Professor Neff on a recent trip to Argentina.
Courtesy of Jessica Neff

An MCM chat with professor Jessica Neff

Q: Introduce yourself, and the classes that you currently teach.

A:  I teach in both the online and on-campus MCM programs. Right now I’m teaching marketing research . I also teach the strategic communication corporation class, which is CMGT 502, and I also teach our persuasion class.

Q: What brought you to USC?

A:  I received my master’s and my Ph.D. from USC. After graduation I took a position as a postdoctoral researcher at a think-tank in Barcelona. While in Europe I began teaching part-time in the online MCM program, and when I moved back to Los Angeles two and a half years ago, I started working full time at Annenberg.

Q: How does Annenberg’s Communication Management program rank next to other schools?

A: We’re always doing cutting-edge stuff and we have the top faculty in the world.  There are so many ongoing research projects, which creates great opportunities for students to get involved.  In fact, I learn about new things my colleagues are doing every week.

Q:  Name your favorite class and why?

A: It’s hard to pick, but one of my favorites is the marketing research class.  Every semester we work with a corporate client, and we have a history of partnering up with cutting edge start-ups based in Silicon Beach. Students have the opportunity to conduct real world marketing research for a client. For example, tonight, this semester’s client, ParkMe, is pitching their challenge to the class. After hearing the challenge students will work to develop a research design, collect data, analyze it, write up a final report and then present their key findings to the client.. The class is different every semester, which is a lot of fun for me. I think students enjoy it because it’s very hands-on.

Q: What advice do you have for current MCM students?

A: Networking is really important - talking to people – asking them interesting questions – because you never know what you’re going to learn, or where that connection could lead two years from now. Also, seek out internship opportunities.  Finally, don’t be shy to ask faculty for help and feedback.  We love when people talk to us!

Q: What would you say to someone considering the MCM program?
A:  Come check us out and talk to existing students about their experiences that they’ve had here at Annenberg. What I think they’ll discover is our students are having great experiences, and our alumni go on to amazing careers. They should be excited to come here!

Q: When you are not teaching here at USC, what do you like to do in your spare time?

A: I love to cook and travel! The picture of myself is from a recent trip to Argentina, and in the background is a glacier in Patagonia. I'm also a fitness junkie - running, hiking, yoga.