USC Marshall MBAs Doing Good
Each year, the USC Marshall Society and Business Lab (SBL) awards subsidies to MBA students who intern at nonprofit and social enterprise organizations. Follow their adventures.
Being an Education Pioneers fellow is definitely not the typical MBA summer internship path but with it comes many perks beyond having the privilege of improving our city’s education. Of all the things I love about Education Pioneers, I would say the network in the education that we are exposed is truly unparalleled. I may even dare to say that it’s every bit as good as the Trojan network in SoCal. Through various EP events, I was able to meet so many different power players in the Los Angeles education scene. I even got the chance to organize 4-speaker panel on “Technology in the Classroom”, a topic that I am personally extremely passionate about. It was so cool to have the LAUSD’s Director of Instructional Technology, a founding principal of an Alliance charter school, the founder of upcoming USC Hybrid High (to be opened Fall 2012) and a founder of an LA Educational Software company all together in the same room speaking about a topic that they are equally passionate about too. And this fantastic networking experience is on top of the fabulous cohort experience where we immersed ourselves in discussion of various issues impacting our education system, both citywide and nationwide.
Of all the people I have met this summer, the chance to sit down with Dr. John Deasy, the superintendent of Los Angeles Unified School District, was by far my favorite highlight this summer. I have to say Dr. Deasy is one of the best leaders I have ever met in person. He is like one of those “mythical” leaders that people so often read about but can’t tangibly grasp until you come across one in person. Though I have heard him spoke before a large audience a year ago at an Education Pioneers networking event (and I was impressed back then too!), it was different to see and talk to him up close. Though it’s well known that Dr. Deasy is on turbo mode from 5am to past midnight every day, the energy that he exuded in front of the ten+ EP LAUSD fellows was just so powerful when I witness for myself. His answers to every question we threw at him were so purposeful and direct. His blunt responses were so “not political” but yet it feels exactly like that he is providing the right antidote to the political muck that LAUSD is completely stuck in. When I asked him about the distrust between the central offices and the local schools, I loved how he immediately replied with something like “it was beyond mistrust; it’s borderline hatred.” And he didn’t even say that with disdain but rather agreed that local schools should hate a central office that had previously done little to promote progress. It is the kind of honesty that is shocking but refreshing at the same time! I can go on and on about his clarity of vision, dogged determination, and intense sense of urgency but to spare you all from my fandom, I will say I am very hopeful that Dr. Deasy is the right man to steer the ship in the right direction.
Finally, I was just want to give a pat on the back for all the hard work that LA teachers are doing. If you haven’t seen, LAUSD is MAKING progress (http://www.latimes.com/news/local/la-me-test-scores-20110816,0,5162350.story). Much credit goes to not just Dr. Deasy, but the former Superintendent Ramon Cortines as well. As said by our new Deputy Superintendent of Instruction Jaime Aquino, which is echoed by Dr. Deasy at the press conference: “We are nowhere close to where we used to be but we are nowhere close to where we ought to be.”