What Is the Marshall School of Business?

The Marshall School of Business is an institution of higher education, the business school of the University of Southern California (USC). Located in Los Angeles, it offers a wide variety of both undergraduate and graduate courses, conferring both business-related B.S (bachelor of science) degrees and several different MBA degrees. Bearing a prestigious reputation, especially in the western U.S., the Marshall School of Business is especially known for its entrepreneur and international programs.

Key Takeaways

  • The Marshall School of Business is the business school of the University of Southern California (USC), located in Los Angeles.
  • The Marshall School of Business offers undergraduate business degrees, full- and part-time MBA degrees, specialized master's degrees, and a doctorate degree.
  • The Marshall School of Business is known for its innovative approach and emphasis on international and entrepreneurial studies.
  • It is named for Gordan Marshall, who in 1997 endowed it with a then-record gift of $35 million.

Understanding the Marshall School of Business

Founded in 1920, the Marshall School of Business is one of the largest of the 17 schools that comprise the University of Southern California, a private academic institution. It is the oldest accredited business school in Southern California.

The school occupies five buildings on the USC campus. It has 243 full-time faculty members.

The Marshall School of Business administers to undergraduates, graduates, and post-graduates. Students can earn undergraduate degrees in business administration, accounting, and world business; full- or part-time masters in business administration; an online MBA, executive MBA, or one-year international MBA; and 10 specialized masters’ degrees, which include entrepreneurship and innovation, marketing, global supply chain management, and business analytics.

The full roster of degree programs is:

Undergraduate (B.S.):

  • Business Administration
  • Accounting
  • World Bachelor in Business

Master of Business Administration (MBA):

  • Full-Time MBA
  • MBA for Professionals and Managers (Part-Time MBA)
  • Online MBA
  • Executive MBA (EMBA)
  • One-year International MBA (IBEAR)

Specialized Masters Degrees:
Master of Accounting (MAcc)
Master of Business Taxation (MBT)
Master of Business for Veterans (MBV)
Master of Management in Library and Information Science (MSLIS)
Master of Science in Business Analytics (MSBA)
Master of Science in Entrepreneurship and Innovation (MSEI)
Master of Science in Finance (MSF)
Master of Science in Global Supply Chain Management (MSGSCM)
Master of Science in Marketing (MSM)
Master of Science in Social Entrepreneurship (MSSE)

Ph.D. Degree

The Marshall School of Business Approach

The Marshall School of Business is known for its innovative programs and approach to business education. It was a pioneer in offering entrepreneurship courses and an MBA degree (perhaps reflecting the nearby presence of Silicon Valley); it also was the first school to require international travel and study projects as an integral part of every MBA degree.

Marshall's Global Leadership Program (GLP) and Learning About International Commerce (LINC) programs were the first of their kind available to freshman students. In a normal year, some 1,400 graduates and undergraduates travel overseas as part of their curriculum.

Given Los Angeles' proximity to the Pacific Rim, it's not surprising that Marshall School of Business focused on study-abroad initiatives in that area. Established in 1997, its PRIME Program offers students a choice of six experiences in Southeast Asia, working with multi-national companies, domestic enterprises, and governmental institutions.

Attitude and Applications

Given its focus on entrepreneurship, globalism, and cutting-edge thought leadership, Marshall does not seek a type of ideal MBA candidate; rather, it's looking for students from all walks of life and varying degrees of experience. Unlike other business schools, it doesn't require application fees or references—in fact, it refuses to accept letters of recommendation and asks applicants not to submit any (for the full-time, two-year MBA program, at least). The person is more important than their "pull."

It does require applicants to take the GMAT or GRE, write at least two essays, and submit their undergraduate academic transcripts and a one-page résumé.

Student Statistics

Approximately 4,000 undergraduate students take Marshall classes, while the graduate programs typically have around 1,200 students—about 430 in the full-time MBA program. Typically, about one-third of the students in this program come from outside the U.S.

The Class of 2022

Among the Marshall School of Business' full-time MBA Class of 2022:

  • Average GMAT score: 707
  • Average GPA: 3.5
  • % of students of color: 44%
  • % identifying as female: 40%

History of the Marshall School of Business


USC's first effort at a business school was founded in 1920 as the College of Commerce and Business Administration. It had 300 students. Its first graduate degree was offered in 1922.

By 1960, USC had grown greatly. Its College of Commerce was revamped, into the School of Business Administration and the Graduate School of Business Administration.

The school gained its current name in 1997. It was formally named the Gordon S. Marshall School of Business after its alumnus Gordon Marshall, head of electronic components distributor Marshall Industries. His donation of $35 million was the largest ever given to a business school at the time.

In 2015, Marshall established an Office of Diversity and Inclusion. In 2016, it established Fertitta Hall, a dedicated facility for its undergraduates.

The Marshall School of Business now boasts more than 93,000 alumni worldwide.