USC Marshall School of Business
University of Southern California

Graduate Profile: Robert M. Wickman

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Robert M. Wickman, MMLIS ‘20

An essential element of USC Marshall’s MMLIS program success is the supportive community fostered among its alumni around the world as a part of the Trojan Family. These dedicated professionals fuel the impact and influence of our online program.

Meet Robert M. Wickman (MMLIS '20). In the Q&A below, he shares what inspires him about libraries, how USC supported him as a student, and the impact he is making as Library Director at the Thomas Jefferson School of Law in San Diego, CA.

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What initially sparked your interest in library and information science?

I have always loved learning new things, and exploring vast new worlds of ideology and theory. I was always interested in everything from sports, to music, to anthropology, History and even theoretical physics. I concentrated on the study of law, but found myself consistently drawn to libraries. Because of my love for education, library science seemed to be an inevitable “next step” in my educational growth.

What made you pursue the USC Marshall MMLIS program in particular?

Ever since I was a kid growing up in Philadelphia, PA, I idolized USC. I never thought I would be living in California, let alone attending the University of Southern California. When I found the opportunity to apply to USC, I jumped at the chance. I loved that USC's Library Science program had a management/business focus and trained its graduates to become leaders in the field. I found this aspect of the program to be unique and extraordinary.

How did USC assist you in transitioning into the program, or support your career aspirations as a student?

My student advisors were a tremendous help! They were responsive, dutiful, knowledgeable, and really made my initial transition into the program quite comfortable. I found my professors were consistently generous, collaborative, responsive, and knowledgeable throughout my tenure in the program. Most, if not all, of my instructors, were welcoming and open to individual consult and discussion. I found them fair and universally concerned with helping me understand their particular subject matter.

What was the most memorable experience or learning from your USC studies?

The most memorable experiences were the collaborations and friendships I obtained throughout the program. Even though the interactions were mainly experienced through a virtual environment, the conversations and class exchanges were always educational and fulfilling. I loved my online experience. I found it to be collaborative and academically vigorous. I think USC's online programming is state of the art. USC's program prepared me to thrive in a distance learning - or virtual - environment. Being able to understand, and ultimately thrive in this environment proved to be an invaluable asset for my future success in the information science field, especially in the post-Covid era.

How did your degree from USC Marshall’s MMLIS program influence your current work?

My USC education taught me the intricacies and importance of emotional intelligence and critical thinking through the lens of business and leadership. The MMLIS program fostered collaboration, project management, and library leadership; it has proven to be invaluable as I embark on my career as a Library Director at the Thomas Jefferson School of Law in San Diego, CA. USC also gave me the experience of working in a 100% virtual learning environment, which I now utilize during the Covid-era, to instruct, teach, and interact with students at our Law Library.

What advice do you have for students who may be interested in following a similar path to yours?

Be enthusiastic and present. Make sure you take this master’s program very seriously. Attend all of the lectures, because it will allow you to interact with your classmates and your professors in real time. It is crucial to develop a fellowship with your classmates as well as your professors. Your professors really want you to succeed, so please utilize their expertise. Maintain a 3.0 GPA, learn as much as you can, and represent all of your advisors and mentors by graduating with the best possible grades. Be excited and determined to succeed. And make sure to maintain one day per week to relax a bit and not burn yourself out.

The USC MMLIS program offers an outstanding education in management and library science. I believe it is the best program in the US. You are a Trojan. Be proud of this. It is an honor.