Meet Preston Zimmerman (MSL 2022), a pharmaceutical packaging sales director. In the Q&A below, he shares what inspired him to choose the online Master of Studies in Law (MSL) degree at USC Gould and how an education in law complemented his career in business.
What sparked your interest in learning about law?
As the law governs and defines the environment in which business transactions are executed, I wanted to better understand the considerations and implications of transactions and develop skills that I could use to enter into, and advance, mutually beneficial outcomes with those I work with in my career. I have always had a natural curiosity about the law and wanted to educate myself so that I am able to do my part and be a reliable and competent business partner for all.
What made you pursue an MSL degree in particular, and why at USC Gould?
My business experience to date has required interactions with legal counsel. I decided to pursue an MSL degree to refine my ability to analyze information and understand how the law applies to business transactions. Ultimately, I want to serve as an effective, efficient, and responsible bridge between business and law.
I chose to study at USC Gould because I wanted to study at a top institution. I believe everything about USC Gould is exceptional.
How was the transition into the MSL program, and how did USC assist you?
My transition into the MSL program was very structured. There were sessions for incoming students to get acquainted with the curriculum which helped the start of the program feel less daunting. I certainly found comfort in the open communication from the program leaders and from USC. Once day one of the program came around, I felt very ready and prepared.
What is the most memorable experience or learning from your USC studies?
The most memorable learning from my USC studies involved breaking down complex problem sets in my Mergers and Acquisitions class. These required a level of critical thinking that really pushed and drove me to be methodical and consider every facet of a transaction. I came out of these exercises feeling ever more confident that I could ask the right questions and engage with those who have decision-making authority, to shape and determine next steps in a corporate environment.
How has your MSL from USC Gould given you an advantage for your future career? What do you want to do next with your degree?
My degree from USC Gould has given me the confidence to be bold, unique and creative in my business approach. As the business landscape is ever-changing, this MSL program gave me a better understanding of the law and gave me the tools to drive good business decisions backed by legal knowledge. This is certainly advantageous in today’s environment.
Now having completed the degree, I want to take what I have learned and lead even greater collaboration and transformative change with those I come in contact with.
What advice do you have for students who may be interested in following a similar path to yours?
My advice would be to commit yourself fully and unconditionally to what it is you want to achieve and see it through to the very end. Your future self will thank you for it. Find joy and fulfillment in the struggle through trials and tribulations as it is these that, ultimately, make you a better and more well-rounded person. Lastly, nothing great can be achieved without adversity. Thus, it is important to embrace it and overcome it.
Quickfire Q&A with Preson Zimmerman (MSL 2022)
The Master of Studies in Law offers early-career and seasoned non-lawyer professionals an unparalleled education to better understand complex legal matters. Learn more about USC’s Online MSL and On-Campus MSL in Los Angeles and the Business Law Certificate.