Here’s a talk with Lydia Kung, a USC Marshall student interested in pursuing a career in international business. Thank you Lydia for sharing your thoughts and experiences with us!
This interview is the latest in an Accepted.com blog series featuring interviews with current MBA students, offering readers a behind-the-scenes look at top MBA programs. We hope to offer you a candid picture of student life, and what you should consider as you prepare your MBA application.
Accepted: First, can you tell us a little about yourself – where are you from? What and where did you study as an undergraduate and when did you graduate?
Lydia: My name is Lydia Kung and I was born and raised in San Francisco. I am a double Trojan so in addition to currently pursuing my MBA at USC, I also attended USC as an undergraduate student. My field of study was international business in the Marshall Business School and I graduated in May 2006. I have a background in Information Technology recruiting and non-profit event planning and fundraising.
Accepted: Why did you choose to attend Marshall? How does your graduate experience at Marshall differ from your undergraduate experience there?
Lydia: I chose to attend Marshall’s MBA program for several reasons. First, I had an amazing experience at Marshall as an undergraduate student and loved being a part of the Trojan family. Second, Marshall’s MBA curriculum was very appealing because of the diverse array of courses it offers and the flexibility for students to customize their schedules. Lastly, Marshall’s PRIME program (Pacific Rim International Management Education) was a top selling point. I have a background in international business and have always wanted to work overseas. This program, which consists of a semester-long course and 10-day excursion in the Pacific Rim, was the perfect opportunity to expand my knowledge and gain hands-on experience working on a global consulting project.
My experience at Marshall the second time around has been phenomenal, and I can honestly say I love USC even more now. The class size is much smaller compared to the undergraduate program with roughly 220 students, and the courses are more strategic and interactive. Class participation and group discussions are heavily emphasized, and a strong focus is placed on developing presentation and communication skills. There are also significantly more group projects so you learn quickly how to work in teams and collaborate with individuals with different personalities and backgrounds.
Accepted: Can you tell us about your experience with the Forte Foundation?
Lydia: My experience with the Forte Foundation has been great. I receive frequent emails with information about upcoming events (i.e. workshops, seminars, networking socials) and there are countless opportunities to get involved. I highly recommend Forte to anyone interested in pursuing business, increasing their professional development or just connecting with others.
Accepted: What's your favorite class so far?
Lydia: My favorite class has been the Management Communications course I took my first semester. It taught me the importance of effective communication and challenged me to step outside my comfort zone to hone my “soft” skills. You are required to make numerous individual and group presentations, which greatly helped improve my public speaking and leadership abilities.
Accepted: Can you tell us about the Marshall MBA Ambassador Program and your role with the group?
Lydia: The Ambassador Program is a wonderful opportunity for prospective students to visit and interact with current MBA students to learn more about the Marshall experience. It currently consists of 26 first year full-time students who guide class visits, lead Admit Weekend and act as liaisons between the admissions office and applicants interested in Marshall. I am the Co-Director for the Ambassador Program and my responsibilities have included spearheading event logistics for Admit Weekend, scheduling class visits, conducting Q&A sessions, meeting prospective students and overseeing the Ambassador team.
Accepted: Do you have an internship lined up for the summer? What role did Marshall play in helping you secure that position?
Lydia: I am currently interning at Mattel for the summer in the Human Resources department specializing in Leadership Development and Talent Acquisition. Marshall played a significant role in helping secure my internship because I found the job posting through the school’s career services website and was able to network with Mattel employees through on-campus and off-site recruiting events.
Accepted: What are some of your favorite things about living and studying in Los Angeles?
Lydia: Los Angeles is a bustling, vibrant town and it’s exciting to be surrounded by such diverse groups of people and communities. The weather is amazing and I enjoy not only being able to hang out at the beach, but also to experience the Hollywood lifestyle since Los Angeles is the entertainment capital. Studying in the area is fantastic because there are a wide range of industries and ample opportunities to find internships and employment after graduation, especially with the help of the Trojan network which has a strong presence in the community.
Accepted: Do you have any advice for some of our applicants who will be applying to Marshall?
Lydia: I would advise prospective students to have a clear understanding of their motivation to attend business school and relay that message through their applications. You don’t have to know exactly what you want to pursue, but it will be helpful to have a pretty strong picture of the function and/or industry you are interested in so your goals for earning your MBA are evident. Marshall is also looking for well-rounded individuals that demonstrate leadership potential and a desire to make a difference in the community. Therefore, applicants should highlight their professional and extra-curricular leadership experience and be explicit about how they intend to make an impact at USC.
For complete, soup-to-nuts guidance on the MBA admissions process, please purchase Linda Abraham's new book, MBA Admission for Smarties: The No-Nonsense Guide to Acceptance at Top Business Schools – now available in paperback and Kindle editions!