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Dean's Letter

April 1, 2008

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Dear Marshall Community:

Welcome back from Spring Break! I hope you all had a productive and enjoyable time, and now are ready for the stretch run to finish the school year in just a few weeks.

For many of you, of course, Spring Break was anything but a vacation. More than 600 graduate and undergraduate USC Marshall students traveled to one or more cities on four continents as part of several programs, including GLP, LINC, ExCEL, and PM.GLOBE.

The programs vary, depending on the type of student, but all involve significant pre-visit classroom training to learn about the country, its business and economic climate, social etiquette, language and more. And on the trip, students get a chance for social and tourism opportunities, to be sure. But the main focus is on a series of meetings with political and business leaders, interactions with students from other top universities, tours of factories and leading industrial centers and case-study presentations.

About 20 of the undergraduates who took part in GLP, LINC and ExCEL trips blogged for us about their experiences this year from Shanghai, Beijing, Hong Kong, Dublin, Taipei, Bangkok and Santiago. They also sent pictures of their trips, all of which can be seen here: Letter from Around the World, 2008.

As you will see, the students talk about the international networks they are beginning to build, their growing understanding of how business is done in other countries, and their realization of the many opportunities overseas. Not incidentally, they also seem to have a really great time. As we go forward, we want to make sure all our students get the chance to receive this same gift of global understanding.

In talking about the big trip, I also want to salute and thank Anakkarat Barth and the entire staff of the Office of Global Programs and Partnerships, whose employees pull together those 600-plus airplane tickets, hotel reservations, event planning and all the related material everyone needed for the Spring Break trips. Their hard work and attention to the details make it possible for our students and escorting faculty and staff to concentrate on having the best possible learning experience.

To get a better idea of all that Ana's office does, we have posted a short video story about her team on USC Marshall's YouTube site, at: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t-2G0JMU6Sg

This video will give you a greater appreciation for the challenges they face in sending more than 1,000 USC Marshall students around the globe every year.

Last but not least, a HUGE thanks to the faculty and staff members who went with the students on their trips. We could not do it without their unending support, time and energy. We truly appreciate their making the time to share their experiences with us on the trips.

By the way, I was on the road myself at Spring Break, visiting with leaders in the Middle Eastern emirate of Dubai. As USC Marshall continues to grow and extend its global reach, it must consider expansion opportunities overseas. We are very early in that process, but how Marshall extends its reach will be a major consideration going forward.

Okay, everyone, now it is time to hit the books for the last few weeks of school.

James G. Ellis
Dean, Marshall School of Business