USC Marshall World Bachelor in Business social media campaign goes viral

Amber Huang, Lavina Lim and Olivia Spivey, from left, triggered a popular social media campaign inspired by the Humans of New York blog. (Photo/Brian Morri)


USC Marshall World Bachelor in Business social media campaign goes viral

#MeetWBB launched to profile members of the global program who live and study at universities on three continents over four years

May 05, 2016 Julie Tilsner

The stories are compelling. The photos simple, yet evocative. And each portrait of a World Bachelor in Business student that goes up on the WBB Facebook page underneath the #MeetWBB hashtag is read and “liked” and shared.

A lot.

According to the metrics, one such post, about a young WBB student from India fighting gender stereotypes in her country, has reached more than 25,000 people. Indeed, each of the eight portraits posted since the #MeetWBB campaign began in February has seen robust audience engagement.

Its success delights Lavina Lim, the freshman WBB student who drove the creation of this social media campaign. But it doesn’t surprise her.

“My fellow students are really a different kind of individual,” she said.

Lim said part of the motivation behind launching #MeetWBB was to address the constant question: What is a WBB student like, and will I fit in?”

It’s a fair question. The World Bachelor of Business degree program stands apart in that its members live and study at universities on three continents over the course of four years.

Students spend their freshman year at the USC Marshall School of Business, their sophomore year at the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology, their third year at Università Bocconi in Milan, Italy, and their fourth year at their choice of the three. (A strong percentage of the original cohort, entering its fourth year in the fall, chose to return to USC, according to the USC Marshall Office of Undergraduate Admissions. The exact percentage is not yet final.)

Students in the WBB earn a degree from each of the three universities.

Humans of WBB

#MeetWBB was inspired by the hugely popular “Humans of New York,” which feature simple portraits of New Yorkers together with a vignette about some aspect of their life. The HONY Facebook page has more than 14 million “likes” and has spawned several best-selling books.

“I figured something HONY-like would help draw people in. It was the perfect way to showcase who we are as a cohort and as individuals,” Lim said.

The posts have created a lot of interest among current students, but how it will impact applications to the WBB program is yet to be seen, according to Beza Merid, an undergraduate admissions administrator.

The effort is run by students — the photos are taken by WBB students Grant Calderone and Amber Huang, and the interviews are conducted and edited by Lim and Olivia Spivey.

“Everyone asks if their stories are interesting enough to be featured,” Lim said with a laugh. “And, of course, everyone’s story is.”