Marshall to push six-year global plan

The USC Marshall School of Business is readying its new six-year strategic plan that includes 12 initiatives Marshall hopes will change the way business schools across the country approach undergraduate education.

Initiatives introduced in the plan include a brand new building for undergraduate business students, increased interdisciplinary collaboration with every school on campus, a teacher mentor program and a proposed three-degree global program, according to Deborah MacInnis, Marshall’s vice dean for research and strategy.

Marshall’s previous strategic plan ended in December 2010.

The timing was right to refocus now that President C. L. Max Nikias introduced the Campaign for the University of Southern California, the university’s new $6 billion capital campaign, according to MacInnis. The university’s new strategic plan is set to be released later this fall.

Most of the funding for Marshall’s initiatives will be raised as part of the Campaign for the University of Southern California. The fundraising goal set for Marshall and the Leventhal School of Accounting is $400 million.

Marshall’s new strategic plan will focus heavily on expanding its global initiatives.

“We want to send every single undergraduate student on an overseas experience while they are at Marshall,” said Jim Ellis, dean of Marshall School of Business.  “At some point we will make it a requirement.”

A program has also been proposed for future Marshall undergraduate students where three of their four undergraduate years would be spent abroad in Europe and Asia, receiving a degree from USC and all of the  institutions they attend overseas.

“In today’s business world [global strategy] is critical to the success of anyone operating in that environment because there are no [longer] boundaries in business,” Ellis said. “In order to be a successful business person today, you have to know how cultures work and you have to understand how currencies and markets work.”

Fifty million dollars will go to a new, state-of-the-art building dedicated entirely to undergraduate business students.

“We are out of space,” said Ellis, who teaches his own class in Taper Hall of Humanities. “A number of years ago we cut the size of our classes, so we have a better ratio between the professors and the students. When you do that you just need more classrooms.”

Business students agreed that there is a need for a new building and were excited to hear about the new plans.

“A new building will be great,” said Mateo Epshteyn, a senior majoring in business administration. “The business building feels like a business building. The other buildings are much more welcoming.”

The new building is expected to be located on the corner of Figueroa Street and Exposition Boulevard, taking the space of the old registration office, and will offer the latest in technology and architectural design.

The strategy will include the hiring of 25 new faculty members. They will be able to partake in a future mentorship program, where veteran faculty will help teach, train and support them when needed.

Students are now playing an integral part in shaping the history of Marshall. MacInnis said she is currently in the process of forming teams that will make the broad ideas proposed in the strategic plan more concrete.

Teams are comprised of students, faculty and staff and will have until November to present their plans for the next six years.

Ellis and his staff hope the new strategic plan will enhance the educational experience at Marshall.

“We want our students to have the best experience,” Ellis said.  “We want them to learn the most and do that in the best environment. That’s what life at USC is all about. Only the best.”