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Real Humans of USC Marshall’s MBA Class of 2020

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Farrell Murphy, USC Marshall MBA Class of 2020

Farrell Murphy, USC Marshall MBA Class of 2020

Age: 26
Hometown: Charlotte, NC
Undergraduate Institution and Major
: University of North Carolina/ Anthropology and Public Policy
Pre-MBA Work Experience (years, industry): 4 years at IBM/ Management Consulting

Why business school? Why now?
Consulting was a great first job for gaining exposure and experience to a variety of different industries, roles, companies, and locations. After working with an entertainment client for almost a year I fell in love with the industry and decided I wanted to work directly in entertainment in some capacity.

Having no direct entertainment background, I thought business school would give me a perfect opportunity to learn more and pivot into a role and company I was passionate about.

Why USC Marshall? What factors figured most prominently into your decision of where to attend?
I knew that USC had one of the best alumni networks for the industry that I am considering. Beyond that, it is in the perfect location for pursuing a career in the entertainment industry. Most importantly, USC has one of the best programs in the country for the business of entertainment and offers unique courses, certifications, and hands on opportunities that are unrivalled in the exposure they can give me.

What really sealed the deal for me was my campus visit. I was incredibly impressed by the caliber of professors, diversity and quality of students, and uniquely supportive and welcoming community. I left that weekend knowing that Marshall was the place I wanted to be.

What do you think is your most valuable or differentiating contribution to the Class of 2020?
My approach to business school is almost the reverse of many of my classmates. I have a corporate consulting background but am trying to get into a creative field.

I am able to both be a resource to those who are trying to enter consulting while also learning a ton from my classmates that come from entertainment and other creative fields.

At Marshall I have also had a chance to be active and involved in the LGBT community and I am excited to take on leadership roles within the Marshall Pride group.

Fun fact that didn’t get included on your application?
I am a coffee fanatic and have travelled to coffee farms and expos all over the world. I even have a coffee spreadsheet with hundreds of cafes and coffee shops places I have visited all over the world – I have over 120 in New York City alone!

Post-MBA career interests?
Right now I am exploring the creative side of the entertainment industry- specifically television. My long-term goal would to be a producer for a major production company or a creative exec on the development side at a studio.

Advice to current prospective applicants:

–One thing you would absolutely do again as part of your application process?
Not panic! I had a pretty healthy approach to the process. I worked hard on the application and prepared for the interview but did not spend months stressing about test scores or essays. I stepped back and was lucky to maintain perspective on what I could and could not control.

–One thing you would change or do differently?
I would have done slightly more preparation for some of the classes I was less familiar with. I had never taken a business class prior to arriving at Marshall so it was a little overwhelming to be thrown right into accounting, finance, and economics on day one with classmates who did this as part of their job.

–Part you would have skipped if you could—and what helped you get through it?
I don’t think I would have skipped any part of it. One thing that I almost skipped was the admitted students weekend and I am very glad that I didn’t. Not only did it give me a great feel for the Marshall community but I made friendships with both students entering in my year as well as current students at the time. The relationships I formed were really helpful to acclimate to LA and transition to school this summer.

What is your initial impression of USC Marshall’s students/culture/community?
I had heard that the Marshall community and “Trojan network” was one of the best in the country but I was blown away by how willing to help and inclusive everyone at Marshall, as well as alumni, really are. Everyone I have met is genuinely willing to help and is truly invested in the collective success of the Marshall community.

I have had classmates who are experts in a field offer to organize independent group and individual study sessions during their free time simply to make sure everyone understood the material and was set up for success.

Beyond the classroom, students seem invested in each other’s’ professional success – one classmate wasn’t able to attend a company visit, but shared their notes and tips about the company to the rest of our class to help them prepare and land a role with the company. I don’t think you find that at many other schools.

One thing you have learned about USC Marshall that has surprised you?
I was happily surprised to learn that Marshall is the first major business school to reach gender parity. It is very cool to be part of a historic class and really speaks to the leadership at Marshall and the direction our community is heading. It is a really exciting time to be at Marshall.

Thing you are most anxious about in your first year?
Corporate Finance. It may take divine intervention, but I am determined to pass.

Thing you are most excited about in your first year?
Having the time to really learn and explore what I want with my career and future. When I was working a full time job I never had the luxury of dedicating so much time to focusing on my own goals. I am so excited to have the opportunity to take classes and talk to alumni and people in the industry and have the time to simply learn!

 …and of course football tailgates…can’t forget about those.

Jonathan Pfeffer
Jonathan Pfeffer joined the Clear Admit and MetroMBA teams in 2015 after spending several years as an arts/culture writer, editor, and radio producer. In addition to his role as Contributing Writer at MetroMBA and Contributing Editor at Clear Admit, he was also a co-founder of the Clear Admit MBA Admissions Podcast. He holds a BA in Film/Video, Ethnomusicology, and Media Studies from Oberlin College.