This fall marks the first semester of the World Bachelor’s in Business (WBB) program, a new major in the Marshall School of Business that allows freshmen to travel to three continents over a period of four years, and earn degrees from universities in Milan and Hong Kong as well as USC.
The program is a partnership between USC, Bocconi University in Milan and the Hong Kong School of Science and Technology.
“WBB represents a unique approach to undergraduate education that global executives have been demanding for years, an approach that will prepare a new generation of leaders for the opportunities of an increasingly interconnected world,” Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs Elizabeth Garrett, said in a USC Marshall press release.
Forty-five students were admitted to the program for the fall 2013 semester. The students will spend one year at each university and choose which of the three universities they want to spend their final year at. They will earn business degrees from all three institutions.
“It’s definitely a little nerve-wracking to be one of the ‘guinea pigs’ for this program,” Sophia Lim, a freshman World Bachelor’s in Business member from Hong Kong, said. “I’m comforted by the fact that the pros and the expected outcome of WBB outweigh the cons.”
The WBB students have intenational backgrounds as diverse as the program itself. They are united, however, by their interest in global business at Marshall.
“I was planning on applying to USC, and I saw an advertisement for WBB on Marshall’s website,” said Austin, Texas native Aseem Afsah. “For me it was about the language and culture. I’m passionate to learn as much as I can. It opens doors to learning about whole new sets of people.”
WBB participants take a mandatory course on Mondays and Wednesdays in addition to the standard USC Marshall curriculum. Fellow Marshall students and faculty view the program as a way for the school to further establish itself as a leader in global business.
“From a [global] business standpoint, the best benefit is getting immersed in culture,” Brian Bourn, a senior majoring in business administration, said. “Seeing what business is like firsthand in Hong Kong is better than learning about it through a class in Los Angeles.”
The WBB students participated in Welcome Week events along with other freshmen. Though they are part of an exclusive set of accepted applicants, the WBB students feel a connection to the Trojan Family as a whole.
“I really liked the speeches by the president and the dean,” Anna Pollastri, a WBB student from Italy, said of the convocation ceremony. “They talked about the Trojan Family… I really like the word ‘family.’ We’re not just classmates. We’re a small group of WBB students, but we’re a part of something bigger.”
WBB participants plan on taking advantage of USC’s unique scholastic and extracurricular opportunities during their year in Los Angeles.
“I’m interested in business, but I have a deep passion for cinema,” Augusto Vighy, a freshman from Vicenza, Italy, said.
Vighy hopes to attend the School of Cinematic Arts’ symposiums and lectures this fall.
Though students are excited about the variety of cultures they will experience at three universities, some regret missing out on the typical four-year college experience.
“The biggest negative is that you only stay for one year,” Vighy said. “That’s tough. I’ve already met some cool guys, and they’re going here for all four years, and I’ll only be here for one.”
Others view the rapid change in a positive light.
“I love USC so far,” said Douglas Rose, a London native in the WBB program. “It’s going to be hard to say goodbye once this year is over. But I also think I’ll love Milan. I’ll love Hong Kong. I think by the end, we [WBB] students will have had a great experience.”