Chelsea Wilson ’21 and Susie Corona ‘21
Chelsea Wilson ’21 and Susie Corona ’21 are students in the M.S. in Applied Psychology online program who both work at the Verizon Headquarters in Basking Ridge, New Jersey. Chelsea and Susie chatted with MAPP last month about the unique experience of being both classmates and coworkers.
What are your backgrounds?
Chelsea: I graduated from Seton Hall University in 2016 with a major in marketing and management and minors in graphic design and advertising. I interned with Verizon during undergrad doing customer experience strategy and currently work as a marketing operations analyst with Indirect Go-To-Market at the Verizon Headquarters.
Susie: I graduated from UC Irvine with a double major in psychology and social behavior and sociology. I started as a customer service representative in college and have since worked as a multicultural marketing intern for the West Area, an indirect account manager for the SoCal region, and a consultant for the National Hispanic Strategy and Value Proposition. I recently was promoted to be the manager of the National Hispanic Strategy and Value Proposition team.
What drew you two to MAPP?
Chelsea: I have always had a passion for marketing. So when I think about the different areas of marketing and graphic design that have fascinated me the most it’s the psychology foundations behind the marketing. From what color you are going to use in a logo and how that is going to resonate with your consumers to what kind of feelings they are going to get from an advertisement.
When I found the MAPP program I was excited that it not only had consumer psychology but also had IO psychology. The program will not only give me the tools to form effective teams, understand how people work, but also pair it with consumer psychology.
Susie: USC has always been on my radar and has been my dream grad school. When I moved out to New Jersey, I thought “Oh no! What am I going to do? I want to go to USC.” I was originally looking into getting my MBA with USC, but a lot of components of the MBA, because I’ve been in the field for so long, I’ve already learned. I knew I had a passion about consumers and employees as well. I always thought that caring for our employees is just as important as caring for our consumers. This program is perfect because it looks at both consumer and employee insights and how you can make business decisions from that. I can honestly say that everything I am learning in my classes I am applying in real time.
What have your experiences been like with online learning?
Susie: I think the layout of the program gives me the flexibility to be able to work full time but still be able to get an education. Also because classes are conducted live it’s not just a typical online program where you have to encourage yourself to read the material and stay engaged. Because you’re still able to see your professor and classmates face to face it makes it seem like you’re physically present in a classroom.
Every topic is so relevant to my work as well. It’s even gearing me for next month where I have to travel to the Netherlands for work. The current topic we’re studying is global culture so it couldn’t have been more perfect!
Chelsea: To Susie’s point everything that we’re learning we can apply to our jobs. In our online discussion boards for class, both of us are constantly talking about our roles at Verizon. I’ll even go back to my boss and tell him about a concept we’re learning this week and how this is currently happening in our company. I think there’s a strong benefit in doing a master’s while you’re working full time, and having the real-world application as you go through the program.
How did you two meet?
Chelsea: We met in a GRE prep class. I was traveling and had flight delays and ended up missing our first class. So I remember being at home and watching the first lecture and class introductions. So Susie comes on and introduces herself as “Susie from New Jersey.” I was immediately excited that there was another New Jersey person. And then she shares that she works at Verizon and in marketing, and I was thinking “There’s no way this girl is applying to USC!” and then she shares “I’m doing the GRE because I want to get a Master’s in Psychology.” And so I messaged her the next day through our class portal. Susie has since told me that she thought I was messaging her because I wanted a job! But we end up finding out that we work in the same building, out of the seven different buildings on Verizon’s headquarters.
The next week we got coffee at the office and were talking about what drew us to USC and how excited we were to apply. We then started doing study sessions together, quizzing each other on GRE vocab, and we’d have a standing meeting a couple days a week to just study and review. The funny thing is that Susie did work and I currently work in Go-To-Market. We’ve had so many opportunities where we could have met each other at work and interacted with each other but didn’t.
Susie: Yeah, when she reached out and told me all that I literally almost fell back in my chair. Like what a coincidence! This was all meant to be right? You go through grad school thinking that it can be so hard and how you are going to be able to balance it with work. But just knowing that you have someone else there who you can just talk about it during work or meet up to work on projects, it just makes it so much better.