theGRADproject STORY

Here is the story of how theGRADproject was developed and launched.

Justin and David tailgating with fellow Trojans

Justin and David tailgating with fellow Trojans

While in the midst of their Executive Master of Leadership program at the University of Southern California (USC), Justin Moschina and David Robertson (C6) realized that each time they were tasked with a semester or group project, they weren’t just being given an assignment, but an opportunity that went far beyond the classroom – they were learning opportunities that could be applied immediately to leading or starting a business. By approaching each project strategically, they were able to meet and learn from some of the most influential business leaders, and put new, innovative ideas and concepts into practice.

One day Robertson had the idea of coming up with a concept for a new business within a few hours over drinks. He challenged Moschina to work with him on developing the idea. What eventually emerged was theGRADproject, The business concept was refined during many discussions during long commutes from Orange County to Los Angeles, early morning breakfast meetings, after class cocktails in the evening and meetings after work.  (scroll down to continue)

L-R: theGRADproject Founders Moschina and Robertson with Dr Bob Denhardt (Center)

L-R: theGRADproject Founders Moschina and Robertson with Dr Bob Denhardt (Center)


Robertson and Moschina were excited about combining their passion for building businesses and relationships with technology to serve several needs that they had taken note of. First, they saw that businesses struggled to find fresh approaches to the way they’ve always done business; they often need new, creative thinking, or a cutting-edge concepts that can be applied to developing a new strategy, or amplifying an already existing strategic advantage. At the end of the day, many organizations need to focus on growing their business but need help in doing so. Moschina and Robertson also saw that the employment outlook for Masters and MBA students was projected to decrease across all sectors year over year for the foreseeable future. Plain and simple, for students, it would be tougher to get a job, or change careers.

And so, during their final semester in grad school, theGRADproject came to life! Moschina and Robertson began providing businesses with access to a network of some of the brightest executive MBA and graduate students to complete projects in the areas of operations, marketing, sales, business development and strategy. According to Moschina, “We are creating a marketplace where the ideas and innovation of today’s young minds can be exchanged with the opportunity for grads to gain a strategic advantage in today’s job market.”

According to Robertson, “the creation of theGRADproject wasn’t a straight line. Rather, it was a meandering journey that included many conversations in which we shared ideas, what was important to us (our values), discussions about exciting new concepts that we were learning in the EML program, and of course, having fun getting to know our professors and classmates over cocktails. Our original idea for a business changed but the excitement about starting a business and incorporating EML leadership concepts and strategies remained the same.”

Today, theGRADproject has clients who are enlisting grads to help them think and act more strategically; projects take the form of consulting, program or campaign development or projects related to increasing sales, profit and growth.

VISION: To create a marketplace where innovation meets opportunity

MISSION: To connect businesses with world-class masters level students to complete projects that add short-term and lasting value, all at an affordable rate.


Celebrating Incorporation of theGRADproject

Instilling EML Concepts after class

Our Strategy Planning Class Team with Dr Rick Culley

We’re inducted into two Honor Societies.