicked as I quickly calculated how much going back for my MBA would put me into debt. I was full-on panicked until I remembered the opportunity for scholarships. Thankfully, I’d have access to a plethora of scholarship opportunities as a graduate student. Even better, graduate assistantship opportunities were also available, which provided a stipend and the opportunity to work closely with faculty. I breathed a sigh of relief as I realized I’d be able to offset some of the costs of an MBA program through scholarships, graduate assistantships and a paid internship.

I then considered the non-academic costs such as housing, commuting and weekly living expenses. Again, the range of anticipated costs was broad due to varying locations. Additionally, commuting costs varied greatly dependent not only on where I lived, but which city the school was located within or near as well the typical weather throughout the year. Some schools would require trains and subways every day, plus walking while others made commuting to campus a necessity or yet another school where I could walk, bike or drive depending on my preference. While my information gathering helped, what I thought would provide clarity further muddied the waters. Where tuition was higher, the cost of living was lower while the scholarships offered varied by school and accepted cohort demographics.

What I’d learned helped me shorten my list to the top three universities whose programs appealed the most to me: the University of South Carolina, a Northeastern program and a West Coast program. And then I hit another wall, how was I supposed to narrow my top three down to a top choice?  

At this point I came to a significant realization. I’d been so focused on the present, on picking the right school for this immediate moment, I’d lost sight of the true cost of an MBA — the value it would provide for my future career opportunities, for my future career path, and for my future self. That missing variable — my future goals — turned out to be the key to unlocking which university was the best fit for me.

When I changed my perspective to focus on my future, the university I wanted to be part of was clear — the University of South Carolina and their #1 nationally ranked International MBA program. This is the reputation I want to be linked with, that I want on my resume and which I want to talk about during the interview process.

Earning my MBA would require many sacrifices but with the University of South Carolina, I would be able to attend the most accessible and affordable #1 International MBA program in the country. The affordability was immediately clear. All MBA students earn some level of scholarship and have the opportunity to be offered a graduate assistantship. Additionally, in-state tuition is accessible to out-of-state students once a certain scholarship amount has been awarded. Furthermore, the affordability extends beyond the classroom to the city of Columbia itself. A vibrant state capital with a variety of living opportunities to meet any budget, especially when compared to living opportunities in the Northeast or West Coast. Columbia is also a highly accessible city whether you have a car, a bike or your walking shoes and offers a range of public transportation.

Suddenly the idea of going back for a full-time MBA was not as financially daunting as I initially thought while the sacrifice of having to move and rebuild my life in a new region of the country while passing on potential job opportunities was less intimidating. Even better, my future potential would be enhanced by the national ranking and rigor of the International MBA program and the talented cohort of people (current students, alumni and faculty) who comprise it. I believe choosing the University of South Carolina is an investment that will pay greater dividends than I could ever calculate!

Caroline Wright, International MBA candidate
University of South Carolina
Darla Moore School of Business

How important are data skills in today’s job market?

A survey of 1,300 global business leaders by a firm that conducts business with over 90% of Fortune 100 firms discovered that data literacy is critical for career advancement. In fact, 81% of the executives agreed that becoming a senior leader in their organization requires being data literate.

And it’s not just for professionals who are interested in working in the tech sector.

Earlier this year at an analytics summit, a partner and senior executive at PwC said that data analytics is embedded in nearly every activity at the Big Four accounting firm. A C-level executive from Morgan Stanley proclaimed that “data analytics is the oxygen of Wall Street.” Even on the nonprofit side, a spokesperson from the Gates Foundation said, “it’s not that we need to have everyone out there go and become the next great data analyst, but we need to have people who understand how to consume the data.”

So, yes, data skills are very important whether you are interested in working in consulting, healthcare, financial services, energy, consumer goods, logistics – or pretty much any industry today.

Fortunately, the USC MBA has you covered. We know that our graduates must be data proficient, analytically capable, and functionally skilled to win the top job opportunities in every industry today. 

Whether you are considering our No.1-ranked International MBA or accelerated One-Year MBA, you have the option of earning a graduate certificate in Business Analytics as part of your core curriculum, like nearly all of our 2020 graduates have.

Recent graduates and current students have leveraged their Business Analytics Certifications to realize highly sought-after, full-time roles or internships, at industry-leading compensation levels, in consulting (e.g., Deloitte and Gartner), marketing (e.g., The Coca-Cola Company, Microsoft, and Nike), logistics (e.g. Amazon and Delta) finance (e.g., Exxon and EY), manufacturing (e.g., Boeing and Hilti), or FinTech (e.g., Fiserv). 

This certification gives graduates a separate distinction that, in addition to enhancing official transcripts, also bolsters their LinkedIn profiles among top-tier employers seeking analytics achievements. And for international students, the certificate is a designated STEM degree, which affords graduates the opportunity to extend their U.S. stay and post-MBA employment for up to three years.

To alleviate potential concerns regarding the additional workload, USC MBA candidates pursuing this certificate take just four courses (12 credit hours) beyond the MBA core curriculum, as USC offers one of the most quantitatively based MBA cores in the market. Our MBA program incorporates the hottest certification in demand right now, seamlessly and with flexibility.

Three required courses include:

  • Advanced Quantitative Methods
  • Data Resource Management
  • Customer Relationship Management and Data Mining

And the elective additional course selections are:

  • Big Data Analytics
  • Student Managed Investments
  • Revenue Management
  • Information Systems
  • Marketing Spreadsheet Modeling

That means you’ll still have time to work out at our world-class wellness and fitness center, join a student club on campus, or take a study break to trade securities in your brokerage account in our notable trading floor classroom with 25 Bloomberg terminals.

By pairing the USC MBA with a graduate certificate in business analytics, you’ll have the professional currency to best compete for high-demand (and high-paying) jobs such as these openings on Glassdoor.

Interested in learning more? Contact Assistant Director of Full-time MBA programs, Diondra Black, at

When Walt Disney said, “Here is the world of imagination, hopes, and dreams” he wasn’t referring to the University of South Carolina, but he might as well have been.

At the University of South Carolina (USC), you’ll meet extraordinary individuals from around the world who choose our community in pursuit of their career dreams. We wanted to introduce you to another unstoppable USC student, Alyson Berry.

Alyson, a member of our 2019 cohort, opted to pursue her USC MBA after working for The Walt Disney Company in Orlando. She sat down recently to discuss her professional accomplishments, personal aspirations and why she chose the Moore School’s full-time MBA program.

What were your career plans before beginning the program?
My undergraduate degree is in literature with a minor in film, so I love storytelling. As a storytelling company whose primary function is to bring joy to people all over the world, The Walt Disney Company was the perfect marriage of my passions and talents. It was a natural fit.

What did you do in your last role?
I was on a team that helped develop a new service focused on providing an elevated experience for elite celebrities and high-net-worth individuals. As a new line of business, there were many exciting challenges and learning experiences within the collaborative effort. Best of all, I got to work side-by-side with some iconic Disney cast members to create magic for our guests.

What was your ‘aha’ moment for applying to the MBA?
The big moment for me was when I realized that if I developed analytical skills and business acumen, I would be able to utilize my talents in a much more powerful, effective manner. By adding these skills to what I’d already learned in my time with The Walt Disney Company, I would have an even greater ability to create happiness and find fulfillment in my work.

Why did you choose the USC MBA?
I grew up going to football games at Williams-Brice Stadium and always wanted to attend USC for my undergraduate but received a scholarship from another university. When it came time to choose an MBA program, the University of South Carolina topped my list.

After coming to an interview on campus and interacting with the staff and faculty, I knew USC was not just the sentimental choice, it was also the smart choice. The Moore School has extensive career placement resources and it was obvious they were truly invested in my personal success. The accessibility of the faculty was completely unparalleled, and the dynamics of the cohort offered a sense of community. Plus, I’d be able to study in one the most impressive, state-of-the-art educational facilities I’ve ever seen. Finally, I knew all of these essential characteristics would not be part of any online degree experience.

Why did you choose the USC One-Year MBA over an International MBA?
I wanted a compromise between an online MBA and a two-year program. My employer had just started offering new educational benefits that would cover the cost of completing a virtual MBA program, but I wanted an immersive classroom experience. And, because I was at the Moore School, I knew I’d be getting the global perspective they’re so well known for.

What’s your typical day like?
Busy! I usually start the day with class from 8:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. with my cohort. During breaks we usually run upstairs together to grab coffee from Starbucks. After class, I often eat lunch in the graduate lounge before heading off to meet with my team to work on projects and case analyses. After meetings, I often go to the campus fitness center to work out or join a spin class. Many nights I join classmates for dinner or attend a sporting event later in the evening.

What do you like best about the program?
I love the sense of community, and I deeply appreciate that each student is regarded as an individual with entirely unique aspirations, talents and needs.

How would you describe the other students and faculty?
The presence of so many people with varied perspectives and life experiences makes USC an exciting place. Each person brings something special to the table, and that rounds out the entire experience. The supportive environment helps build meaningful relationships between the students and faculty. To me, that is invaluable.

Why should a prospective student consider the USC MBA?
While USC is rich in tradition and history (someone recently pointed out to me that this institution is older than many of our states), the program has a dynamic international perspective that helps students look to the future and expand their world view. The ratio of faculty to students allows for each individual to truly take advantage of every opportunity to learn and grow. At USC, you truly become unstoppable.

Being successful in business takes a strong work ethic, solid team skills and strategic goal-setting. At the University of South Carolina, we recognize those traits are often already well-established in college athletes. That’s what makes them above-average MBA students.

Jaime Cuellar, a former Gamecock with the Men’s Tennis program and USC MBA ’14, believes the skills he picked up competing in high stakes situations have helped him excel in high finance in Charlotte, North Carolina. “Competing for MBA-level positions means you need something that sets you apart –even more so when you’re pitching a client in a high-stakes deal,” he says. “The skills gained, and the ability to connect to individuals on a level outside of the office, in my case, on the court, definitely adds an advantage to being successful in business.”

Inspired by what Jaime shared, we caught up with a few of our current MBA candidates who competed at the Division I level for their thoughts on how athletics helped prepare them for business school success.

Unstoppable Drive and Determination
Kornelia Kostka, IMBA ‘20, competed in track and field at the College of Charleston. She credits competing in as many as 12 competitions per semester taught her how to establish, and meet goals, even when it was difficult. She devoted about 20 hours per week — and weekends — to meets, practice and travel as a college athlete. “I learned you have to work hard to reach your goals,” says Kornelia. “When you start something, you have to finish it. It’s not enough to try to do something, you have to give it your best effort. The same is true with the USC MBA. It’s intense and you have to keep up.” Kornelia, who decided to pursue an MBA after entering the workforce, hopes her interest in economic development can, with a USC MBA, translate into a position with the World Bank. “If I want to make a difference in the world, I need to know more about international business and strategy,” she explains. “That made the USC MBA the obvious choice.”

Classmate and former college golfer Drake Cassidy, IMBA ’20, says the commitment, excellence and achievement required of collegiate athletes translates well into the classroom. “Those traits continue to define me in my pursuit of the International MBA and for my career after graduation,” he says. His plan for a career that taps into strategy, finance and leadership has already been tested by long hours of practice and developing mental preparedness that kept his swings and strokes steady. “If you want to be good at golf, you have to have grit, determination, and a solid work ethic,” he says. “The same goes for the USC IMBA program. If I find myself tired and questioning my path, I remember what it took to be successful in golf and apply that same mentality to my schoolwork.”

Ryan Cerino, IMBA ’21, competed in men’s lacrosse at Bryant University in Rhode Island. He says that being a Division I athlete means you’re always pushing yourself. “You can’t compete at that level if you’re not willing to test how good you are,” he explains. “My model is to get better every day, and in order to get better you have to push yourself. Like sports, I’m pushing myself in my education to see how far I can go.”

Serious Time-Management Skills
John Coleman, IMBA ‘21, credits playing football at Duke University for his exceptional grasp on time management. “In the fall, we were up at 5 a.m. practicing until noon when classes began,” he says. “It was hectic, but it prepared me for the IMBA program’s high-pressure environment.”

Drake agrees, recalling the first week of orientation as a time when their time management skills were tested. “The MBA staff surprised the incoming class with a case competition, where we were separated into teams and presented our case to employers from all around the globe,” says Drake. “Just as I did on the first tee in any tournament when I was nervous, I focused on controlling my breathing and using that nervousness to execute in the moment. Of course, everything went smoothly, and we won the case competition.”

John adds that even though the class had only known each another for a few days, he quickly learned how to collaborate with different personalities around a common purpose. “My time management skills as a student athlete definitely helped with the case analysis and presentation,” he says.

Genuine Teamwork and Sportsmanship
Ryan, who wants to work in private wealth management, says Division I sports is the ultimate teacher of team skills. “You have to work together and know how to step into different roles,” he explains, adding that collaboration is critical both on and off the field. “My classmates are my teammates. It’s like playing lacrosse, but instead we’re doing school projects together.”

Former college athletes play well with others in time-sensitive situations, says John. “That’s important in business school and business.” The former Jackson, WY-based travel consultant who wants to work in supply chain management for either American Airlines or Delta says you want to “play well in the sandbox” with others. John chose the South Carolina IMBA because he loved the program’s international pedigree and global approach to business. “It sets you up to succeed,” he explains. “The world is getting smaller and you need to understand business from this interconnected aspect.”

Ryan sees his IMBA studies as a way to both open up his career options and see more of the world. He’s especially looking forward to the eight-week, in-country immersion as studying abroad wasn’t possible for him as an undergraduate. “I admired friends who studied abroad, but I could never for a leave for a semester because we had practice every day,” he says.

Positive Mindset
Kornelia says her experiences in track have made her a happier person and helped her understand how to cope with stress. Her past training is a “mental comfort” she uses in the classroom today — including how to manage the high expectations of professors. “It’s similar to managing the expectations of coaches,” she laughs.

Maintaining a positive outlook helps during times when you feel overwhelmed at school or in your work. “Focus is critical for a global leader because there’s a lot going on,” says Kornelia. “You have so many ideas on your mind. You can’t do everything and have to choose what’s most important. You need to be okay with that.”

Kornelia says college athletics also gave her practice in reframing situations. Right before a track meet, she acknowledged feeling stressed and anxious, but reminded herself to be excited, too.

Kornelia, Drake, Ryan and John plan to turn the lessons of team sports — ambition, time management, teamwork and positivity — into business school and career success in the years ahead. There’s a reason a USC MBA is part of their collective — and personal —plans, says Drake.

Like many of his classmates, Drake didn’t feel fully prepared and knowledgeable for the business roles he wanted with just an undergraduate degree. “I chose the USC MBA because of its astounding reputation in international business,” he says. “It offers the top-ranked IMBA degree in the nation, the Office of Career Management has a high success rate for job placement, and I always dreamed of being a Gamecock growing up.”

There’s no one path to business school. Often a traditional timeline looks like this: Graduate with a bachelor’s degree (typically in business or engineering), work for about 3-5 years (typically finance or consulting) then get an MBA.

The academic and professional stories our admissions team sees in University of South Carolina MBA cohorts reflect a wide range of impressive credentials, circumstances and personal choices — like current MBA candidate and Michigan native, Alec Klungle.

Alec served in the military after graduating high school and later went back to earn his undergraduate degree in advertising from Michigan State University. After graduation, he worked as a marketing manager in Lansing, Michigan.

We wondered what inspired Alec to trade a career in his home state for full-time studies at the Darla Moore School of Business in the school’s 2019 International MBA cohort. Here’s what he shared about his decision, plans and more on his path to the University of South Carolina.

What brought you south? 
Moving from the Midwest seemed like a good challenge at this stage in life. I had a desire for warmer weather as well as a change in scenery and people.And, I like to shake things up and challenge myself every few years.

How has it been so far?
So far, it has been a good change. The people are very kind, everyone waves at you (which was especially weird at first, because I had no idea why people were waving at me). The landscaping down here is gorgeous (think, palm trees), but the biggest challenge has been adjusting to the heat.

What was your ‘aha’ moment to begin your application?
I’ve always known I wanted to get my MBA. I’d finally reached the point in my career where I knew my trajectory without an MBA was not where I wanted to be. I knew I needed an MBA to get to the level of success that aligned with my long-term ambitions and I knew I had enough professional experience to finally qualify for programs I wanted to get into.

Why did you choose the University of South Carolina MBA?
What set the University of South Carolina apart was the individual attention I received — and continue to receive — from the staff. During the admissions process, Jennifer Ninh, managing director of Full-time MBA programs, sent me an amazing email. I felt she was actually writing an email to me as a person rather than to me as a prospective student. The USC MBA programs office continues to be the most helpful entity in any business school I have encountered. My experience so far confirmed my initial feelings: it’s a small program able to focus on us as individuals and connect with us on a human level. They’re not just pumping out degrees.

What led you to military service after high school?
I would have liked to have gone straight to college after high school, but I didn’t have the funds, grades or a lot of options that reflected my potential. I took the Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery test and scored high enough to get a really good job with a $23,000 signing bonus, which sounded awesome to my 18-year-old self. However, I needed to develop work skills, habits, discipline and traits I did not have after graduating from high school. The Navy allowed me to jump straight into a working environment, so I was able to develop skills that would set me apart from others.

Why should a veteran consider the USC MBA?
I was impressed by how USC was able and willing to work with me and my personal circumstances to support my interest in the program and position me for success. Other programs were happy I was a veteran, but they seemed more interested in me as a statistic or “checked box.” USC was the only program that really seemed to understand what it means to be a veteran. Jennifer reached out to ask me about my GI Bill and how USC could work with me to create the best MBA experience.

What type of work experiences have you had since your service?
I worked as a marketing manager for a small marketing and design firm called Addis Enterprises. We partnered with small businesses to strategize and execute marketing plans that supported their business goals. I was also the lead digital marketer with various colleges within Michigan State University (MSU) as well as the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services. My job was to act as the chief liaison between clients, internal management, programmers and designers to ensure that websites and digital marketing campaigns met ambitious SEO, SEM and analytics goals.

We also understand you’re a bit of a rugby marketing expert?
One of my favorite stories was when our firm was approached by the president of the Michigan State University Rugby Club to promote a match between MSU and the University of Michigan (UofM). I led the team that created the brand, coordinated and marketed the entire event. It was such a success we were asked to help recreate the same sort of collegiate rugby events in other parts of the country. We also got the attention of organizations such as USA Rugby, media affiliates, performance apparel brands and more. There’s not much extra time in an MBA program, but I actually still serve as a consultant for collegiate events and recently designed marketing plans and materials for the 2019 Battle for the Mitten Rugby Tournament.

Why should a marketing professional consider the USC MBA?
USC is the place to be for marketers, digital or traditional, who want to make a global impact. In the Midwest, I could have worked at an auto company that does international business, but never directly with an enterprise truly immersed in foreign markets. If you’re interested in world economies, this is the place to go. USC put me in touch with a breadth of companies and the marketing arms of some interesting firms that I would never have known about.

What’s your typical day like?
A typical day for me is waking up to make a pot of coffee, followed by a shower before biking or walking to my 8:30 a.m. class. We have class until either 11:15 a.m. or 2 p.m. On most of the 2 p.m. days, I go to the gym to work out for an hour or two before coming home to make food and study or read. On the earlier days, I usually try to get a few people to go play a round of golf. There are a lot of outgoing personalities in this program, so there is always a good group to decompress with, if that is what the day calls for.

What do you like best about the program?
The people. The south attracts kind people and this program attracts ambitious folks, so it turns out to be a great combination of classmates who are both accomplished and helpful.

There is a good mix of experience and backgrounds coming into the program, so it allows for a lot of great perspectives to feed into personal and professional growth. And everyone who teaches a class has a great deal of knowledge and insight, too. I’m learning things that will help in my career.

The MBA office is spectacular in their willingness to help. If ever there is a problem or a question about careers, classes, clubs or just life in general, the Office of Career Management and the MBA office is always willing to meet and talk through it.

You’re also involved with the Center for Marketing Solutions. How is that adding value to your MBA experience?
My graduate assistantship provides a good stipend that helps me offset the cost of tuition while enhancing my learning of the curriculum. I’m working on marketing-oriented projects that greatly add to my education and also put me in contact with target companies. After only seven weeks in the position, I’ve had opportunities to create marketing materials for large corporations and research topics in my field for the purpose of helping create industry-changing insights. I was offered similar positions at other schools, but they were positions that put me to work grading papers and doing office hours. It’s nice to work 10 hours a week on projects that advance my career interests.

What do you intend to do after you graduate?
I’m seeking the next step on the road to CEO. As a marketer, my short-term goal is to be a brand manager. Being raised in Michigan, I lean toward the manufacturing sector, but I also have eyes on consumer-packaged goods, too. I was thrilled to learn the Moore School’s corporate partners include Coca-Cola Bottling Company Consolidated, Johnson & Johnson, and Sonoco Products Company.

I’m looking forward to combining my creative interest in marketing, military leadership skills, and marketable business skills from the USC MBA.

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Sali Christeson has combined her innate entrepreneurial talent with skills she learned at the Darla Moore School of Business to shake up the women’s workwear world. Argent – her affordable, comfortable and bold apparel line – aims to “dropkick the glass ceiling.” And it is getting national and celebrity attention.

Living in Los Angeles and traveling the country to promote Argent, Christeson (’12 International MBA) is a long way from the Hardeeville, South Carolina, farm where she grew up, but that is where the seeds of her business acumen were planted. As a kindergartner, she said all she wanted was her own stapler and her own desk.

Christeson, who recently came to the Moore School to deliver the orientation keynote to incoming MBA students, was an entrepreneur before she could even pronounce the word. At 5 years old, “she was so determined at anything she did,” said Christensen’s mother, Sarah Jane Sumer, who accompanied her to Columbia for the orientation. “She had a piggy bank business and a lemonade stand. She’s always been a little entrepreneur.”

This drive is what allowed Christeson to take her idea for a womenswear company and turn it into a brand recently featured in InStyle and Vogue Business and on Yahoo Finance and CNN. In February, the 11-staff company received $4 million in investment funds through Founders Fund, which invests in “companies building revolutionary technologies” and whose portfolio contains Facebook, Airbnb and Spotify. Argent backers also include Stitch Fix chief executive officer and founder Katrina Lake, renowned investor Sonja Perkins, tennis champion Andy Roddick and actress Brooklyn Decker. 

Christeson’s vision for Argent came from her own frustrations as a young professional who couldn’t find fashionable, functional clothing to wear to the office. She emphasized fashion is primarily male-dominated, with only 14 percent of leading womenswear brands led by women. “For some reason, no one had thought to rethink the category,” she said. “The workforce is shifting to a more casual place. [Brands were still offering] black, stodgy pantsuits. [Women’s professional wear] is an unsexy category; it’s almost an afterthought.”

Most jarring for Christeson as she did research on professional women’s clothing is that women are judged based on their appearance, and it can have quantifiable results – to the tune of almost 20 percent less earnings over their career if they miss a promotion or fall behind their male counterparts.

After realizing the need for a comfortable yet fashionable women’s line, she quit her job as a cloud services manager at Cisco technology company four years ago to begin Argent, named for her great-grandfather’s Hardeeville-based lumber company, which operated from 1916-1959.

Argent is different from other brands in that it combines functionality such as working pockets with colorful, stylish Manhattan-designed clothes. The high-quality line includes pants ranging from $188-248, tops from $52-148 and blazers from $298-598. Christeson said the clothes hold their value and can be worn for close to a decade in some cases.

Women ages 11 to 85 are buying pieces from Argent, but the main demographic is women in the prime of their career in their late 20s to 40s, Christensen said. Celebrity consumers include former presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, feminism activist Gloria Steinem, U.S. Sen. Kamala Harris, actress Amy Poehler, Clinton political staffer Huma Abedin and rapper/comedian Awkwafina.

“We want to support women in whatever they want to accomplish in their career,” Christeson said. “Our mission is resonating, and our product is resonating. We are serving as a point of connection – people are buying into what we’re building.”

Having celebrity clients has helped Argent build brand awareness, but Christeson said to raise investment funds, she’s had to tell her brand’s story through data. Analyzing data is a major skill she said she honed at the Moore School.

To prove the value of Argent to investors, “I did extensive market research; I conducted a survey with 400 people and did interviews to show [the lack of professional womenswear] was an issue beyond just me,” she said. “The design starts with the customer … No one is really thinking about the customer, so it left this underserved market to surprise and delight.”

As the founder and CEO of Argent, Christeson said networking is her most valuable tool, and she leverages the relationships she initiated at the Moore School. Some of her former USC classmates are Argent customers.

Even before creating Argent, she credits the Moore School with leading to her job at Cisco, which was an educational experience that helped her fully understand supply chain before taking on her own company.

Creating the Cisco cloud initiative “was really awesome. It gave me a business understanding and was where my problem-solving approach was developed,” she said. “I came out [of the Moore School] with hard skills and soft skills – my level of confidence, the experience I had hands on and in the classroom, I was able to take that into the corporate setting and be a lot more lethal.”

She said her return on investment for her International MBA was immediate and was recouped within a year working at Cisco.

Christeson said while running Argent has been rewarding, it’s also been one of the hardest things she’s ever done. It takes resilience, commitment and networking, she said, adding that entrepreneurs have to have conviction in what they’re building.

“Don’t just start a company to start a company. If you don’t believe in or care about what you’re doing … don’t do it,” she said.

Christeson said Argent has yet to make a profit because she is growing into future demand by expanding offerings, but she has big plans for her company and hopes to be profitable within two years.

While expanding Argent is more than a full-time job, Christeson also is raising a family. She has been married to her husband David, a marketer for Apple, for seven years, and they have a 1-year-old son.

Being a working mother trying to maintain her company’s momentum makes Christeson more relatable for Argent customers, many of who are also balancing families with careers.

“I think becoming a mother has made it easier to understand a large part of our community,” she said. “It’s allowed me firsthand understanding of the challenges working moms face, and I try and incorporate those learnings into Argent’s offerings.”

Christeson said she wants Argent to be more than just clothing. Argent’s two current stores in San Francisco and New York feature co-working spaces where women can jump on their laptop and use private phone booths. Argent also offers workshops with skill-building programming such as negotiation training and financial planning.

Argent is in the process of opening another store in Washington, D.C., and hopes to open one in Los Angeles this fall. All of their items are also available on their website:

Earning an MBA can help you accelerate your career, pivot to a new profession, or add a prestigious credential to your resume. But there’s one key benefit that isn’t mentioned often — the people you will encounter in business school.

As an MBA candidate, you’ll spend a year (or two) with a group of remarkable individuals and their unique life stories. The shared experience prompts new ways of thinking and possibilities and deepens your insight of yourself and your purpose. You gain greater clarity on what you want to do, and who you want to be, with people who could someday change your life.

At the University of South Carolina (USC), your classmate could be someone like Caroline Wright. A former brand manager of a blue-chip company’s syrup portfolio, Caroline came to South Carolina from Morristown, New Jersey. She sat down with us recently to share her professional accomplishments, personal aspirations and why she decided to join the Moore School’s 2019 International MBA cohort.

What led you south?
I have wanted to attend the University of South Carolina for a few years, primarily because the International MBA program is ranked the No. 1 program in the country according to U.S. News & World Report.

How has it been so far?
It’s been wonderful. The program is challenging, engaging and fast-paced. Our cohort includes smart, talented individuals with diverse, impressive backgrounds and skill sets. Every day, I learn something new and build stronger skills and networks. I am truly enjoying living in the city — I enjoy the green spaces, variety of beautiful public outdoor spaces and running along the Riverwalk.

Why did you choose your pre-MBA career path?
I have undergraduate degrees in International Business and Marketing with a concentration in Sports from Saint Joseph’s University in Philadelphia. My pre-MBA career includes roles in sales and marketing within a large internationally-based household company along with marketing roles for a US-based food company.

What did you do in your last job?
In my last role, I was the Brand Manager for the Syrups Portfolio at Pinnacle Foods (now ConAgra Foods). As brand manager, I owned the management, development and innovation of the portfolio which included core brands Mrs. Butterworth’s and Log Cabin Syrup. I worked closely with R&D, sales, and trade marketing, setting the direction of each brand and ensuring execution of key marketing initiatives to support and drive product awareness and overall brand success.

What was your ‘aha’ moment for applying to MBA?
I have always known getting my MBA would be necessary to propel my career forward. But one day I was informed that although I had a great career history and strong performance record within my current and prior roles, I would be limited in promotions and growth roles moving forward because I did not have an MBA.

How did you hear about the University of South Carolina MBA?
A few years ago, when I was researching MBA programs, I was searching for an internationally-focused program. I discovered that USC was a top-ranked option.

Why did you choose the University of South Carolina MBA?
With an undergraduate in International Business, I have always had a passion for global experiences and perspectives. USC’s MBA program makes global perspective core to the structure and focus while also offering specific career tracks, global immersion opportunities and key certifications. It’s a truly well–rounded and expansive MBA experience. The program’s reputation from academics to career support is unmatched.

What a typical day like?
I wake up and get to campus ahead of my 8:30 classes. I am taking five classes this semester so some days I have 2-3 classes back to back. After class, I typically grab lunch, workout and then work on homework, grad assistantship follow-ups, network or search for internships. I try to build in time to hang outwith my fiancé and friends and explore Columbia to maintain a healthy work-life balance. My school days are actually quite similar to work days. Meetings were replaced by classes and my project deliverables are my homework and professional skills development.

What do you like best about the program?
The program offers you opportunities while you’re a student and as an alumnus. As a student, you learn from and engage with smart classmates and top-notch professors while enhancing your professional skills.

How would you describe your classmates and the school’s faculty?
I am constantly impressed. The diverse backgrounds and individual experiences of my classmates foster fantastic discussions that enhance the classroom experience.The faculty are top in their field and constantly work to further develop our knowledge and thought processes.

What do you want to do after you graduate? 
After graduation, I want to work within a multinational company focused in marketing or global strategy. My goal is to work toward an international rotation and advancement to upper management in the next five to seven years.

Why should a prospective student consider the USC MBA?
A USC MBA further develops your business acumen and how you engage with others both professionally and personally. The job skills and life skills woven throughout the program ensure your development as a world class, well-rounded business professional who knows how to drive change and make it happen — with success.

Our campus was abuzz with activity when we welcomed new students for a supercharged orientation week in June that included extensive career coaching sessions, an exciting case competition, and meet and greets with alumni from elite firms such as Deloitte, Coca Cola, and UPS.

They traveled from places as diverse as Dallas, (home to twenty-four Fortune 500 companies), and Delhi, ranked 6th in world’s top ten best performing metro economies, as well as a constellation of cities in between. For some, it was a short car ride from Charleston or Charlotte, the second-largest banking center in the U.S. Others flew in from booming East Coast business hubs such as Boston and NYC as well as Seattle and San Diego, the top two high-tech spots on the West Coast.

The newest cohort holds passports from nearly every continent on the map but shares the sentiment that right now is the right time to start a full-time MBA.

So how did they arrive at that decision?

Meet some of these #unstoppable students and see what personal and professional influences shaped their path to business school.

From Europe
Anne Lenski (MBA ‘20) studied architecture in Germany before working in project management at a real estate firm based in Bavaria.

Although she enjoyed building hotels and apartment houses in the international business hubs of Munich and Frankfurt, she feared that a fixed career path prompted by the more focused nature of the German education system, would eventually pigeonhole her. Anne wanted more career options in the long term.

These thoughts were transformed into action when her U.S. Army boyfriend, who was stationed in Germany, was given a new assignment in South Carolina. His career move inspired Anne to make one of her own as well.

She saw a path to become #unstoppable in the school’s No. 1 ranking for graduate international business, according to U.S. News and World Report, and was impressed by the number of global courses offered. She also liked the option to earn an MBA in just 10 months. The fact that One-year MBA students take many classes with International MBA students was all the more reason why the program would be a great fit. 

From North America
Nathan Vogt (MBA ‘20) earned an undergraduate degree in mechanical engineering from Kettering University in Flint, Michigan and began his career as an individual contributor at Kohler, the kitchen and bath fixture manufacturer, headquartered in Wisconsin.

Over the years, he moved into management and then took a group leadership role at a German, family-owned automobile supplier. Most recently, he worked as an operations director at a company based in Camarillo, California that manufactures micro-batteries for wearable applications.

Although Nathan was on the radar of recruiters for even more senior positions, he would soon learn that he didn’t have the required credentials to act on these opportunities. Recruiters kept reminding him that didn’t have an MBA.

The One-year MBA program at the University of South Carolina proved exactly what he was looking for. The combination of a 10-month program at the state’s flagship university that partners with top manufacturing companies, all for under $50k, provided a strong value proposition that he could not turn down.

From Africa
Before business school, Dami Fatusi (IMBA ‘21) practiced law in her home country of Nigeria as well as Los Angeles. 

As Dami progressed in the legal profession, she became passionate about business. Her “aha” moment occurred when she realized her interest in business development superseded legal briefs. Dami’s career goal is to combine both fields, and business school is the perfect place to “think outside the box,” which better suits her personality.

She learned about the University of South Carolina MBA after considering another university on the west coast with a similar acronym. However, she was worried that an MBA from Southern Cal’s Marshall School of Business would be too expensive, and she didn’t want to continue with the uncertainty of remaining on the waiting list at Stanford.

Most of all, she was confident that an International MBA from South Carolina would enable her to be competitive in job interviews in the states.

From South America
Anderson Veronese (IMBA ‘21) is an expert in dairy production who earned a bachelor’s degree in veterinary medicine at a top technical university in Brazil and a masters at University of Florida. He has conducted extensive research for the dairy industry as he seeks to pivot to a management position in the agricultural and animal health sectors.

Because all full-time MBA students at USC have the option to earn a STEM-designated Graduate Certificate in Business Analytics or Enterprise Resource Management, these international students can work in the U.S. for up to three years after graduation without a H1-B- visa. This and the school’s the No. 1 ranked International MBA were very appealing to Anderson. In the months ahead, he is excited to begin exploring the school’s vast alumni network and the employment opportunities it can unlock prior to graduation.

From Asia
Binbin Weng (MBA ‘20) earned a Bachelor of Arts in English from the Zhejiang University of Science and Technology in China before obtaining an MS in accounting and starting a career as a senior associate at EY in Charlotte. Most recently, she worked as a senior internal auditor for a 3D printing manufacturer. Binbin was interested in an MBA because her career goal is to be a finance leader that business partners trust and rely on. Her ‘aha’ moment to be #unstoppable occurred when she realized she no longer felt the same motivation for the fundamental roles and responsibilities of her previous position. She was attracted to South Carolina because of the option to earn an MBA in just 10 months along with a Graduate Certificate in Business Analytics at no extra charge.

There are all sorts of professional and personal circumstances that can serve as a catalyst for an MBA, and we know that this ‘aha’ moment can happen at any time. That’s why we’re here to help whenever it does. Whether you’re at the beginning stages of thinking about an MBA or you know that 2019 is “your” year, reach out.  We’re happy to have a casual chat or a more serious conversation, depending on where you are in the process.

Either way, we want you to know that YOU can be #unstoppable, too!

It’s a powerful credential for millions.

But just because an MBA is a smart career move for a colleague, it doesn’t mean it’s the right call for you.

Over the course of five years working with hundreds of prospective students applying to the University of South Carolina Full-time MBA Programs, I’ve heard countless reasons for business school that fall into both and personal categories.

For instance, students interested in our 22-month International MBA often want global experiences to be a constant in their lives and are drawn to the resume-building eight-week in-country immersion.

Our One-Year MBA frequently attracts those who feel that the world is moving faster than their current work capabilities. They seek to advance (or pivot) as quickly as possible.

So, is an MBA is a smart move for your career? Here are some examples from our alums to help you decide.

  • Are you looking to magnify attention and resources to some of the biggest challenges in the world? Kate Williams parlayed her pre-MBA service in the Peace Corps into a post-MBA position in sustainability as senior impact manager at Fair Trade USA in San Francisco.
  • Do you want to execute a power play from one dynamic industry to another? Kristen Dozier, a former professional volleyball player, is now a senior associate of strategy at KPMG in New York City.
  • Managing a career move from the military to the commercial sector? International MBA student Dan Pritchard served in the Special Forces before business school and just finished interning as a chief of staff for a publicly-traded internet tech company in Santa Monica, California.
  • Are you interested in pivoting to business from a technical position? Kunal Shah, a One-Year MBA alum, worked as a systems design engineer in Mumbai and is now a finance analyst at one of the fastest-growing banks in the South.
  • Could you combine an interest in the law with business? Wesley Cooler earned a joint JD/MBA from the University of South Carolina, and now works in finance and digital innovation at The Coca-Cola Company headquarters in Atlanta.
  • Are you looking to make the jump to management?  Lauren Delphia, a One-Year MBA alumna, worked as a sales representative for a physical therapy firm and is now a territory sales manager for Medtronic, the world’s largest medical device company.

One of the best ways to determine if an MBA is right for you is to think about where you are today and where you want to be tomorrow.

Exploring whether an MBA can bridge those two visions is well worth your time. And here are three easy ways.

  1. Schedule a personal consultation.
    Contact me to start an informal conversation by phone, Skype, on campus. (I’m originally from New York and always happy to chat with prospective students from other parts of the world about what it’s like to live in South Carolina. Yes, the winters here are MUCH better!)
  2. Speak to current students who match where you are “today” or where you want to be “tomorrow.”
    Reach out to lead student ambassador Dan McEachin, who recently received a full-time job offer from Deloitte after interning as a summer associate along with students from other leading programs such as Darden, Fuqua, Ross and Stern.
  3. Scan our social media pages on Facebook and Twitter. Follow us, too!
    You’ll get a better sense of the school culture and community as well as inspiring career placement stories.

It doesn’t involve a big commitment to entertain the idea of a graduate management education. Start a conversation to get more clarity. You’ll be glad you did.

p.s. – If you’ve already decided that an MBA is right for you, start an application now. Our priority deadline is October 15. Meet it and you’ll receive a decision by December 1, just in time for family holiday gatherings!

Jennifer Ninh
Managing Director, Full-time MBA Programs

Many circumstances can lead someone to apply to business school.

Sometimes a career veers off the expected track. A corporate merger can rewrite job responsibilities or, worse, eliminate it altogether. Life experiences can ignite the desire to put more purpose into daily pursuits.

Whatever the reason, the next big career move is often an MBA.

The decision to pursue an advanced business degree naturally leads to another pivotal question — which MBA program is the best fit for you?

Online articles, websites and annual rankings abound, but there’s one step you should never skip when considering your shortlist of schools: the on-campus visit.

A visit adds a level of clarity that only comes with real-life experience. You’ll have the chance to meet students who have been in your shoes, get a feel for the academic rigor by attending a class and talk one-on-one with seasoned MBA professionals. You can know with certainty if a school is – or isn’t – the right place for you.

That’s why the University of South Carolina Darla Moore School of Business is ready to welcome you for a visit any time of year.

The Moore School bustles with activity all year long — even in the middle of summer. Cohorts for the University of South Carolina MBA programs begin July 1, a little earlier than other full-time programs. That means classes are in session throughout July and August. So, when you visit, you’ll have a chance to meet current students, engage with our faculty and chat with members of our admissions team.

Visiting when class is in session at the Moore School is great way to collect experiences, knowledge and connections as part of your school search. 

  • Curious about how your business idea can achieve international brand awareness? 
    Grab a seat in our Leading Teams and Organizations class to explore legal, cultural and economic implications of doing business in different countries.
  • Nervous about the quantitative aspects of the curriculum?
    Test the waters in Financial Accounting where the focus is on understanding and using financial statements.
  • Wondering how the degree will sharpen your decision-making skills?
    Exercise your left brain in Quantitative Methods and learn new decision analysis techniques.

The Moore School welcomes visitors at any stage of the admissions process. Join us whether you’re applying this year or are considering an MBA further along in the future. It’s never too soon to start exploring whether an MBA is right for you.

You don’t even have to be 100 percent certain about business school to schedule a visit. Even if you’re a little curious, we invite you to come see for yourself and learn more.

The bottom line: a campus visit brings a school’s culture to life in a way that can never be fully conveyed on a computer screen, magazine or brochure.

So, stop by whether you’re planning ahead or just happen to be in the area. We’ll be glad to show you around.

Schedule a visit and see why the Moore School could be your No. 1 choice.

Jennifer Ninh
Managing Director, Full-time MBA Programs

Daniel Pritchard will earn his International MBA with a Global Track Focus in May, 2020.

When you attend college with Pat Tillman, the former Arizona Cardinals linebacker killed in Afghanistan in 2004, it can shape your future career plans.

“Pat Tillman and I were friends,” says Dan Pritchard, who holds a bachelor’s degree in sociology from Arizona State University and is now a full-time student in the University of South Carolina’s International MBA program. “When he was killed, it was the catalyst for me to join the Army, too.”

Dan’s career in the armed forces was not completely unexpected for someone who grew up in a military family. His father served in the U.S. Navy during Vietnam and he has cousins in the Army Ranger Battalion.

Dan was both mentally and physically prepared for the challenges ahead, which included successful completion of the Special Forces Qualification course and several deployments overseas including Afghanistan. Stationed at Fort Bragg with his active duty service coming to a close, the Special Forces combat engineer sergeant began exploring next-stage careers. Dan’s Major General encouraged him to consider graduate school.

Since Dan had an interest in international business, he started searching online for International MBA programs. When the University of South Carolina came up as the first result, he saw that it was the country’s top International MBA program and was all the more intrigued.

After more conversations with mentors in both the military and academia, Dan started working with Jennifer Ninh, Managing Director of Full-time MBA programs at the University of South Carolina.

For many prospective students, the admissions process can be the most daunting part of a decision to go back to school. But it was surprisingly enjoyable for the 42-year-old Special Forces veteran. The USC MBA program assists active duty service members by helping them build resumes that position military experiences advantageously toward the private sector. Waiving the GMAT exam for current and former members of U.S. Special Operations is also a plus.

“Jennifer was pivotal in the early stages of my transition and grad school application process,” says Dan. “She and her supportive staff were focused on military MBAs and readily available to answer my questions. They helped guide me through the application process and point me in the right direction to find resources for veterans on campus.”

A more formidable challenge occurred during his first core classes.

“I came from a world where we trained to do the impossible,” says Dan. “I would do free-fall jumps at 35,000 feet with an oxygen mask and night vision goggles in order to land on an objective half the size of a football field to take out some warlord. Now I was sitting in a comfortable seat in a state-of-the-art classroom with my head spinning over Excel pivot tables?!?”

But it wasn’t just the spreadsheets that had Dan questioning if he could succeed in business school. The contrast between service and school also impacted his sense of self. He questioned how he could relate to his peers?

“Here I was in the front row of the class in my salt-and-pepper beard, surrounded by tech-savvy millennials, and struggling with quantitative analysis,” he confides. “They grew up with computers. I was the new guy. The novice.”

He also missed his safety net.

“I used to go to work every day humbled to be collaborating with the greatest men and women this country will ever really know,” Dan explains. “I knew that all my best friends at Fort Bragg would throw themselves in front of a bullet for me. At business school, these were all new relationships.”

Through this short spell of discomfort, the veteran discovered the value of teamwork in the business.

Sure, some of his peers were stronger in accounting and finance. However, he realized he could contribute through skills some of his classmates didn’t have.

“I’m good with presentations,” he adds. “I gave them in some pretty austere conditions.”

Most of all, Dan learned how his leadership talents could translate from the battlefield to business school.

Case in point: he wasn’t the only one who was away from his tribe.

“I missed the Green Berets,” admits Dan. “But then I realized that all the international students were at a distance from their families. We had more in common than I thought.”

So, Dan took the initiative to invite his classmates over to his house for a barbeque before the first football game.

In many ways, it was a natural extension of his work in the military to live beyond yourself.

“Most veterans have the ability to bring people together,” says Dan. “In today’s conflict zones, you go into tough situations with foreign nationals and you have to build rapport through language and cultural barriers.”

The Special Operations community is especially good at it. In fact, Dan points out that the mantra of the Green Berets is “De Oppresso Libre” (Latin for “To free the oppressed”) while the Air Force Special Operations has the motto: “That Others May Live.”

“There is no other organization that has that as their whole mission and strategy,” he adds.

Even in the lighter moments, you are taught that it’s never about you.

Of course, this strong team mindset holds true in more serious, life-threatening moments. And it explains precisely why veterans are so valuable to employers in the private sector.

“In addition to a willingness to go beyond your comfort zone, you can put a veteran in any room, give them limited resources, and they will figure it out,” says Dan.

After successfully completing core classes in subjects such as financial accounting and global marketing, Dan completed electives in Marketing Research, Product & Branding Policies, and Marketing Communications, and is now interning as a Chief of Staff intern for the publicly traded internet tech company, Leaf Group, assisting with investor meetings and strategy.

“At the Pat Tillman Run in 2013, I met Sean Moriarty, a double-alumnus of the University of South Carolina, who was on the board of directors of the Pat Tillman Foundation,” says Dan. “He is now the CEO of the Leaf Group, with headquarters in Santa Monica, California. I’m proud to have been hired and now assisting a fellow Gamecock who is also giving back to the veterans’ community along with the USC MBA.”

Although Dan has not yet decided on a post-MBA industry, he has the propensity from his military service to do something that matters and pursue business with a purpose.

Wherever he does land in the private sector, he will continue to live beyond himself.

Potential students are often curious about the size of our MBA classes — and cohorts — and wonder if there are any benefits to being in a larger or smaller cohort.

Rather than share my opinion, I recently sat down with 2017 International MBA graduate Brittany VanderBeek to get her thoughts on program size and other considerations when selecting a program. Brittany, an automotive marketing manager at Michelin in Detroit, shared her considerations and deciding factors in evaluating and selecting the International MBA at the University of South Carolina and what her experience was like as a student in the program.

Q: What was your academic and professional background prior to pursuing your MBA?

A: “I’m a Michigan native and received my undergraduate degree from the University of Michigan Ross School of Business, where I studied corporate strategy, sustainability and Spanish. After graduating, I started a career in consulting at BrownFlynn, a leading corporate sustainability and governance advisory firm headquartered in Cleveland. I strategized with Fortune 500 companies on their sustainability impacts and priorities, wrote sustainability reports, and developed stakeholder engagement initiatives.”

Q: What did you like about your work at BrownFlynn?

A: “I enjoyed the broad industry exposure, challenging projects and the opportunity to develop expertise in sustainable business.”

Q: Why did you start thinking about pursuing a full-time MBA?

A: “While I enjoyed working across multiple industries, I was more interested in having a sustainable impact at a single company, where all of my projects could contribute to one company mission. Around the same time, I was also picking up career cues from clients who wanted support in sustainable supply chain management. I knew an MBA would be a great way for me to learn about supply chain management.”

Q: How did you develop a short list of schools?

A: “I wanted the same caliber education as my undergraduate experience, but I also wanted something new and different. I was eager to expand my horizons and live in a new part of the country. I was drawn to International MBA programs that offered language and culture immersions, and the University of South Carolina was the leading contender.

Although I was open to possibilities, I established a few parameters. My criteria were more complex than simply searching for ranking or a “big” or “small” program. I wanted to replicate my undergraduate experience where I had the best of both worlds: small classes within a large university. I liked the personal attention while having all the resources of a big state university.”

Q: How was your first visit to the Moore School?

A: “When I walked into the MBA program admissions office, I immediately felt like part of the community. The admissions officers wanted to get to know me as a person; I wasn’t just another applicant number. I didn’t have an appointment, but they graciously offered me a tour, lunch with a student, and the chance to attend a sustainable business class. The small class was very interactive with a lot of dialogue between the professor and students. As a lifelong learner who appreciates an intimate learning community, I felt the smaller class sizes I’d experience at the Moore School would be an ideal learning environment.”

Q: How did that feeling continue as an MBA candidate?

A: “Smaller classes throughout the program helped me get to know my classmates and professors extremely well. As classmates, we were aware of each other’s unique backgrounds and career interests. During our daily interactions, we could easily share perspectives in depth, which added layers of context between our coursework and the real world. It was a rich learning experience.”

Q: You mentioned the international immersion opportunities our program offered. Did the stateside classroom experience translate to your international studies?

A: “During my language immersion abroad, we also enjoyed small classes, which helped us become language and culture experts. I collaborated with some of my classmates on field research of a creperie in Paris. The close-knit community helped us better understand the unique French business approach and we enjoyed crepes in the process!”

Q: Why is fit such a critical consideration when choosing an MBA program?

A: “The size of the community will impact how you experience your MBA. Think about not only the number of students, but also the past experiences of the classmates that will surround you. They will be your future colleagues and workforce network. Establishing deep relationships as an MBA student will build connections that will last throughout your career and life.”

Q: Did USC help you achieve your goal of expanding your horizons?

A: “Absolutely! Moving from the Midwest to the Southeast enabled me to experience the unique Southern lifestyle. I tried hearty foods such as barbecue and grits, explored the cobblestone streets of Charleston, and hiked the mountains of Greenville. When pursuing an MBA, it’s also key to think about the life experience you’ll have beyond the classroom. Those experiences help you grow as much as your studies.”

Jennifer Ninh
Managing Director, Full-time MBA Programs

As a former U.S. Army Police Team Leader, Kathe Pratt learned to handle a life-threatening crisis. As acting squad leader, she took charge and led her team through harrowing circumstances such as the day a SVBIED hit her SUV convoy in Iraq.

Kathe credits her take-charge attitude to her New Hampshire youth, where long, harsh winters hardened residents. “I gained something from that,” she says. “You go about life no matter what nature throws at you.”

While it was tempting to stay in the cocoon of New Hampshire, Kathe felt disconnected from the rest of the world. She wanted to do something other than go in the same direction. She says she was always a patriotic person, but 9/11 provided the extra push.

She enlisted in the Army in 2002. Kathe served two years in Seoul, spent time on a base in upstate New York, deployed to Iraq for a year. Upon her return, she earned her undergraduate degree in sociology — summa cum laude — at Mansfield University of Pennsylvania in 2010.

After her graduation she and her husband spent two years in South Korea’s Camp Stanley. During his service, they became the parents of twins and found themselves stateside again, this time at Fort Jackson in Columbia, South Carolina.

It was there Kathe wondered what might be next for a 30-year-old veteran and new mother of twins?  “I wanted something that would tie all the various experiences of my life together,” says Kathe.

With one year left on her GI Bill, Kathe began investigating MBA programs. It wasn’t long before she discovered the University of South Carolina MBA. “What attracted me to the program was the one-year format and the fact that it was very international,” she explains. “Plus, a lot of my classmates were International MBA students, so there was an international aspect of the one-year program as well.”

While proximity factored in her decision, Kathe doesn’t think there would have been a better choice than USC. “The program length was perfect. Class size was perfect. And everyone in the program was there to help. I don’t know if that would have been the case in a bigger school,” she says.

While boosting her earning potential was one motivation to getting an MBA, she believes the Moore School brought more to the table than just that.

Not only did Kathe earn a Graduate Certificate in Business Analytics alongside her MBA, she further sharpened her quantitative skills in cross-campus classes offered at the USC College of Engineering and Computing. The program also bolstered her presentation skills. “Before I completed my MBA, I hated presenting,” she says. “The program encouraged me to get in front of the class and enabled me to deliver professional presentations. Becoming more comfortable and confident in myself was one of the most valuable parts of the program.”

Today, Kathe is district manager for ALDI USA, a German supermarket chain, in Virginia. She’s responsible for hiring and coaching store managers as well as ensuring optimal staff performance. Managing others blends her past and present skills — her military service helps her be concise while the MBA education gave her confidence in a private sector civilian setting. 

Kathe says she never would have been considered for the position she now holds — nor any executive position — armed only with an undergraduate degree in sociology.

For Kathe, getting an MBA wasn’t a post-military Plan B. It was a path to where she always wanted to go. 

She found the career she’s longed for in a place that recognized the value of who she already was.

Did you know that you can earn your Juris Doctor from USC’s School of Law, the only nonprofit law school in the state, as a dual degree with the one-year or International MBA from the Darla Moore School of Business?

As one of the top-ranked MBA programs in the country, the USC MBA is competitive by any standard. Putting that degree on your resume is sure to make you stand out in your career, and adding a USC law degree on top of that will differentiate you even further.

Courtney Bowie (J.D./IMBA ’18) knew in high school that she wanted to pursue law and international business.

“I’ve always had an interest in foreign language and the opportunity to live and study abroad,” she said. “With the top-ranking international business program in the country, it just made sense to attend the University of South Carolina for law school with the intent to join the joint J.D./IMBA program.”

Now, as a lawyer in contract management at Accenture, the most valuable thing she gained through the joint program was general business acumen.

“Being immersed in an environment of business-minded classmates and faculty exposed me to a different way of thinking and speaking that helps me in my current role, which is a true blend of legal and business,” she said. “I work with the business leads on my account every day, so understanding both the legal and business impacts of the work I’m doing allows me to bring more value to my internal clients.”

Wesley Cooler (B.S. ‘14, J.D./MBA ’18) wasn’t set on one particular career path after graduating, so he chose the joint program as a means of experiencing two different fields while building his professional resume and skillset.

“The Moore School is the foundation for all that I hope to achieve in my career,” he said. “I plan to build my career from positions of influence where I can drive decisions, impact business results, and use both my business and legal education in a beneficial manner.”

Wesley echoed Courtney in what he found most valuable through the joint program: those softer skills that are often overlooked.

“Between law school, where cold calling is the common practice, and the vast number of presentations in my MBA classes, I was able to develop a great deal of experience in talking in front of others in a professional setting,” he said. “On top of that, we spent considerable time working on interviewing skills and developing our personal brand. These are skills and experiences that are incredibly important to any job or field I’ll work in throughout my career, and I am thankful that this program afforded me multiple opportunities to work on these skills.”

As a finance leadership associate in one of Coca-Cola’s two-year rotational programs in Atlanta, Wesley uses many of those skills on a daily basis. Although he’s still deciding on his next steps, these and other skills, as well as the network he built through the joint program, are sure to serve him well wherever he goes next.

“I honestly wasn’t sure what to expect going into the J.D./MBA program,” he said. “It was challenging and required a great deal of hard work, but it was worth it. The joint program at USC produces many successful alumni in a multitude of careers, and I find great value in having those options and the accompanying professional network.”

Madeleine Vath
Graduate Program Marketing and Communications Coordinator
Darla Moore School of Business

Interested in international business? The world is your oyster. These days, you would be hard-pressed to find a top MBA program that doesn’t offer some amount of international study experience. That alone speaks to the strong demand for business leaders who can demonstrate cultural awareness in a dynamic global economy.

Consider the geographic footprint of world’s hottest companies to understand why.

  • Want to work at Airbnb? The massive hotel chain disrupter has 31 offices around the world.
  • Dream about developing new marketing strategies for Coca-Cola? The world’s largest beverage company has customers in more than 200 countries.
  • Interested in improving supply chain analytics at Nike? The American sportswear giant has more than 700 factories in 42 countries.

But, the typical weeklong or ten-day study trip offered by many business schools won’t suffice in a globally focused business world. You need substantive experience to show employers that you truly understand international business.

That’s why the University of South Carolina MBA has been designed to provide a deeply immersive international experience — the best among business schools around the country according to U.S. News & World Report.

Top-Ranked for 29 Years (and Counting)
There was a time when only a few universities offered a globally focused business school curriculum. The University of South Carolina was a pioneer. In fact, our International MBA has been ranked among the nation’s top three programs for 29 consecutive years by U.S. News & World Report.

It’s exciting for us, of course. But it’s also exceptional for you.

Over the years, we’ve fine-tuned our international immersion to provide an experience that’s like no other. We’ve studied economic shifts in overseas markets. We’ve excelled in delivering experiential learning in second languages. And we’ve introduced a business anthropology model, so you can bridge business theory with actual human experience.

While other schools have launched new immersion programs, we bring you the benefit of decades of proven experience. There’s good reason why business school deans throughout the world have recognized us as the best program in international business for nearly 30 years.

Being recognized as the best for international business means that you will be, too.

The Nation’s Longest International MBA Immersion
It’s hard to truly understand international business if you just skim the surface. You need to spend time somewhere to understand the subtle dynamics of culture. You need time to challenge your initial observations, connect the dots and bring curiosity to every aspect of being abroad.

Our eight-week in-country immersion gives you that time. You don’t simply observe a culture; you become part of it.

We understand that gaining knowledge about international business takes more than crossing an ocean to visit ten companies in ten days. The most valuable lessons come through daily encounters like setting up cable in an apartment in a new country or shopping for groceries in a foreign language.

An immersion that’s measured in months rather than weeks (or even days) offers that proprietary perspective.

Learning to Speak a Shared Language
For all the headlines about needing hard skills in a big data world, one simple fact holds true: business is based on human behavior. That means you need both to be successful — hard skills for solving problems and soft skills for working with others.

There’s no better way to sharpen your soft skills than learning a new language. While we don’t intend to be the Rosetta Stone of business schools, we do want you to develop enough proficiency to understand the world from another person’s perspective. Learning and speaking a foreign language breaks down silos and helps you connect more closely with colleagues and clients.

Through our optional language track in the international immersion, you’ll become a better communicator (and influencer) in your native language as well as in French, German or Spanish. Learning another language makes you slow down, carefully consider your words and ensure comprehension. It’s a skill that facilitates stronger relationships and is rewarded in the job market, too. In fact, communication is one of the top three most important skills for employers. If you do not wish to pursue the language option, we have a non-language Global Track that provides an eight-week immersion abroad.

More than Business As Usual
These are just a few reasons the Moore School international immersion isn’t your typical MBA immersion. If you want to gain cultural awareness and communication skills that propel you head and shoulders above fellow MBA candidates throughout the nation, let’s talk.

Satish Jayachandran
Associate Dean for MBA Programs

A few months ago, I had the opportunity to participate in the 40th annual Atlantik-Brücke Young Leaders Conference. Founded in 1952, the Atlantik-Brücke (or, “Atlantic Bridge” in English), a non-profit and non-partisan organization, has a primary goal of deepening cooperation among Germany, Europe and America on all levels. The Young Leaders Conference I attended is just one facet of their many activities, which also include conferences, seminars, workshops and other events for organization members. The Conference offers leaders under the age of 35 the opportunity to engage in an intensive and interdisciplinary exchange on current transatlantic issues such as digitalization and its implications, the rise of nationalism, immigration and integration, national security, the role of media, and education. More importantly, however, the Conference encourages the building of both professional and personal bridges across the Atlantic.

My experience that summer week in and around Berlin, with a group of 25 Americans and 25 Germans representing the areas of government, diplomacy, academia, security, military, business, art, and sports, gave me much to think about. It may be no surprise that we did not reach any grand conclusions on any complex transatlantic topics, but we certainly had many intriguing and thought-provoking discussions. The diversity of the individuals in the group meant that each of us came away from the Conference with new perspectives and ideas, and new friendships that have already provided invaluable insight into ongoing discussions on current events.

These conversations have reconfirmed my belief that communication and cooperation efforts like these are critical for success — whether for a nation, a company, or an individual. Although I had the incredible opportunity to participate in the Young Leaders Conference, it’s certainly not necessary to travel to a different country to build new bridges. Following are a few of my reflections on how to consciously build bridges of communication and cooperation every day.

Think globally
In my company, Bosch, which is headquartered in Germany but has a large presence in the U.S. and around the world, thinking globally comes naturally. Every day, like many other internationally competitive companies, we think about the implications of our decisions on a global scale, as well as in our own local communities. In today’s world, it’s imperative to ensure sound decision-making on all of these levels.

However, wouldn’t it be great if identifying stakeholders and analyzing various potential outcomes of our decisions were not only workplace exercises, but happened at the individual level as well? How much better informed would our citizens be? How much stronger would companies be if new employees on-boarded with a global mindset? How much safer could the world be if people with differing ideas and perspectives communicated more effectively with their neighbors, whether local or international? This topic of increased dialogue and understanding was the underlying theme of the Young Leaders Conference, and it was inspiring to be around so many other attendees who are also passionate advocates of stronger global relations.

Pursue diversity of thought
There are many well-known studies that show that diversity in the workplace is generally linked to stronger company financial performance and more and better innovation. Beyond what is traditionally thought of as “diversity,” however – typically, gender and ethnicity –diversity of background and diversity of thought are just as important. It’s easy to get caught in the trap of surrounding ourselves with only those who are most like us, in our professional as well as personal lives, but this provides us with no new perspective.

It is also true that diverse teams are not always easy to be a part of, given their very nature. Individuals must work harder to communicate their ideas, since there is less common understanding. This friction was evident at the Young Leaders Conference as well, but I found that most attendees were willing to listen and speak their minds in equal proportion. Seeking out diversity may not always be simple, but it is only by consciously choosing diverse thought and opinion that we arrive at better decisions.

Avoid “filter bubbles”, both online and offline
Eli Pariser gave a great TED talk in 2011 on the subject of “filter bubbles.” As he explains, filter bubbles are the consequences of web algorithms (on our social media, search engines, etc.) serving only what they calculate to be the “most relevant” content for each of us. To marketers, these algorithms are enticing because they give companies the opportunity to target products and services to very specific sets of people. However, individually, this means that we all see different content based on our particular worldview and online actions. The more that we engage with online content that agrees with our views — by clicking, liking, commenting and searching — the more the algorithm learns what to serve us, and we start to see less of anything outside of that preferred set of content. In the social media world, “unfriending” or disengaging with those who have dissimilar views only hastens the creation of a smaller filter bubble.

This may be why it sometimes seems that two groups of people are almost speaking different languages about the same topic — perhaps sometimes essentially they are, if they have been served two entirely different sets of information.

Although there may not be much one can do to completely avoid filter bubbles online, intentionally seeking out and engaging with thoughts and ideas different from our own can ensure that one’s algorithmic information stream will be at least partially comprised of new and different content that may be outside of a current worldview (and comfort zone).

While filter bubbles primarily refer to our online worlds, it’s an important concept to keep in mind in our offline interactions as well. Similar to the topic of diversity already discussed, surrounding ourselves with a variety of opinion and thought will ensure that we don’t create offline bubbles too.

Be kind
It sounds simple, but I think there is much to be said for civility in difficult discussions involving differences of opinion. When people feel heard and valued for their opinions, even from across an ideological divide, this can help to create a sense of goodwill that can be the basis for healthy discourse. A few good practices for engaging in respectful, constructive discussion are to ask open-ended questions, listen and ask follow-up questions, reflect what you heard, highlight areas where you agree, and finally share your own opinions by discussing personal experiences. Even the specific words we choose to use in conflict situations are important, and have the ability to drive others further away, or draw them closer.

In my experience, in an honest discussion with an earnest desire to learn, we often discover that we are not actually that different after all.

Whether it’s among transatlantic leaders, co-workers, or next-door neighbors, taking the initiative to reach out and build a bridge of communication with a diverse mix of people is healthy (although sometimes difficult) and will lead to more understanding, better relationships, and ultimately better solutions.

Who will you build a bridge with?

Chelsea Render, International MBA, Class of 2009
Director of Marketing, North America
Bosch Building Technologies

Never has there been so much opportunity to search for a job with laser-sharp focus or efficiency. The tools and technologies available to today’s professionals make old-school approaches seem as outdated as printed phone books.

When I graduated from Kellogg, MBA students would blast resumes to corporate recruiters and hope for the best. Take that approach today and the only thing you’ll succeed in doing is getting your resume lost in an organization’s applicant tracking system, without visibility to even a junior HR coordinator.

After working for two industry-leading executive search firms for nearly two decades where I partnered closely with top-tier global organization’s hiring managers, I’ve seen the transformative change of an increasingly targeted recruitment process from both sides.

The organizations you want to work for today no longer execute a post-and-pray recruitment strategy; progressive hiring organizations are determined to identify and secure the cream of the crop in a war for talent – and job seekers need to know how corporate recruiters do that to increase their higher chance of success.

It’s going to take much more than a polished resume or refined elevator pitch. You’ll likely meet them one-on-one, usually multiple times, so they can clearly understand your goals and you can better understand their objectives. This mutual understanding enables both parties to “perfect the process” and be extremely prepared, which ultimately facilitates a better job match.

What I’ve Learned About the Executive Search Experience
Whether you’re seeking work in investment banking and management consulting or wanting to work with a companies like Microsoft, PepsiCo or Accenture, top-tier hiring organizations are searching for key traits in candidates irrespective of functional capacity or pay grade.

Three critical steps that often lead to more successful job searches include:

  1. Start early.
    Certain companies and industries start their recruiting process very early in a given hiring life-cycle or calendar year, so candidates need to begin their focal research and networking efforts into these targeted industries/companies early too. Financial services firms, for example, which are popular career path outlets for many MBA students, begin their recruiting process in the spring for the next (not following) summer. In other words, firms will be looking for summer 2021 placements in spring 2020.

    Consequently, candidates should begin thinking about career opportunities and firms they wish to work for as early in the admissions process as they can. When possibly speaking with alumni to learn more about a company or program, ask about their own career trajectory. Find out how they narrowed down their employment choices. Go beyond the usual metrics such as a promotion track or compensation packages to work-life balance influencers like happiness, fulfillment and purpose. You may not have a road map of your exact destination, but you’ll begin the program with a better idea of the routes you’d like to or can take.

  2. Do your research.
    Who would you choose to hire — someone who knows little about your company or someone who knows a great amount about your company and your competitors? Candidates who are especially conversant have a competitive edge. Show the value proposition that you bring to the position through knowledge that extends beyond the minimal requirements of the job description.

    Apply what you’ve learned in the classroom to your career search. Study a firm’s financial statements using the financial concepts and techniques you learn in Global Finance. Learn about the leadership style based on lessons from Leading Teams. Apply decision-analysis techniques from Quantitative Methods to articulate your thoughts on a recent business decision. Leverage the skills you’ve gained from your MBA program to fuel more sophisticated conversations with employers.

  3. Dream beyond the darlings.
    Facebook. Apple. Microsoft. Google. Amazon. While “FAMGA” companies dominate the tech sector and the attention of MBA students and graduates, they don’t own the market for challenging and interesting careers. There are countless companies that offer exceptional career progression, bountiful compensation and rewarding careers even though they don’t appear on the home page of TechCrunch.

Dig deep to ask yourself what it is about certain companies and industries that attracts you. Think about those qualities and expand your short list to give yourself more options. And don’t forget that established doesn’t equal staid. If you want to be on the cutting-edge of automotive technology, there’s more than Tesla. Jennifer Engel, IMBA ’18, used action-oriented design thinking principles to boost mobile app engagement at Ford Motor Company. An internship project targeting more than one million car owners in China and the United States enabled Jennifer to land a prestigious post-MBA position as a marketing strategist in the company’s marketing leadership program in Dearborn, Michigan. (And if you’re wondering whether Ford is truly on the cusp of technology, the Fortune 100 firm recently announced it will spend $4 billion on autonomous vehicles by 2023.)

Without doubt, an MBA is an invaluable advantage in today’s job market. In fact, many employers now only open specific jobs to MBA candidates.

Whether your next opportunity is on the University of South Carolina campus or in an industry around the globe, these tactics will lend your job search the accuracy today’s business world expects and demands.

Doug Hanslip
Director of Graduate Career Services

There’s only so much time, energy and opportunity to make first impressions. Follow this guide to maximize yours.

One of the most efficient, effective ways to search for (and shortlist) MBA programs, isn’t your smartphone or a website. It’s a recruitment fair or virtual event with a live and responsive MBA recruiter.

For the most successful experience, you’ll need to create a strategy for attending long before the day of the event. Plan ahead to explore your best options in the limited time you have. You don’t want to overlook your dream program, and you want to make an impact from the moment you introduce yourself.

I suggest considering these “4 P’s,” which we’ve adapted from the famous marketing framework, to make the most of your next MBA recruitment event.

  1. PLAN your journey.
    Planning to visit with an MBA recruiter, virtually or in person, is like planning a trip. (Incidentally, the University of South Carolina MBA enables you to spend EIGHT WEEKS in Paris — or another prominent international business hub — as part of our intensive international immersion.) But let’s say you only have five hours to spend in Paris. Would you arrive without an itinerary? Probably not. To make the most of a short visit, you need to consider the crowds at top attractions.
    Plan for your MBA events the same way. If it’s a fair, examine the participating schools on the recruitment fair website. Select a cross-section of programs based on your professional and academic profile. Review admissions criteria, then pick some stretch schools, safety schools, and “probable” MBA programs where your admissions chances are strong.
    Like the Louvre, some business schools attract herds of prospective students at in person MBA fairs. You can easily find yourself waiting in line when you could be learning about other programs. Don’t be afraid to modify your plans and pivot to another program when needed. I’ve seen time and again that a prospective student stops by a school table they hadn’t considered, discovers an ideal fit, and ends up attending — and loving — the program.
    The time goes by fast. So if you expect to attend a recruitment fair where we’ll be, let us know so we can plan a time to meet or start discussing your plans now.
  2. PREPARE by researching complementary channels.
    One of the smartest things you can do before an event is to get familiar with programs you’re interested in. Go online to get key details like application deadlines and admissions criteria. Skim through program websites, social media posts and blogs written by students or admissions staff so you can focus on more substantial questions in person.
    Use your time at the event to discuss your short-term and long-term goals and how a particular program can help you achieve them. Your pre-event research will inform meaningful conversations about program culture, career placement success, application tips, activities and clubs and other aspects of your MBA.
    Prepare questions before you arrive and prioritize them, so you’ll get answers to your most important questions if you’re short on time. A one-on-one chat at a virtual event is a good place to discuss sensitive issues you wouldn’t feel comfortable sharing in a group webinar or information session.
    Remember, there are multiple ways to engage with a school. Pick the one channel in your ongoing conversations that makes the process the easiest and most meaningful.
  3. PRACTICE your elevator pitch.
    The first words that come out of your mouth will set the tone of the conversation. Practice your “opening” line. Do you want to ask a question? Describe your career goals? Share a short story that shows a connection to the school or the campus location? For example, knowing the USC rankings in international business, can you share your global experiences?
    If you’re seriously considering a school, be sure to show how you fit with the program’s core principles. For example, at USC, we believe our MBA experience sets the stage for an unstoppable career. The best examples of that approach? Our many alumni, who are putting their MBAs to work in international businesses across the United States and around the world.
    Here’s a tip to help you prepare for these critical conversations. Picture yourself as the admissions officer.  How do you think you come across? Are you a compelling candidate? Are you memorable — in a good way?
  4. PRESENT your credentials on paper.
    Even the best conversations benefit from additional context. For example, we can’t explore how we can help a candidate realize their dream — such as making a career pivot from international professional volleyball player to senior associate of strategy at a premier management consultancy in NYC or securing a plum position at Amazon in Seattle — without first knowing their professional work history.
    While the elevator pitch is key, also be prepared to provide a more complete picture of your career to-date. An updated resume gives admissions officers like me an arc of your academic and professional background. Your resume doesn’t need to be fully polished; just crisp enough that you feel comfortable giving it to a school representative who may share it with the school’s full admissions team.  For in-person events, don’t forget to bring extra copies and business cards (if you have them) with you.
    Your goal is always to start a conversation — one that ideally continues.  After virtual events, have your resume ready to send in a short thank you or follow up note.

If you’re ready to start a conversation with USC, we’ll be at a few select MBA fairs this fall and we have multiple virtual events all application season.

Jennifer Ninh
Managing Director, Full-time MBA Programs

There’s a good reason more than 200,000 students earn a master’s degree in business each year.

At first blush, you might think their goal is to boost their earnings or accelerate their career. But there’s often much more that comes with the degree.

An MBA Fulfills Higher-Level Needs
Abraham Maslow is one of the most influential psychologists in modern history. In studying humans’ desire to live the best life possible, he discovered our needs had different levels. Once foundational needs are met — food, shelter, safety, love and belonging — our attention can turn to two higher-level needs: esteem and self-actualization.

With basic needs secure, we can focus on aspirational needs such as personal growth, confidence and achievement. That explains, in part, why the MBA is one of the most popular graduate degrees. Not only are there limited ways to leapfrog to the top of the pyramid, with an MBA, you can do it in just a year or two. That alone is powerful ROI.

But your definition of esteem and self-actualization is yours alone. Someone with a strong passion for entrepreneurship, for example, might be influenced by a need for independence. Someone who seeks employment at an elite consulting powerhouse could be driven by prestige. Another peer may be motivated by the desire to know that their work is appreciated and recognized.

That also means the ROI of your MBA begins with an understanding of your unique values and priorities.

An MBA Offers Unparalleled Career Exploration
The first step in securing any dream job is to make sure the job is exactly that. What you think you want to do and what you will enjoy doing are not always the same thing. And it’s better to find that out before you accept a job offer.

That’s why the Darla Moore School of Business integrates the Birkman Method, a multi-dimensional scientific assessment. This approach is the one trusted by many Fortune 500 companies to identify a person’s underlying needs and motivations, interests and expectations, and occupational focus. The Birkman Method can also help you crystallize your business interests or open your eyes to career avenues that you didn’t even know existed. Throughout your time in the program, your Birkman results are customized guidance we use to create an interview-ready resume, compelling LinkedIn profile and even your elevator pitch to employers.

Beyond Birkman, you’ll work with individual career coaches who will help you with career exploration and job search strategies. You’ll also have the opportunity to network with employers at exclusive MBA recruitment fairs.

An MBA Is Your Ticket to Elite Employers
There’s an old adage: You can tell a lot about someone by the company they keep. And the same can be said of business schools.

In the past four years, our graduates have been hired by leading global companies such as Accenture, Amazon, Bank of America, BMW, Boeing, Coca-Cola North America, Credit Suisse, Deloitte, ExxonMobil, Google, Honeywell, IBM Global Services, Michelin, Mondelēz and UPS. We also place students in firms that may not be as widely known, but offer equally exciting opportunities in consulting, finance, technology and other in-demand industries.

The Moore School never stops cultivating employer connections. In fact, our employer team is on the road throughout the year, meeting companies in major metropolitan areas such as Atlanta, Charlotte, Houston, New York City and other top job markets.

An MBA Invigorates Your Personal Network
Some business schools boast about the size of their alumni network. Frankly, we don’t blame them. After all, we’re pretty proud of our more than 45,000 Moore School alumni, which include leaders at more than 100 top-performing global companies.

Yet we know that impressive numbers aren’t enough. You need an alumni network made up of people who will promptly answer your career questions and earnestly introduce you within their companies.

The Moore School maintains strong relationships with students well beyond graduation. We can connect you to alumni who can be most helpful in your career search. Our strong alumni relationships are a super highway of opportunity for you. We’re equally proud that Moore School alumni maintain involvement with our program. We often know about internship and job opportunities before the marketplace ever does.

An MBA Doesn’t have to be Extravagant
Finally, there’s no ROI equation without calculating the cost of the investment. That’s why we provide generous scholarship and fellowship packages and offer the option to spread your program payments out over your total enrollment.

As you consider the net cost, we also encourage you to ask another question: will this program offer the same placement outcome as another program, but at a more sensible cost?

The ROI of your MBA will ultimately depend on the amount of effort you put into your studies and career search. But one thing is 100 percent certain. You’ll have our support at every stage of the program to achieve the greatest return possible.

Jeff Rehling
30 Years of Marketing & Consulting Experience
Clinical Faculty – Marketing
Director, Center for Marketing Solutions

Many students I meet with know the value of learning from a leader in global business. What they’re far less sure about is which type of MBA program is right for them.

Before I discuss degree options, I want to understand two aspects of your pursuit: why you want an MBA and what you hope it will do for you. Between my experience and your answers to these two questions not only will a degree path emerge, it’ll be one that fits your career goals, experience and time requirements.

While the process is not as cut and dry as it sounds, this career reflection, goal establishment and long-term planning is imperative to completing your MBA on-time and with the most value for your investment.

Here’s how we get you thinking through these key questions to find the degree that fits your goals, plans and timeline.

1. Think about your career focus and answer the following questions:

  • What do you like about your current position?
  • What do you dislike about it?
  • Would adding concentrated business knowledge and expertise to your current experience enhance your career?
  • Would global business expertise open up additional opportunities for you?
  • Do you seek to increase your leadership potential?
  • Are you where you want to be industry-wise, but want to skip a few rungs on your career ladder?

2. Think about what you’d like to gain through your MBA studies:

  • Would you like to learn another language and gain higher-level fluency through international immersion?
  • Do you want international experience that has the potential to create global career opportunities?
  • Do you want to acquire specialization in a functional area of business such as finance or supply chain management?
  • Would you like the opportunity to enhance your degree with graduate or industry certificates in specific areas?

3. What are the advantages for me to study at the University of South Carolina?
Some schools will have specific advantages when you consider your unique interests, timeline and educational goals. Here are points to consider:

  • South Carolina is consistently a top state for foreign direct investment so you’ll have a path to multiple Global 100 company headquarters as well as the service providers and manufacturers that support them.
  • Our MBA curriculum incorporates projects with corporations and business entities through our university’s nine Research and Partnership Centers.
  • You’ll join a tightly knit alumni organization featuring leaders at more than 100 top-performing companies including Accenture, Amazon, Apple, Coca-Cola, Delta, ESPN, Johnson & Johnson, L’Oreal, Microsoft, New Balance, Siemens, Starbucks, Wells Fargo and more.
  • In the past four years, our graduates have been hired by companies such as Bank of America, BMW, Boeing, Credit Suisse, Deloitte, ExxonMobil, Google, Honeywell, IBM Global Services, Michelin, Mondelēz, UPS and Zulily
  • You’ll be part of a school community that cares as much about you as a person as your personal success.
  • You’ll live in a vibrant city recently ranked among the Top 50 “Best Places to Live” by U.S. News & World Report.

4. What can you realistically afford from a financial perspective?
Here, you’ll have choices and opportunities that can make your education more affordable or enhance the value of your degree, such as:

  • If you’re on a short timeline due to a career transition or change, our one-year MBA can offer significant ROI.
  • If you’re seeking greater global opportunities, our International MBA was one of the world’s first International MBA programs and remains the #1 program in the country according to U.S. News & World Report.
  • Nearly 100 percent of our incoming classes receive scholarships, fellowships or some level of financial support and the most qualified can earn awards of up to 100 percent.

While there are many choices to be made as your MBA journey begins, know that at the University of South Carolina you’ll have a team alongside you for guidance, insight and support. As you work through your degree and specialization decisions, your application and admission, our team — from fellow students to program administration and faculty to alumni mentors — is here to help you.

You don’t have to be an applicant to get started. Just email me or call me at 803-777-7903 to discuss your career aspirations and plans.

Jennifer Ninh
Managing Director, Full-time MBA Programs

As a 2018 graduate, I’m anticipating my first post-MBA position at Smith & Nephew in Memphis, TN. But even with the excitement of commencement just ahead, I can easily remember how nerve-wracking the application process was. Not just finding the right recommendation letters and editing my essays, but had I submitted my application early enough?

To help future students of the Moore School of Business, I sat down with Jennifer Ninh, director of admissions for the full-time MBA program. She was eager to talk about applications because around this time of year the MBA office receives a rash of phone calls from potential candidates. The calls often share a common concern: is it too late to apply for the program’s incoming summer class?

Here’s the answer to that application question and many more.

Q: Why might an applicant apply this close to the start of an MBA program?

A: For many late applicants, the driver is the workplace. If a division is sold and management changes or a corporate assignment occurs that doesn’t match a candidate’s career goals or ideals, pursuit of an MBA can become more attractive than staying put — especially for those who planned on earning an MBA someday. In other cases, it may just be a matter of timing. Corporate relocations can create opportunities for spouses. And as members of the military reach the end of their service, they don’t always know the exact date they’ll be able to make their career transition. Whatever the reason, we do everything we can to ensure qualified candidates get into the program when the timing is right for them.

Q: How does the admissions process change for a late application?

A: It doesn’t. We have what’s called a rolling admissions process. That means as soon as an application is submitted, our team quickly assesses it and makes a decision on whether the candidate has the top qualifications needed to enter the MBA program this year. Even if most seats have been filled and most scholarships awarded, we work closely with our best-qualified applicants so they don’t have to wait another year.

Q: How do rolling admissions differ for program applicants?

A: In a nutshell, rolling admissions mean that as an application comes in, it can be reviewed and a preliminary decision can be made almost immediately. If the preliminary decision is positive, the candidate is immediately invited to interview. The interview of a late applicant is absolutely pivotal as an early applicant has more time to get to know us and showcase their skills through the typical discussions that occur during the applications process.

Q: Any tips for creating a strong and compelling late application?

A: My biggest advice is to that your application must be cohesive and appear as if you’ve taken months to create it. It needs to be polished and error free.

Q: Any tips for an applicant who wants to evaluate their application?

A: You have one shot to make a top impression. Focus on well-written objective statements and essays, a concise, strong-selling and well-formatted resume, and recommendation letters that specifically address your ability to pursue an MBA. Reach out to a mentor or an associate you respect and ask them to review and critique your work so you can refine it.

Q: Can a late applicant stand out among a class of already-admitted candidates?

A: Absolutely. The key is to present an interesting and unique application that shows us why you are a standout. As a smaller sized program, we strive to bring in a very diverse class. Selling yourself strongly throughout your application and highlighting how you fulfill demands in key hiring areas for MBAs will greatly enhance your story.

Q: Should late applicants contact you before they apply?

A: Definitely. In fact, before hitting submit on your application, we highly recommend making a call to us. If you think you’re a match for our program, we want to hear from you right away. With such a tight timeframe on late applications, your call establishes a connection that helps us smooth the admissions process. We can advise you on how to get all of your application pieces together quickly and in the proper format. On the flip side, if we don’t see any path in the coming year, we’ll be honest with you.

Q: If an applicant isn’t admissible for an upcoming term, can they be considered for the next one?

A: We often see late applicants who would have been admitted and awarded scholarships if they’d applied earlier. If that’s the case for you, we’ll work with you to move your application to an upcoming term. As an early applicant, you’ll be among the first to be reviewed and have the benefit of ongoing access to our team as you refine your application for admissions. For some late applicants, we can event offer automatic admissions to the next class intake.

Q: Any last thoughts for late applicants?

A: Yes, go ahead and apply! If you have an amazing background and strong credentials, we’d like to make room for you in this year’s class. One last thought is to remember that the admissions process itself is telling. How you turn an application and the quality of your application elements are examples of your capabilities and how well you can adapt to and manage time constraints. Good workplace skills not only stand out in the program, we can see it as early as the application process.

Matthew Zollmann, Class of 2018

Many candidates seek an MBA to boost their salary or energize their career, but those aren’t the only positives. For me, the International MBA from the Darla Moore School is how I connected with the German financial services company, Allianz, and now enjoy living overseas in Germany with my family.

If you’ve never worked overseas, you might not know that the business world operates a little differently than its U.S. counterpart. Yes, I work long hours, too, but with those hours comes a life-work balance that’s hard to come by stateside.

When my wife and I had our first child last year, we had a combined fourteen months of parenting leave. But that’s not the only European perk. I can ride my bike to work. When I enjoy coffee at 10 a.m., it’s not Starbucks. We have a real Italian machine with espresso and cream. After work, I have time to work out outdoors in Olympic Park and join friends and colleagues at a beer garden a few times a month. When I travel for work, I travel to wonderful cities like Brussels and Amsterdam. My weekends aren’t interrupted by work.

In my career, I enjoy a level of meaning and fulfillment that no raise or promotion can bring. All because I was willing to step outside my comfort zone and put my career as a commercial underwriter on ice to join the Peace Corps and then pursue an International MBA from the University of South Carolina.

In the Peace Corps, my eyes were opened to the many opportunities business can bring to cultures and populations. I worked with a group of disenfranchised individuals — nomads who were shunned by society and marginalized through physical abuse. Girls forced into marriage at the age of twelve or thirteen. We established community outreach efforts for the group, including a center for women and girls, to build their confidence and empower them with business skills. It was a rewarding experience that reinforced my hope for the world.

After the Peace Corps, I went to work for the largest Bulgarian NGO, which focused on economic development projects along the Danube River. I was charged with developing and implementing cross-border cooperation programs between Bulgaria and its neighboring countries of Romania and Serbia. In addition, I managed grant programs to help countries in Central and Eastern Europe join the European Union. That’s when it really clicked for me.

I wanted complete socio-economic understanding. That meant I needed international business perspective to link to the cultural aspects of my work. I had one part of the equation so I turned to the Darla Moore School for the second part of the equation: my MBA.

Today, I’m part of Allianz Worldwide Partners and based in Munich. As a senior project manager, I am responsible for identifying more cost-effective labor for our shared service centers throughout Europe and Asia. While my role has a direct connection to our company’s bottom line, there’s an equally important aspect of my work. One project I am working on now will help build competencies at the local level and improve the quality of life of individuals through a new call center in Thailand. That’s incredibly meaningful.

My career at Allianz began through with my program internship. As a strategic distribution intern in Munich, I helped create a cost model for a 200 million euro agency program for Italy, France and Germany. I also prepared and delivered several high-level strategic presentations for the Board of Directors at Allianz SE. As an intern, I had high-level visibility in the company. It was a thrill to be offered — and to accept — a position in group operations in Munich.

My time at the University of South Carolina gave me essential skills in organizational design, which I used to run business model assessments for all operating entities within the Allianz Group. Within two years, I was promoted to project manager in the Paris office and, later, was promoted to my current role.

While joining the Peace Corps and enrolling in the University of South Carolina MBA program were great decisions, neither would have been possible if I’d accepted the lull of my underwriting career. Willingness to leave your comfort zone and take a chance can be the most difficult steps.

If I hadn’t attended the University of South Carolina for my MBA, I would not be working at Allianz. While my ambition has always been to work and live overseas, if I hadn’t attended the Moore School, I probably wouldn’t be working overseas. Here I am doing what I’ve always wanted to do and I couldn’t be happier about my career or my life.

Chase Morgan, Class of 2012

If you look on my resume, you might notice that I haven’t always been a faculty member or an educator, for that matter. Before I became a full-time faculty member at the University of South Carolina’s Darla Moore School of Business, I’d spent 25 years in marketing strategy development for real-world businesses. While I don’t have a doctorate in the academic sense, I joke that those 25 years were a Ph.D. in the ‘real world.’

One thing I learned in more than two decades in business is some things simply can’t be picked up from a textbook or in a classroom. This dynamic is what I often call the art and science of marketing. Yes, science can answer many questions but, frequently in the business world, there’s some degree of art also needed to create successful outcomes. But teaching such instinct and skill isn’t easy. How do you teach creative thinking, agility, curiosity, independence, resiliency and relationship building? Certainly techniques and tools help, but I believe the best way to build these artistic skills is through practice and application. The answers to marketing questions don’t always live in textbooks; they live inside you. You have to leverage this combination of art and science to identify a winning solution, to communicate it and ultimately lead it to successful completion.

In teaching my students, I bring the real world into the classroom every day, through direct connections to a real client, a real marketing problem or a real learning opportunity. While some schools talk about experiential learning, at the University of South Carolina, we embrace and integrate it throughout our curriculum.

The Moore School of Business features nine Research and Partnership Centers for experiential learning and I’m fortunate to lead the Center for Marketing Solutions. Other research centers include the Operations and Supply Chain Center, the Risk and Uncertainty Management Center, the Folks Center for International Business, the Center for Executive Succession, the Center for Applied Business Analytics, the Center for Sales Success, the Riegel & Emory Human Resources Center and the Faber Entrepreneurship Center. Each center is committed to deepening our relationship with leading companies to ensure the Moore School’s programs provide the absolute best experience for our students, the next generation of business leaders.

As an example, in the Center for Marketing Solutions, we reach out to organizations and build direct connections between our faculty, students, courses and our corporate partners. Learn more about our collaborative approach and see ways we harnessed our connections in 2017:

  • Corporate partners such as Textron, FedEx, Ingersoll-Rand, Sonoco, Lionsgate Entertainment and Coca-Cola Bottling provided our center with projects each semester that were integrated into our courses.
  • Dozens of marketing and sales executives spoke in our classes and shared the current state of their industry, along with their company’s unique business and marketing challenges. These sessions feature cases, simulations and networking, all led by our corporate partners.
  • The Center for Marketing Solutions advisory board includes more than a dozen senior executives who meet annually to review our curriculum, interact with faculty, help us identify new corporate partners, and share hiring opportunities for both student internships and full-time jobs.
  • Our students are invited to attend the University of South Carolina CMO Summit, an annual event featuring as many as eight senior marketing executives speaking on current topics, networking with our students and participating in panel discussions. The 2017 event, co-hosted by Forbes, featured speakers from Disney/ESPN, Nationwide Insurance, IBM Watson and Coca-Cola.

The marketing discipline and the business world overall is transforming at a pace we’ve never seen before.  The opportunities, challenges and tools we have today will be very different in 10 or even five years. We can’t predict the future so our efforts to formalize experiential learning are a critical piece of our curriculum, not because we don’t believe in the science but because the art is more important than ever.

As you’re researching options, pay particular attention to a formal connection to the real world.  Our commitment to you is to provide the optimal balance of art and science so you can successfully impact the real world today and tomorrow.

Jeff Rehling
Clinical Faculty – Marketing
Director, Center for Marketing Solutions 

There’s a great deal of information about business schools in the digital sphere. That means you’re one search query away from a pipeline of information and advice — much of it conflicting. So where can you turn for advice about choosing a business school knowing that even the most well intentioned co-workers, friends and family can have biased opinions?

That conundrum is one reason media rankings are so popular. In the search for an objective third party, many prospective students rely on publications such as Bloomberg Businessweek, Financial Times, Forbes, Poets & Quants, The Economist, The Princeton Review, or U.S. News & World Report.

But even in these publications, “experts” often disagree. Results vary widely depending on the publication or even the year. That’s why one of the most common questions I’m often asked is about our rankings and what they mean.

Here are four things you need to know about MBA rankings.

1. Each media ranking is based on a different methodology.
Comparing one ranking to another is like comparing apples to oranges. They’re all different. Some rankings place more weight on corporate recruiter surveys. Others factor test scores of admitted students. The variance in criteria among rankings is what leads to different results.

U.S. News & World Report, which ranked the University of South Carolina MBA #1 for international business in 2017, calculates its specialty ranking of the best business schools according to ratings by business school deans and directors of accredited MBA programs. It considers the opinions of industry leaders who are deeply immersed in the business school sector on a daily basis and have an extensive purview of best practices. They attend numerous conferences around the world to share knowledge about exceptional programs with cutting-edge curriculum or subject matter expertise. In other words, they know which business schools excel in international business, and rank programs accordingly.

2. Media rankings are multidimensional.
Many prospective students focus on the total ranking of a particular program, but it’s equally important to look at individual components. For example, the Financial Times considers 20 different criteria in their overall ranking.

In their 2017 ranking, the University of South Carolina MBA program is ranked in the top 40 in the U.S. (#77 in the world). With respect to the individual criteria, we’re ranked:

  • No. 1 in the world for international course experience
  • No. 2 in the world for percentage of female MBA students
  • No. 2 in the U.S. for international mobility for MBA graduates

Dig deeply into cumulative rankings for metrics that are meaningful to you. That single overall number is sometimes strongly influenced by factors that may be inconsequential to you.

The Financial Times calculates 20 percent of their ranking on the increase in alumni salaries, but only 3 percent on alumni aims achieved — the extent to which alumni fulfilled their stated goals or reasons for doing an MBA.

You may be considering an MBA because you want to work at a startup or in social entrepreneurship like Kate Williams, 2015 MBA. Before attending the Moore School, Kate was a microfinance consultant and business project manager in the Peace Corps in Nicaragua. Today, she’s an impact manager at Fair Trade USA in Oakland, California. Alums like Kate achieve their stated goals yet their chosen career path is “worth” less in the Financial Times ranking.

3. You need to take a long-term view of rankings.
We’ve proud to be ranked in U.S. News & World Report as one of the top 3 graduate international business programs for 28 consecutive years, but it’s important to note that media rankings fluctuate year to year for trivial reasons. For example, an editor may modify the ranking’s methodology or expand the number of schools included. Changes like these can realign programs from previous rankings.

A school can even inadvertently omit a data point the survey as one top business school did. They dropped nine points in a major ranking last year. Rankings can be unpredictable so it’s critical to take a long-term view.

4. Some schools don’t even get ranked or drop out of rankings for good reason.
Schools may not be eligible to participate in some rankings based on the longevity of their program or class size, among other reasons. If your targeted MBA program is small by design, the advantages of that small, tight cohort and network may not be as apparent if you’re evaluating purely by ranking.

Often, schools simply choose not to participate in rakings. It takes a lot of internal resources to manage and submit surveys required by ranking organizations. While larger business schools may have a staff person dedicated to coordinating and managing rankings year-round, smaller schools invest those resources into services that benefit students such as scholarships or strengthening employer relations in major cities.

You may have noticed that the Moore School isn’t included in the Bloomberg Businessweek ranking.

Marcelo Frias, managing director of Full-Time MBA Programs, explains why. “Bloomberg Businessweek calculates its’ ranking, in part, based on a minimum amount of survey responses from alumni. That’s always going to be easier to achieve for programs with hundreds of students,” he says. “Our intentionally small class size impacts our ability to meet these thresholds. As a result, our high level of alumni satisfaction doesn’t get reflected in this ranking. Instead, we communicate it through stories on our website and social media channels, and are always happy to connect prospective students to chat directly with alums.”

Suffice to say that there’s a lot more to rankings than meets the eye. Look into our rankings and then talk to us. In fact, you can email me or call me at 803-777-0262. I’m happy to any questions you many have about rankings or, even better, discuss how our placements can impact your career aspirations and plans.

Jennifer Ninh
Managing Director, Full-time MBA Programs

Two years ago, I moved to Charlotte after accepting a job at Bank of America. I might never have discovered this amazing city if I hadn’t chosen to pursue my MBA at the Darla Moore School of Business in Columbia, SC. Both the Moore School and Charlotte have turned out to be perfect homes for me.

But Columbia wasn’t always on my radar.

You might suspect that candidates mostly consider rankings, scholarships and alumni involvement as they evaluate MBA programs. While those things are important and the Moore School is strong across the board, according to an applicant survey by QS TopMBA, 51 percent of business school applicants pick their school based on location, which can affect everything from career opportunities to cost.

Before you pack your bags for the hustle and bustle of New York City or the start-up fever of Silicon Valley, you should carefully consider all that Columbia, South Carolina has to offer.

It’s a top-ten college town.
Columbia is the capital of South Carolina and it sits smack in the middle of a state rich with beauty, history and increased economic growth. It also doesn’t hurt that Columbia is ranked one of the top 10 college towns in the U.S.

Columbia is a capital place to be.
When you choose the Moore School you’ll spend time in South Carolina’s thriving capital city. It boasts an affordable cost of living that’s well below the national average — one reason Columbia was recently ranked among the Top 50 “Best Places to Live” by U.S. News & World Report.

When you need a break from class, you can enjoy your time in any number of ways:

  • Hang out or meet friends in the city’s handful of unique arts, shopping and dining districts.
  • Enjoy the university’s historic downtown campus and the many cultural, sports and educational events it provides.
  • Spend time outdoors in the city’s expansive riverfront park, at one of the city’s many seasonal festivals, or at nationally respected Riverbanks Zoo and Botanical Garden.

It’s tucked between two major metropolitan areas.
Atlanta, Georgia, and Charlotte, North Carolina, the two economic and cultural hot spots in the region, are major sources of job opportunities for International MBA graduates. Both cities were recently ranked in the top 10 for metropolitan areas exceeding job growth expectations.

The immersion program is second to none.
International MBA students at the Moore School spend months immersed in foreign countries and deeply experience the connection between business and local culture firsthand. Internships in global corporations provide hands-on lessons that help produce exceptionally competent global business leaders. That’s one reason Moore School students successfully land jobs around the world.

Global career opportunities abound in your backyard.
In neighboring Atlanta, just three hours by car from Columbia, International MBA graduates have recently secured jobs at Delta, Ernst & Young, The Coca Cola Co., Newell Rubbermaid, and ScottMadden Management Consultants, among other global corporations.

Other reasons Atlanta is a career hotspot:

  • named Atlanta the second best city in the country for millennials, based on job growth and other factors.
  • Moody’s expects Atlanta’s job growth to be 14.3 percent through 2019.
  • The cost of living in Atlanta is lower than that of other big cities.
  • Residents enjoy vibrant nightlife and access to popular attractions including the world-renowned aquarium and zoo.

My hometown of Charlotte, N.C. is just a short hour-and-a-half drive north of Columbia. Like me, recent Moore School graduates have landed jobs at Bank of America, Cognizant Technology Solutions, Dimensional Funds Advisor, IBM Consulting and other leading corporations.

Other reasons the Queen City is king:

  • The region is known for opportunities in consulting, technology, finance, and healthcare — the same industries that lead the way in increased full-time recruitment activity according to a January 2016 survey by MBA Career Services and Employers Alliance.
  • Charlotte has the second highest population growth among large U.S. cities.
  • It’s a mix of trendy neighborhoods, NASCAR culture, highly respected museums and cultural attractions.
  • The region boasts eight Fortune 500 corporate headquarters and more than 850 foreign companies — big reasons why the city is the United States’ second largest financial center.
  • listed Charlotte as the #1 Best Place to Live, citing education, economy, crime rate, parks, recreation and housing as criteria.

But as much as I’m enjoying life in Charlotte now, it’s also good to know that my favorite Columbia people and places aren’t too far away!

Ryan Nielsen (2015, International MBA)
Vice President – Information Security
Bank of America Corporation

When you step in your first class at the Darla Moore School of Business, you’ll notice something different right away. Your cohort wouldn’t fill up an auditorium. Our average cohort size is 40 to 50 students. And that’s good for you on several levels.

Our priority isn’t enrollment quotas. We created the Moore School to be an environment that’s conducive to personal interactions and relationship building. Here’s why.

Whether you work in business development or finance, it’s relationships that drive business. So we ensure our students have space to collaborate and lead with ample opportunities to practice their business skills.

As part of that process, we know you’ll need to understand yourself as deeply as you understand others. You’ll need to experience different situations — including stressful ones — to know how you’ll respond or adapt.

Self-awareness is so important in business that we employ the Birkman Method, a multi-dimensional scientific assessment trusted by many Fortune 500 companies for providing the highest insight into people’s motivations, perceptions and behaviors.

In your first weeks as Moore School student, you’ll take a Birkman assessment to identify your personal perspectives in key areas including behavioral styles, underlying needs and motivations, stress behavior, interests and expectations, and occupational focus.

Throughout your program, you’ll work one-on-one with career coaches to address these insights, and use them to guide decision-making and identify your preferred work environment.

Your Birkman insights can even shed light on job offers. If you have two job offers, its easy to see which would best align with your workplace needs and preferences, and which might offer you the greatest opportunity for personal success.

The Birkman Method isn’t just about the warm and fuzzies. We found job placements increased by 30 percent once we started using the test. It’s also prescriptive. Through it you can learn how to better manage relationships — a key skill in the business world that can be the difference between receiving a promotion and a pink slip.

We believe the global managers we educate are really global relationship-builders. That’s why we help our students build individualized business awareness, skills and knowledge that will help them thrive — in every situation.

Jennifer Ninh
Managing Director, Full-time MBA Programs

I’ve been in graduate admissions long enough to know applications seem overwhelming. The good news? The University of South Carolina MBA application system lets you work on your application as you go. You can save what you’ve done and pick it back up at another time.

Here are a few things I’d like you to know as you begin to think about starting that online application.

First, your test scores aren’t the be-all and end-all of your application. Your recommendations often speak to analytic ability and leadership potential that a test can’t. While academics are an important part of your story, how you approach your current and past professional work matters too.

Here’s what you can expect during the application process.

Step One: You’ll create a profile.
Once you create a profile, any work you do will be saved, but not submitted. This is the place to share basic details about you, your achievements and how our MBA program fits you. If you enter the MBA program you’re interested in and the term you’d like to begin, our admissions advisors can help you fine-tune your application based on their extensive admissions experience.

Step Two: You’ll need some supporting paperwork.
I recommend collecting your documentation a few weeks before you begin the application process so you’ll have everything you need when you need it. Unofficial documents with transcripts and test scores are okay for your application. Just know you’ll need to produce official copies if admitted.

What you’ll need:

  • Official transcripts from any undergraduate or graduate institutions you attended and received credits from
  • A resume highlighting your successes with as much qualitative data as possible
  • Two letters of recommendation (professional or academic)
  • GMAT or GRE scores (either will be accepted)
  • TOEFL, IELTS or PTEA (if your degree is from a non-English-speaking institution)

Step Three: Complete the application and essays.
Read the instructions carefully and make sure you complete all the application fields. As you write essays, incorporate information about you and your passions.

Step Four:  Submit your application and pay the application fee.
When you’re ready, submit your completed application. While you can only submit your application once, you can update information if needed.

Step Five: Interview
Interviews are by invitation only, following a preliminary review of your application. Our Admissions Committee reviews applications after interviews to arrive at an admissions decision.

Step Six: Decision
Decisions are typically made two weeks after the interview date. You will be notified of the decision via email. Applicants not selected for interviews also will be notified via email of their admissions status.

My advice? The bottom line on your application is that it has to leave the Admissions Committee with a distinct impression of you. Can they see what you’re like as a person, collaborator and business professional? Can they learn about how you’ve dealt with and grown from challenging situations? Your accomplishments? As you complete your application, use your life and experiences to tell your story.

Visit our website more information about admissions or contact the admissions team for assistance at any time. Good luck!

Jennifer Ninh
Managing Director, Full-time MBA Programs

I’ve been an admissions professional for more than nine years so I know you could earn your MBA anywhere. Why should you even consider the University of South Carolina?

I can tell you that as assistant director of admissions I see students benefit from being part of one of the nation’s most experiential MBA programs every day. I see them leave our doors, headed for careers at leading companies and global enterprises at levels you can’t reach with an undergraduate education. It’s an opportunity that impressed me so much, I pursued my own University of South Carolina master’s degree.

I know the MBA experience we’ve created at the Darla Moore School of Business amplifies your one or two years of intensive study like no other program. And because an MBA is a significant investment, we work hard to make your experience more fruitful, meaningful and even enjoyable at the University of South Carolina. Here’s how:

You’ll go global.
Our International MBA offers the first-person perspective and language fluency no classroom can provide. You live and work in a foreign market during the longest immersion of any international MBA program in the U.S. I know of no greater opportunity for an international-minded candidate than the nation’s #1 international program.

Interested in a one-year MBA but crave that global worldview? At USC you can spend your spring break on an international trip that exposes you to the culture, practices and environment of a foreign market.

You can enhance your degree.
During the program, you can ratchet up your own market value by earning top industry certifications — even in the one-year MBA structure. You can earn SAP and Six Sigma certifications that enhance your marketability and save the thousands it would cost you to pursue them independently.

Our students enjoy a level of experiential learning that’s unique in the southeast and in the nation. We take learning out of the classroom and into thriving Research and Partnership Centers with executives at leading companies. I see students create connections and opportunities that change their trajectory overnight.

We support you.
Here, support takes a number of forms. In each class, 100% of candidates receive financial support through scholarships and special tuition awards. We also match admitted students with current student mentors, whose experienced insight can help you as you work through key decisions.

At the University of South Carolina, you’ll find the international business coursework you expect. The big differentiator, according to many of our graduates, is the extras — like our international immersion, degree enhancements and career support.

From my perspective, considering the University of South Carolina isn’t just smart. It’s a step in the right direction.

If you’d like to talk more about our one-year MBA or International MBA, I’m happy to help. Just email me or call me at 803-777-0262 today.

Jennifer Ninh
Managing Director, Full-time MBA Programs 








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