The Trojan Family – USC’s roughly 375,000 living alumni, along with staff, faculty, and all current students and their relatives – is a powerful professional network. While USC students gain substantial preparation for their professional endeavors within the classroom, this network is likewise valuable in helping Trojans establish their career after graduation. The spirit of the Trojan Family is all about supporting each other, and the career services provided to USC students and alumni are a great reflection of that spirit.
The first professional resource all Trojans should be aware of is the USC Career Center. Students can schedule an appointment with a career services advisor to explore career paths related to their major, review résumés and cover letters, and discuss positions listed on connectSC – an online portal all USC students can use to apply to internships and jobs in Los Angeles and beyond. The Career Center also hosts events such as career workshops and job fairs, which help students learn more about potential careers by connecting them directly with employers. The services offered by the Career Center, though, are not limited to current USC students. USC alumni are provided with three years of complimentary service from the Career Center following their graduation, along with access to networking events organized by the USC Alumni Association.
An example of one such event is the Alumni Association’s Branding Boot Camp, which was held last November. Expert branding strategists attended the program to help new USC graduates by sharing their stories and providing advice for young professionals. “These events for young alumni are priceless,” said Lori Shreve Blake, Senior Director for Alumni and Student Career Services at USC. “Our alumni can use these programs to not only get a job,” she continued, “but also to learn how to navigate the professional world.” Last year, according to Lori, more than 2,000 USC alumni met with a career services advisor or attended an Alumni Association event.
USC’s individual schools also offer an array of career services for their students. The Marshall School of Business provides its students with Marshall Source: a career portal specifically for students interested in working in the business world. According to Gerald Corporal, a career services advisor at Marshall, USC alumni will often post their positions to Marshall Source with the specific intent of hiring a fellow member of the Trojan Family. “They will reach out to us and say, ‘I want to hire a Marshall student,’ and then we’ll connect them with our students,” he said.
Marshall also utilizes its own programs for professional development, such the Career Advantage Program. CAP, which is entering its 20th year at USC, provides Marshall students with mentors in their field. These mentors, Gerald said, are primarily USC alumni interested in helping Trojans achieve success in the professional world. More than 350 Marshall students gain access to valuable opportunities like company tours and networking events through their CAP mentors every year.
However, the various programs and career services available at USC and its individual schools are not the only example of the spirit of the Trojan Family and its impact on professional development. Students also gain new opportunities from recruiters who visit campus in search of fresh talent, and through connections and friendships developed with other USC students.
Maika Koehl graduated from USC in 2017 with a degree in Business Administration. Before graduating, she interned for KPMG – a financial services firm in L.A. – following her introduction to one of their recruiters. After that internship, she joined Los Angeles Community Impact (LACI), a student-run USC organization that provides consulting services to local nonprofits and small businesses. Today, she has an exciting career working for Uber, and is part of the team in Chicago developing their newest app: Uber Freight. “I went on a road trip during spring break of my senior year, and we stopped in San Francisco where a friend of mine, who had graduated from USC, was working for Uber,” Maika said. “My friend gave me a tour of their office and told me about the job opening, so this all really wouldn’t have happened without the people I met through USC.”
The trajectory of Maika’s career is emblematic of the capacity for USC’s structured resources to combine with a student’s own interpersonal skills in vaulting them to a great career, although hers is not the only path. Andrew Ullman graduated in 2017 after studying business, law, and French at USC. During his time as an undergraduate student, his entrepreneurial spirit inspired his decision to launch his own business. But, he couldn’t do it alone. Andrew’s circle of friends included a designer and computer programmer, and, together, they founded Beefeatured.com – a grassroots branding agency. And, to get things running, they utilized the services of USC’s Small Business Clinic, where Andrew and his cofounders were connected with students from the USC Gould School of Law who helped iron out the details and documents required to formally launch his business.
Reflecting on the serendipity of his professional development, Andrew said, “All of this was possible because of the community of the Trojan Family.”