UNIVERSITY OF SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA

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1 UNIVERSITY OF SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA MARSHALL SCHOOL OF BUSINESS TRAVEL REPORT PHAM QUYNH TRANG (288961) 1

2 CONTENT I. Preparation for exchange studies General.3 2. Before the exchange.3 3. After arriving...4 II. Courses at USC Communication in the Working World - Managing Diversity and Conflict Financial Analysis and Valuation 5 3. Management Consulting Public Speaking As Performance.6 5. Consumer Behavior and Marketing.7 III. Activities 8 1. General.8 2. Getaways from Los Angeles..10 IV. Conclusion

3 I. Preparation for exchange studies 1. General Accepted into exchange program at University of Southern California? Congratulations! You will not regret this decision to study exchange in here. USC is a great place for both studying and playing. There are, however, a few important things you should and/or have to spend time working on before actually going to USC. A careful and thorough preparation will make your exchange semester much better. 2. Before the exchange The most important and helpful advices and instructions come from Mr. Sean O Connell, Director of International Business Program in USC. A few months before the exchange semester, Sean will send s with very detailed instructions for the exchange, including housing, US visa, course registration, buddy program (highly recommended!) as well as life at Los Angeles and so on. Sean is a very friendly and helpful guy; be sure to ask him any questions you may come through during preparation process. However, remember to read in his s first before asking! The first thing you should take care of is your US visa application, especially if you come to USC in fall semester which is a peak time for visa application. Follow the instructions, make sure your information in the application is correct, as well as quickly book an interview at a US consulate in your home country to avoid delay. After a successful interview, your US visa would be issued quite quickly. 3

4 3. After arriving If you have applied and got one slot at USC housing, you should book your flight to arrive at the US on the same day as the move-in day. Early arrival will cost you about $75 per night at USC housing. Orientation day is usually the day after move-in day, and it is important to attend on time. Sean and some other school advisors would be there and give advice to everything you need. The sooner you finish all school procedures, the sooner you can start enjoying your exchange semester. II. Courses at USC Most of the courses at USC are very intensive and required regular attendance as well as lots of assignments each week. USC is different from many European universities which have mostly exam-based courses. Courses in USC require you to do various assignments and projects, and final exams usually make up of less than half of the total grade. It is not so difficult to pass the courses; however if one might want a better grade, he or she has to spend quite a lot of time and effort. 4

5 1. Communication in the Working World - Managing Diversity and Conflict (BUCO 333) Junior / Senior level undergraduate course of 4 units Professor: Dr. Naomi Warren Grading: Total 375 points, including: Personal Cultural Analysis and Presentation (50), Souljourners Interactions and Reflections (100), Museum of Tolerance (35), Diversity in the News (30), Exam (60), Team Organizational Diversity and Inclusion Analysis (100). Workload: High Overall, the course is where you study about diversity issues, particularly business cases for diversity and the importance of inclusive excellence. There were a lot of reading and moviewatching regarding diversity issues, followed up by discussions. Dr Naomi Warren is a very meticulous professor who will make sure that everyone in class can have a share of talking. Most of the discussions are interesting enough, however sometimes it is difficult to understand since the discussion involves a lot of American history or culture. There is at least one assignment for each lecture so be prepared. You also have to do assignments for Souljourners, for example taking part in a series of experiential learning activities outside of the classroom like visiting churches, museums or mosques within LA and writing reflections. And from I have observed, Dr Naomi Warren is surely not an easy grader. 2. Financial Analysis and Valuation (FBE 421) Senior level undergraduate course of 4 units Professor: Daniel Carvalho Grading: Class participation (10%), Graded case assignments (10%), Midterm exam I (25%), Midterm exam II (25%), Final valuation project (25%), Peer valuation (5%) Workload: Moderate/High This course covers the fundamental theory and practice of corporate financial analysis and valuation, which is useful especially for Finance students. Professor Daniel Carvalho talks most of the time, sometimes he would stop to ask questions for students to answer. The class can get boring at some points but hardly students dare to skip since the professor takes attendance every single lecture. But if you can get through the lecture it can be very helpful. Assignments are done 5

6 in groups, and the two exams are mostly based on slides and question sheets so it is not too difficult to get a pass on this course. If you want a better grade, some extra study hours per week are necessary. 3. Management Consulting (MOR 462) Senior level undergraduate course of 4 units Professor: Terance Wolfe Grading: Class preparation and participation (15%), midterm exam (10%), final exam (10%), case analyses two at 10% each (20%), preferred practice assignment (10%), selfassessment (10%), team term project (25%). Workload: High This course introduces you with consulting industry while exposes you with a wide variety of business problems, organizations, and industries. Professor Terance Wolfe is a great, quite laidback professor, and also has a lot of connections with people working in consulting industry. The slides about consulting are very general, so to get the best of this course you have to study the cases, which come in form of a course reader, carefully. Have I mentioned that the course reader for this course is about $150 and something? And it is compulsory. There are a lot of readings required for each lecture; so unless you want to feel completely lost during class, be prepared. Usually you have to go through at least one case before class (took 1-3 hours at least) and discuss in group during class. There will be also some guest lectures with people working in consulting firms, it can be interesting or boring depends on the guests. I find most of these lectures useful. There is a project that you need to work in group during the whole course, which requires working with an assigned customer and providing advice for their problems. Midterm and final exams are mostly based on the slides and the cases; go through all of them and you will be fine. 4. Public Speaking As Performance (THTR 421) Senior level undergraduate course of 2 units 6

7 Professor: Randy Mell Grading: Active participation and commitment during class (10%), Personal Tribute (15%), Informative Presentation (15%), Interpretive Speech (15%), Persuasive Speech (15%), Elevator Speech (5%), Final Presentation (25%). Workload: Moderate/High This is the only not-so-business course I took when being at USC. The course is from USC School of Dramatic Arts, and is instructed by Professor Randy Mell. He was from The Juilliard School in New York City and has spent over 35 years as a professional actor, teacher and speech consultant. He has performed leading roles both on Broadway and off-broadway, and in major theatres throughout the States as well as Europe. In a nutshell, Randy Mell is a very professional as well as witty professor, and the class was exciting. He really knows how to inspire students, give helpful advice after each performance, and finally change everyone s mindset about public speaking. In this class, you have to stand on your feet and practice giving good performances a lot, since the professor will help you improve not only content of speaking or pronunciation, but also intonation, gestures or facial expression. You will be pushed out of your comfort zone, like it or not. Sometimes the professor can get a little bit personal, but his intention is good. Overall, this was a good class which requires you a lot of energy if you are not really a talker or performer. 5. Consumer Behavior and Marketing (MKT 450) Senior level undergraduate course of 4 units Professor: Gene Del Vecchio Grading: Class participation (10%), Individual project (15%), Team invention sessions (25%), Midterm exam (25%), Final exam (25%). Workload: Moderate/High This is my favorite class during my time at USC. Professor Gene Del Vecchio is very funny, thoughtful while keeps everything on class interesting and informative. With over thirty years of experience, he surely knows a lot and can make the class laugh with his anecdotes. He always 7

8 brings a lot of candies and stuff to keep the class awake (this class is on 6-8pm every Thursday). Gene Del Vecchio knows everyone s names and makes great conversations without being too personal. About the content of the class, it is informative and well-organized, and most of the time you are required to work in group except for exams and individual project. Even though Marketing is not my focus, taking this course is one of the best decisions I have made during my time at USC. III. Activities 1. General Los Angeles is one of the best cities in the United States, and it has its own reason. The city is full of sunshine, sports, drinking and eating places, entertainment, etc. Overall, you cannot get bored living in here. Compared to European cities, Los Angeles is quite huge with not so good public transportation, so one might consider buying or renting a car here. That makes your shopping and travelling much easier. 8

9 Los Angeles is a very diverse city with different people from different backgrounds. You can enjoy a wide variety of food and drinks here. It also has Hollywood, the center of entertainment in the United States. There are Hollywood Sign, Hollywood Walk of Fame, Universal Studios Hollywood, TCL Chinese Theatre, Paramount Pictures Studios etc. if you are interested in movies / series. Do you love the California s sunshine? Venice Beach, Zuma Beach, and the Santa Monica Pier and Beach are good choices, not so far away from USC (about minute driving). If you like sports, American football, baseball or basketball may be a good choice for you. USC has an amazing football team, and the football season is on the fall semester. I went on spring semester so there was only one match for the whole time, but from what I heard fall semester was a very exciting time for football fans. Los Angeles has Staples Center where NBA is held, so you can plan to get some good tickets to watch basketball there. And Dodger Stadium is the home for baseball fans, especially fans of Los Angeles Dodgers. 9

10 Do you like to go to gym and keep fit? Lyon Recreation Center has an auxiliary gym, the Klug Family Fitness Center, fields for basketball, badminton, volleyball, and so on. Exchange students do not have to pay for the gym fee, so go and enjoy the Lyon Center facilities. Or you can just run in the sunshine of California, it is also super nice. 2. Getaways from Los Angeles If you want to travel from Los Angeles it is pretty easy. LAX airport is one of the biggest airports throughout the States, and it can pretty much get you to everywhere in the States. Some cities can be reached by cars such as San Francisco, San Diego or Las Vegas. Grand Canyon is highly recommended, and it is not so far away either. On spring break, you can take cruise to Mexico s beaches and enjoy a true spring break with students from all over America. Most of my courses in Marshall School of Business are from Monday to Thursday, so I could spare the last three days of the week for some travelling. IV. Conclusion You may find studying exchange in USC is a little bit more costly than many other schools, but it is well worth it. USC is a great school which offers a wide variety of courses. Living in Los Angeles, which is home of American entertainment and one of the most ethnically diverse counties in the United States, will bring you a lot of memorable experience. I enjoyed my semester there and I hope you can also find USC a great place to study and play. 10

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