Tuesday Tips: USC Marshall Application Essays, Tips for 2023-2024

USC Marshall application

The USC Marshall School of Business reflects the diversity and dynamism of the Los Angeles area. These USC Marshall application essays allow you the space to express how you will fit into the community. Though Marshall is a community of its own, the larger USC Trojan Family is an integral part of the school’s identity and offers additional academic opportunities for MBA students.

“At Marshall, our focus is on producing leaders with the skills to turn ideas into outcomes for the real world, right now,” says Dean Geoffrey Garrett.

“Our award-winning faculty thought leadership and experiential learning environment creates leaders who are visionary and adaptable; prepared not only for the jobs of today, but also for future careers not yet imagined that the Marshall community will help shape.”

Because community is so vital to this USC Marshall application, the admissions office wants to know who you are as a person. As such, the AdCom team doesn’t subscribe to the concept of the “perfect” or “ideal” candidate. Everyone has a unique story.

As you prepare your USC Marshall application, make sure to do your research. Remember to include talking to current and former students so that you can better understand the culture in depth. To learn more about the program, visit the USC Marshall website.

Are you curious about your chances of getting into a top business school? Contact us to talk strategy with a free 15-minute advising session with an SBC Principal Consultant. 

Here’s a snapshot of the caliber of expertise on our SBC team.


Essay #1 (Required)

What is your specific, immediate short-term career goal upon completion of your MBA? Please include an intended position, function, and industry in your response. (word limit: 100)

With only 100 words to use here, stay brief, and focused in this USC application essay. Consider your plan when you graduate from USC. And make sure your resume and other application materials support this next step.

For example, if you are career switching, highlight any transferable skills in your resume. Another idea is to ask your recommenders to comment on your future plans. Further, as you craft all of these strategies, make sure you highlight how you will use your MBA to reach your goals.

What if your next job is a logical step from your prior experience to your MBA? Even if you think it’s obvious, it’s essential to be specific about your career goals. Describe the job you plan to pursue with as much detail as possible.

USC Marshall application

Essay #2 (Required)

Please draft a letter that begins with “Dear Admissions Committee” (word limit: 600)

This letter serves as your personal statement that provides the Admissions Committee with an understanding of your candidacy for Marshall beyond what is evident in other parts of your application.

This essay is purposely open-ended. You are free to express yourself in whatever way you see fit. The goal is to have an appreciation for and an understanding of each candidate in ways that are not captured by test scores, grades, and resumes.

Showing who you are as a person is essential to your USC Marshall application. Ideally, you can demonstrate that you understand the USC culture and values with your answer to this essay question.

First, start with your statistics and data. USC Marshall will see your GPA, your test scores, and your transcripts. Second, the admissions committee will see your career progress on your resume. Third, you will add some personal color to your application through the recommendation letters. These elements should show that you have leadership potential, academic promise, and a well-rounded personality. This essay is the place to fill any gaps.

Consider what you need to communicate to show all sides of your candidacy in this USC application essay. For example, if you are someone who has a standard career history, you might describe something interesting in your background. Perhaps you have an unusual hobby, have made an impact on the community, or have a unique family heritage.

Another aspect of your USC Marshall application that may not appear in your data is your passion for learning. For instance, if there is a professor you would want to work with, this question is an opportunity to discuss their work. Similarly, you may want to join or lead a club or community effort that isn’t obvious from the other data you submit.

Essay #3 (Optional)

Please provide any additional information you would like the admissions committee to consider. (word limit: 250)

This USC application essay offers an opportunity to add more information or to discuss a concern. Therefore, if you have a low GPA, a grade below a C in a quantitative subject, an employment gap, or any other issue in your background, this is the place to explain it.

However, if you want to highlight anything else about your career path, experience, or personal background, this essay allows you the space to do so. And, if you need to explain an area of concern, clearly explain what happened and what you have done to improve or address the issue. Focus on the future in a positive manner to leave the strongest impression.


For more information on applying to USC Marshall, please visit the school’s admissions page. To talk to Stacy Blackman Consulting about your Cambridge MBA essays, don’t hesitate to contact us!  We offer multiple services to meet your MBA application needs, from our All-In Partnership to hourly help reviewing your MBA resume.  Contact SBC today for a free 15-minute advising session to talk strategy with a Principal SBC consultant.

With deadlines around the corner, you may be interested in the world-famous SBC Flight Test. Once a full set of application materials for your initial school have been drafted, but not finalized, the application will be sent to a former admissions committee member for a one-time review, adcomm style. You’ll have the benefit of a true admissions committee review while still having the ability to tinker and change.  You will receive written feedback within two business days after submitting.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.


(323) 934-3936

Latest Blog Post

Advantages of Studying Abroad During Your MBA

How important are travel and education experiences abroad to achieving success in the global economy? That’s almost a trick question since the answer is a resounding v-e-r-y. The ability to work well with an ...