2018 Best EMBAs: Princess Mushohwe-Mpati, USC (Marshall)

Princess Mushohwe-Mpati

Marshall School of Business, University of Southern California

“I am hardworking, resilient and excel at building relationships and connecting with people.”

Age: 42

Hometown: Corona, California

Family Members: Lyle (Husband), Litha (Son), Lwazi (Son) and Jaime(Step- daughter)

Fun fact about yourself: I love Indy /singer-songwriter music, exotic food and write poetry to center myself.

Undergraduate School and Degree: Rhodes University, Bachelor of Pharmacy

Where are you currently working? CVS Health

Extracurricular Activities, Community Work and Leadership Roles: I have been a manager or leader in different roles over the last 15 years. I have had many sponsors and mentors along the way and to this day. To pay it forward, I have been and still am an Intern Preceptor for graduate pharmacists and I act as a mentor and a sponsor other young and aspiring leaders. Every year, I volunteer for an organization called Working Wardrobes, where battered and abused women from all walks of life go through a rehabilitation program and the event I volunteer at is preparing them to re-enter the workforce. We coach, encourage and help them put together a wardrobe for their return to the workforce. This event is dear to me as there are so many women out there that need someone to believe in them. The simple act of spending a day with them answering all their work- related questions and alleviating their anxieties goes a long way in rebuilding their confidence. I always tell them if I can do it, you too can do it.

Which academic or extracurricular achievement are you most proud of during business school? I am most proud of the respect I have cultivated with my two middle school aged boys, who now think I am easily the smartest and most hard-working person in the world. They have enjoyed us doing homework together at the Kitchen table for the past 2 years. I hope the work ethic and discipline I have demonstrated will stay with them through their college years.

What achievement are you most proud of in your professional career? I am proud that I never shy away from a challenge and that has always served me well. I think moving from South Africa to California at the age of 25 to take on a job as a Pharmacist Intern will always be my proudest achievement. As I had never traveled abroad, I had no savings and no relatives in the United States and still had the courage to leave the only life I knew and take a risk that has forever changed my life and that of my family.

Who was your favorite MBA professor: Arvind Ramakrishnan and Arvind Bambri

What was your favorite MBA course and what was the biggest insight you gained about business from it: Strategy – I found it thought-provoking and gave me a full understanding of why business succeed or fail and a deeper appreciation of the importance of all the other aspects of the program.

Why did you choose this executive MBA program? I chose the program because of the network and the reviews on the program. I am glad that this is the program I chose as it has far exceeded my expectations and my experiences here have changed the way I think and the way I lead.

What did you enjoy most about business school in general: I enjoyed building relationships with professionals in other fields and having both thought-provoking discussions and light hearted conversations. The network I have developed will be an invaluable resource for me moving forward.

Give us a story during your time as an executive MBA on how you were able to juggle work, family and education? I am a mom, a wife and work a full-time job as a District Leader (Multi-unit leader). Throughout the program, I have had to juggle my three hats. This experience has forced me to be more organized and make better plans. Most important, it has taught me to prioritize and say no as often as needed to protect the relationships and priorities that matter the most to me. I do homework with my kids just to spend extra time with them; they run errands with me like grocery shopping or help me do laundry something they would never do before, but I know they do it to spend the time.

What advice would you give to a student looking to enter an executive MBA program? You will get out of the program what you put into it and the social learning and relationships are just as important as the academic learning so make friends, connect and put effort into every subject – even if you think it’s not your area of interest as the full experience is where the true value of the program lies.

What is the biggest myth about going back to school? People say you are more focused and more diligent if you go back to school when you are older and YES this proved to be true in my case.

What was your biggest regret in business school? No regrets all experiences were valuable learning experiences.

Which MBA classmate do you most admire? I am grateful for all my classmates as each one brings different strengths and different perspectives. I have learned not to underestimate anyone and they have taught me to be bold and voice my opinions especially when I am going against the grain.

“I knew I wanted to go to business school when…I have always wanted to go to Grad school and had to decide between law school and business school. I knew I wanted to go to business school as I grew as a leader and excelled at building and impacting teams, business school could only make me more effective and more strategic.”

“If I hadn’t gone to business school…I would have gone to law school, I always knew I wanted to go to Grad school.”

What is your ultimate long-term professional goal: My passion is in helping the under privileged and under served. I would love to be in a strategy role where I can support work that opens up access to preventative care and access to quality healthcare at a national or global scale. I stay open minded to the different ways I can contribute to this cause.

In one sentence, how would you like your peers to remember you: As a thoughtful peer that they can always reach out to for idea sharing and brainstorming over a glass of wine.

Favorite book: Lean In, By Sheryl Sandberg every girl should read it.

Favorite movie or television show: Breaking Bad and Black Mirror

What are the top two items on your bucket list: 1. See all the 7 Natural wonders of the world (I have seen 2 so far The Grand Canyon and the Victoria Falls). 2. Travel to as many different countries as possible with my kids and husband and experience different cultures and foods together.

What made Princess such an invaluable addition to the class of 2018?

“Princess embodies the fearlessness and forward thrust of a modern business woman. Born and raised in Zimbabwe, she moved to South Africa to attend pharmacy school, graduating from Rhodes University. When she came to the United States in 2000, she spent 16 years in retail pharmacy operations. Her dynamic personality and intuitive communication skills has enabled her to excel in an industry that is driven by the ability to connect with patients, customers and colleagues. This shows in the quality of her work…and in her popularity with her fellow students.”

Brigitte Engel
Director, USC Marshall EMBA

DON’T MISS: THE ENTIRE LIST OF 100 BEST & BRIGHTEST EXECUTIVE MBA GRADS OF 2018