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Darla Moore School of Business

J.D., MBA student gaining skills to someday open commercial real estate firm

Headshot of India Whaley

International MBA and J.D. candidate India Whaley chose the combination degree program to enhance her leadership skills and business acumen as she builds on her career as a certified Project Management Professional.

Whaley will graduate from USC with her International MBA and J.D. in 2023. Read below as Whaley discusses why she chose USC and the Moore School and what she hopes to accomplish after she completes her combination degree.

Why did you decide to get your International MBA and J.D.? What do you hope to do in the future?
I decided to get my International MBA and J.D. because I want to set myself apart in business and law. I specifically selected USC because of the proximity to home, which is Irmo, South Carolina, and because the Moore School’s IMBA is ranked No. 1 in the country. I knew an IMBA and J.D. would give me the tools to have a solid foundation as a business leader with legal expertise. As a dual-degree student, I have the best of both worlds with the alumni network. I hope to one day build a global real estate development and finance practice or company. The overseas component was the cherry on top.

What skills do you hope to gain from the MBA alongside the J.D.?
I want to develop my strengths while accepting my weaknesses. I am looking forward to building my business acumen, especially business analytics, accounting and finance. As a dual-degree student, I want to develop my cultural awareness and openness because I believe it will serve me well with my clients. I cannot turn down the opportunity to travel and work overseas.

With the IMBA, you will have an international immersion experience — where do you hope to go for this experience? Why did you choose this location and what do you hope to gain from that experience?
As mentioned, I chose the IMBA for the international immersion experience. I have the opportunity to learn a new language and live overseas for a semester; this opportunity is an experience of a lifetime. As a young girl, I took Spanish courses and then transitioned to Italian as an undergrad. Currently, I am considering if I should become proficient with my Spanish. The Spanish language is widely spoken, and I could create a niche with Latin American clients.

Before deciding to enroll in law school, you were an event, project and site manager for various organizations. Why did you decide to leave this type of work to pursue your advanced degrees?
I am not leaving this type of work to pursue my advanced degrees; I am pursuing the degrees to help me become a better project and site manager. I am planning to use my project management knowledge and experiences to work with real estate construction companies. I plan to work as a real estate analyst and investment banker and transition to become a commercial real estate developer. In the real estate industry, I will have to use my project management skills to manage the entire real estate project and team.

Anything else about your decision to attend law school and the IMBA program?
I am a first-generation college student, and I knew that gaining advanced degrees will help me provide for my family.

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