Evan Reed- USC Marshall School of Business
Name: Evan Reed
Hometown: Chicago, IL
Education: (undergrad): University of Arizona (Eller College of Management) Major- Marketing and Business Management
Current MBA program: University of Southern California – USC Marshall School of Business
Describe a typical day as an MBA student:
I typically spend around 15 hours a week attending classes. Most of mine are scheduled between 10:00 AM and 5:00 PM. My commute is one of the best in Los Angeles because I get to take the recently completed Metro Expo Line Train. It takes me from the westside of Los Angeles and drops me off right on campus at USC. I am easily able to get work done on the train as well as catch up on new music and podcasts. I usually have group meetings before and sometimes after class. Many of us are interviewing for jobs, networking, or travelling, so it’s important to schedule the group meetings in advance because everyone’s calendars fill up so fast. There are also a lot of club meetings and events, I am currently on the board of the graduate marketing association and help plan many of the educational events in addition to mentoring a few first-year MBAs.
Where did you work before enrolling in business school?
I spent my entire career between undergrad and MBA in merchandising at Walmart in Bentonville, AR. I started in the Merchant Leadership Program and was trained on the fundamentals of retail and how to be a good Walmart associate. I then spent the next couple of years in various financial planning positions across many apparel buying teams. It was a terrific experience and I was very lucky to have met a lot of excellent people across the company that taught me things that I will carry with me for the rest of my life. I would highly recommend working there to anyone that ever has the opportunity, I feel like it gave me a great background for going to business school and beyond.
Why did you choose this business school?
I have always wanted to live in Los Angeles because I always loved visiting whenever I got the chance. Many of my friends from undergraduate live in Los Angeles, so that helped make the transition across the country very easy. I choose Marshall because the quality of student blew me away when I was able to visit and sit in on a class. Many of the students had excellent relationships with each other and had a great variety of backgrounds and experiences. That, in addition to the strength of the USC Trojan Alumni Network in Los Angeles was second to none. The career center was a big reason of why I came to Marshall, and I have been very appreciative of how much they have helped so far. I have spent many hours getting feedback on my resume and doing mock interviews and I feel very prepared whenever I apply to and interview for jobs.
What’s your best advice to an applicant to your school?
It’s a big decision to give up 2 years of income producing years to come to business school, so make sure it’s the right program that’s going to have the right resources for you to succeed. Look for a place that has relationships with employers that you are interested in and has similar minded students and faculty to you. I found this out by talking to current students. We have a great group of Marshall MBA Student Ambassadors that love to talk to perspective students. If you cannot visit sunny Los Angeles, then I would really encourage you to reach out to our ambassadors to schedule some time to chat about the program and what it can do for you.
What is the most enjoyable part of business school?
I would say the relationships that you get to build with your classmates. We have a smaller program at USC with about 220 students per year, and that has really helped me get to know many of the people in the class. I am always looking forward to the next birthday party or USC football tailgate. The USC Marshall MBA tailgates have one of the best locations on campus, and the proceeds from the tailgates go to charities such as Special Olympics and Junior Achievement.
What is the hardest part of business school?
Balancing the academics and the career professional development. There are countless opportunities to develop yourself professionally, and you want to take advantage of every one that you can. You only have 24 hours in a day, and there may be multiple events that you want to attend during the same time, and you have to make some tough decisions. In addition to balancing the career events, the academics are definitely not easy, USC is a top program and it did not get there without challenging and pushing its students to reach their potential and be well-rounded students who are also highly qualified applicants in a competitive job market.
Where will you be working after graduation?
I am currently looking for opportunities in marketing. I interned at Mattel over the summer, and really enjoyed the work that I was doing in brand management and look to leverage that experience in addition to my time at Walmart to help a company satisfy its consumers and grow sales and profits.
What achievement are you most proud of during your time at business school?
During my first year, I participated in the Challenge for Charity, which is a competition among West Coast business schools involving hours and dollars raised for Charites of their choice as well as an athletic competition. I was able to participate in some great events such as Junior Achievement Teaching Day, and Special Olympics fundraising events. The culmination of everything that you do is a weekend in April where you compete in the final part of the challenge, which is the athletic events. During the last day, the winner of the year-long challenge is crowned with the “Golden Briefcase”, which USC Marshall won this year. I was very proud to be part of something that made such a big impact in our local community, and it was great to be recognized as the best in this area over other top business schools.
Favorite MBA courses?
My favorite course so far has been “Family Wealth Preservation”. I really enjoyed learning about all the ways that you can think about creating income generating assets and structuring your estate to benefit your heirs and beneficiaries. As I always say “It’s not about how much money you make, it’s about how much money you keep”.
I also loved my negotiations class. It was terrific to get many hours of practice negotiating in a variety of situations such as employment contracts, mediation, and acquisitions.
Fun fact about yourself:
I once ate 33 Chipotle burritos in a span of 3 months and earned free catering for 20 people. I used this to throw a food party for my co-workers at Walmart on Halloween of 2016.