Matthew Dion- USC Marshall School of Business
Name: Matthew Dion
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:
On a typical day, I’ll arrive at campus between 6-8AM depending on my meeting and class schedule. I try to get an early workout in, and usually have some sort of morning meeting or working session for a group project. During my first year, I had classes roughly 8AM-12:30PM every day, but this year I’ve been able to cluster all my classes together on Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday. As such, I generally spend most of the afternoon in class, then finish my time on campus with club meetings, recruiting events, or networking and mixers. Once my school responsibilities are taken care of, I like to grab dinner with classmates or head home to relax and catch up on work.
Where did you work before enrolling in business school?
I worked in operations at a mobile gaming company. I performed a variety of functions, including facility management, event management, and human resources during a period of rapid growth and significant external investment. I knew I enjoyed working in the gaming industry, but I wanted to have a greater impact on the games we were making, so I decided to pursue an MBA with a focus on product management in the games industry. This summer I was able to put that into action with an internship at Electronic Arts in Seattle, where I was a Product Manager working on a major upcoming mobile release.
What do you feel are the most important factors when choosing a business school?
In my opinion, culture fit, diversity, and fit with career goals are the most important factors. You want to go to school somewhere that you fit into the student culture, get along and work well with your classmates, and also exposes you to a diverse set of backgrounds, cultures, and perspectives. Fit with your career goals is also crucial, as you want to know that you’ll be able to achieve those goals with the resources your school provides.
What was your biggest challenge in the MBA application process and why?
Communicating an effective narrative of “Pre-MBA experience > Post-MBA goals > How an MBA from [B-school] will help me get there”. I come from a very non-traditional pre-MBA background, and I’m going into a relatively niche post-MBA field, so I needed to iterate through the narrative I was creating in my resume and essays several times before it felt right.
What is/was the most enjoyable part about business school?The most enjoyable part of business school for me has been making a ton of new friends, and doing so organically. It never felt like I had to try hard to meet new people, I just made a bunch of great friends really quickly. Beyond that, I’ve loved all the traveling I’ve been able to do! By the time my two-year program is over, I will have traveled to Australia, China, Fiji, India, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, and South Korea, in addition to a bunch of cities within the US–all while calling sunny Los Angeles home.
What is the hardest part of business school?
In my experience, the hardest part of business school has been deciding what to say “no” to. There are so many great networking opportunities, skill development workshops, recruiting presentations, and social events happening at Marshall that you can easily overextend yourself if you’re not careful about prioritizing your time.
Where will you be working after graduation?
I’m hoping to return to Electronic Arts after graduation, where I interned this summer as a Product Manager. My goal is to continue working in the interactive entertainment industry as a product manager.
What achievement are you most proud of in your professional career or at your school?
I’m most proud of the research project I’m involved in with the APEC Business Advisory Council (ABAC). For the past 9+ months, spanning the first and second years of my MBA program, my teammates and I have been conducting research on behalf of ABAC to examine the cross-border trade environment for small businesses in the APEC region. USC Marshall is the only top MBA program that works with ABAC and it is by far the most unique opportunity that I’ve had in business school. The report that we’ve written and the recommendations that we’ve provided will have a material impact on the lives of millions of people working in small business throughout the Asia-Pacific region.
Fun fact about yourself:
I’m a huge fan of the Boston Celtics, and my cat is named after my favorite Celtics player.