How My Marshall Courses Complement My Viterbi Courses

Natalie Monger Computer Science, Natalie, Viterbi Class, Viterbi Life, Viterbi Plus, Why USC

As a Computer Science and Business Administration (CSBA) major, I take most of the courses in the Marshall School of Business that Business Administration majors take in addition to all of my courses in Viterbi. Today, I’d like to share the names of two of these courses and what I’ve learned from them that have enhanced my overall educational experience at USC.

BUAD 302: Communication Strategy in Business

This was an amazing class. Since most Viterbi students don’t get to take this class, I’ll share some of the lessons I learned throughout the semester. BUAD 302 is a class where students perfect their presentation and public speaking skills, but I gained so much more from this class. For example:

1) Greater opportunities come to confident speakers.

Before my business communications class, I did not have much confidence in myself as a public speaker. As a modest and, sometimes, shy person, I normally do not like being in the spotlight. In the past, I worried about what people thought about me when I spoke. I thought if I spoke with certainty people might label me as arrogant or bossy.

To my surprise, though, I enjoyed getting up in front of the class and presenting. I learned that speaking poorly, even in small conversations with others, can be seen as a sign of weakness in the business world. After practicing my speaking skills during the mandatory presentation days in class, I felt like I could get up and talk to a large group of people as a confident Computer Science student. And that’s exactly what I did a few weeks ago as I pitched my research project to a number of judges at the USC Michelson Center for Convergent Bioscience. It’s great to pat yourself on the back every once in a while and be proud of yourself for your small victories.

2. Two (or more!) heads are better than one.

Growing up, I was an independent student, mostly working on assignments and projects alone. During team projects before I took BUAD 302, I often offered to do all the work and spent hours reviewing it because I had trouble trusting others to complete their respective jobs.

However, this class showed me that, even if my team members may not have the same work habits that I do, I can still trust them to put their effort into projects. Now I trust others enough to collaborate with them and feel excited to learn more from being around other high-achieving individuals.

BUAD 307: Marketing Fundamentals

BUAD 307 is another great course that taught me lots about the importance of marketing a product and understanding different business strategies. Here are a couple of things I learned from BUAD 307:

1. A product has a low chance at being successful if it’s not marketed correctly.

As engineers, we build different products all the time. But if we want to see other people using our products and watch our products transform society, we have to market them. For example, we need to understand how to capture a viewer’s attention through a web page, social media, or advertisements. We have to provide value with our products and create products according to what consumers want in their lives. In my opinion, if an engineer pursues entrepreneurial skills in addition to hard skills, he or she will be unstoppable!

2. Being both an entrepreneur and an engineer is not an easy task.

It really isn’t. Usually, people are either good at one or the other. However, I believe that the CSBA program Viterbi offers perfectly balances the two fields to best fit my future goals. It’s just a matter of if you’d rather dive into one of the fields fully or gain the fundamentals of both. Either way, you should be willing to work hard both in your degree requirements and in your outside pursuits. Feel free to contact me if you have any questions about the CSBA program!


I hope this gave you a good sense of what it’s like to be a student in both Viterbi and Marshall. I still have a number of Marshall courses to go, so I can’t wait to see what kinds of things I’ll learn in my future courses that will propel me toward my goals!

About the Author

Natalie is a junior studying Computer Science/Business and Dance. Click the photo above to find out more.

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