The University Park campus might seem oasis-like with its towering palm trees, sparkling fountains and perfectly manicured expanses of flowers and lush grass. But don’t let this paradise in the city-scape of Los Angeles fool you; USC is, at the end of the day, a business — a very big business.
University revenues totaled a whopping $3.13 billion in fiscal year 2010, against $2.7 billion of expenses for a $430 million profit in fiscal 2010, according to the university.
Like any effective business, USC needs to adapt to changing times to maintain a competitive advantage, and to continue expanding.
By putting more emphasis on recruiting overseas, USC is increasing profits while expanding our global brand and prestige.
In turn, this leads to more international revenue streams, keeping the university highly profitable and successful.
Giving to USC in 2010 accounted for just under $500 million and fiscal year 2011 has been a record year for donations, with the largest gift in the school’s history — a $200 million donation from Dana and David Dornsife last March. Giving is critical to the university — providing a source of funding for long-range ventures and expansion.
Giving has generally come from local and regional sources, with 73 percent of alumni residing somewhere within the Golden State. But with an upsurge this year in geographic diversity on campus — this year’s freshman class is the most international in the school’s history — comes an entirely new set of international financial ties among the university, incoming Trojans and their families.
A large proportion of these students come from nations with dynamic economies greatly outperforming that of the United States.
China’s economy is charging ahead, along with an array of other Asian nations; these nations are just developing a middle class and making the quantum leap from exclusively manufacturing to a more diversified economy.
South America is undergoing a renaissance, with Brazil emerging as a leader in commodities like oil while also beginning to follow through on its aspirations of positioning itself as a global cultural and technological leader.
Canada, is undergoing a housing boom and is working feverishly to manage the escalation in prices so boom turns to long-term boon and not devastating bust.
Even Europe’s battle-weary common currency, despite crisis after crisis, is still worth 30-50 percent more than our ailing dollar.
If USC is looking to grow the amount of charitable giving it receives each year, it needs to look where the global economic action is — outside the United States — and to the newest, international members of the Trojan Family.
That this incoming class is the most international is evidence alone of not only the growing global wealth but also of the place USC holds as a truly international campus.
Furthermore, USC’s array of study abroad and research programs in nations like China, Japan, Taiwan, South Korea, India, Brazil, Chile, Costa Rica and Nicaragua, among others serve to bolster a global Trojan presence.
USC’s global profile is very evident and growing only faster annually; it’s why the school has been able to draw such a truly global and diverse student body.
But USC must leverage its major international exposure and newfound global ties on campus, converting academic ties into
Admitting the largest number of incoming international students in the university’s history isn’t just good for academics — it’s the
savviest business decision USC could make in the face of a weakening U.S. economy.
It might very well be a business development opportunity that does not present itself twice.
Teddy Minch is a graduate student studying public policy.