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Real Humans of USC Marshall MBA Class of 2022

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Natalie Weinstein, USC Marshall MBA Class of 2022

Age: 28
Hometown: San Marino, CA
Undergraduate Institution and Major: Trinity College (Hartford, CT); Bachelor of Arts in English Literature, Minor in Hispanic Studies
Pre-MBA Work Experience (years, industry): 6 years working in Marketing & Communications roles for three different companies – (1) Jarvis Communications, wine industry; (2) The Tournament of Roses; (3) The Los Angeles Sports & Entertainment Commission

Why business school? Why now?
I always knew an MBA would be part of my career path, it just had to be the right time. A couple of years ago I reached a point in my career where I had developed the deliberate decision-making skills, creative problem-solving skills, and cross-functional team experience needed to succeed in middle-management roles, but I wanted to aim higher. Furthermore, I knew that I wanted my next career to be more impact-driven. I saw business school as the ideal avenue for accelerating my career growth, expanding my network, and making the pivot into a new industry.

Why Marshall? What factors figured most prominently into your decision of where to attend?
Growing up in Southern California I was aware of the Trojan family but did not fully grasp the strength and meaning of those two words until I began the MBA application process. Throughout the process, I experienced firsthand the strong sense of community fostered within Marshall and throughout USC as a whole.

In addition to the vast network of alumni who are genuinely engaged and eager to assist fellow alumni, Marshall was the first business school to reach gender parity in its full-time program and that was of great importance to me. With a little over 200 students, I value the fact that our cohort is on the smaller side compared to other programs. It reinforces the sense of community I felt throughout the application process, and I feel like I can get to know each of my classmates on an individual basis.

Last but not least, the USC Marshall MBA is STEM certified.

What do you think is your most valuable or differentiating contribution to the Class of 2022?
Each of us has a unique background and set of experiences, which add value to the overall learning experience. In addition to my desire to bring humanity back to the workplace, I think my general sense of curiosity and my experience working in different industries – the wine industry and the sports/entertainment industry – will be my differentiating contribution to the Class of 2022.

Fun fact that didn’t get included on your application?
I love to bake pies and competed in the KCRW Good Food Pie Contest.

Post-MBA career interests?
My goal is to pivot into the healthcare industry, where I can make a daily impact on people’s lives and be part of the incredible innovation taking place within that space.

Advice to current prospective applicants:
–One thing you would absolutely do again as part of your application process?
Apply early! As I mentioned before, I had been thinking about business school for a while, so I knew I wanted to apply Round 1 to show my dedication and enthusiasm. Knowing about my acceptance toward the end of fall, fostered a smooth transition from work-life to student life.

  — One thing you would change or do differently?
I wish I had realized that I did not need to feel as stressed as I did throughout the process. Looking back, it was a special moment to reflect on my career thus far and envision my post-MBA path. Enjoy the process and don’t stress out too much, you’ll shine through in your application process and you’ll find that right fit.

–Part you would have skipped if you could—and what helped you get through it?
It would have to be studying for the GRE every morning before work, in addition to taking the actual test. I know it was a useful part of the process, but if I could have skipped it, I would have. I chose a testing location close to where I lived, so I could walk to the exam, which helped calm my nerves.

What is your initial impression of Marshall’s students/culture/community?
The concept of shared greatness is prevalent throughout the Marshall community. My fellow classmates are some of the most driven, intelligent, and genuine people I have met. From the start, I have seen our class come together as one in this really special way.  We’re in a unique situation starting the MBA program remotely this fall, and the sense of community and collaboration has been remarkable.

One thing you have learned about Marshall that has surprised you?
Term 1 flew by! Most of my friends and past colleagues are surprised to hear that we’ve already had final exams and are at the midpoint of Term 2. Marshall placed us in the mindset of school and recruiting right from the start.

Additionally, the administration and the professors are very approachable and interested in knowing the students on an individual basis. I’ve been able to have conversations with various deans and professors in a way that I did not anticipate, which has been a pleasant addition to the learning experience.

Thing you are most anxious about in your first year?
I am most anxious about juggling everything from coursework to recruiting. While there is a lot to manage as a first-year student, I am grateful for the insights of second-year students and faculty who help put things into perspective.

Thing you are most excited about in your first year?
As a career switcher, I am most excited for the company information sessions and conversations with second-year students and alumni. Thus far, I have enjoyed connecting with second-year students and learning about their summer internship experiences. I look forward to learning more about the healthcare industry from company presentations and Marshall club events.

Christina Griffith
Christina Griffith is a writer and editor based in Philadelphia. She specializes in covering education, science, and history, and has experience in research and interviews, magazine content, and web content writing.