Time To Question The Answers

Prof. Freddy Tran Nager

USC AnnenbergLecturer of Communication
& Associate Director
M.S. in Digital Social Media Program
University of Southern California

As a professor for 17 years and a marketing professional for 35, I know that markets and technologies change, but critical thinking skills last a lifetime.

That’s why I teach my students not just to answer the questions, but to also question the answers. As future executives and entrepreneurs, they need to distinguish trends from fads, truth from fraud.

In addition, I encourage them to hone their creative skills, because “outstanding” means “standing out.” Now, by “creative,” I’m referring to both artistic expression and problem solving. That means when they come across “best practices,” they should strive to develop even better ones.


Since joining the USC faculty in 2012, I’ve taught the following graduate-level courses:

  • Influencer Strategies: The first influencer-marketing course at USC and one of the first in the U.S. How to evaluate and manage influential individuals and influencer-marketing campaigns, plus strategies for developing personal influence.
  • Ecommerce Media and Messaging: How to develop ecommerce brands and promote them in competitive markets.
  • Website Strategies for Organizations: How to develop and direct content strategy, ecommerce tactics, and user experience design to achieve organizational goals.
  • Communication Strategies for Innovators and Entrepreneurs: How to promote startups and innovations to an array of stakeholders, from investors to end consumers.
  • Business Models of Communication Firms: How to launch an agency and craft organizational structures, revenue models, ethics guidelines, and new business pitches.
  • Digital Social Media Capstone: How to plan, develop, and market master’s degree thesis projects, including research methods, presentations, and peer reviews.

In addition, I’ve held multiple workshops, including Search Engine Optimization (to Annenberg alumni), “LinkedInfluence” (to USC Price School faculty), and Name, Image & Likeness (to USC Football team).


Associate Director, M.S. in Digital Social Media Program (2022-present)

Co-directing fast-growing STEM graduate program focused on digital media science.

  • Crafted new vision and position for the program based on social, technological, and market developments.
  • Completely revised all core-course syllabi to emphasize critical thinking and real-world applications.
  • Continuously developing electives to meet student and market demands.
  • Recruiting, hiring, and managing instructors who combine professional experience with academic accomplishments.
  • Serving on the admissions committee to review over 1,000 applicants per year.

Interim Co-Director, M.S. in Digital Media Management Program (2021-2022)

  • Jointly directed launch of online STEM program for current and aspiring digital media executives.
  • Oversaw committees for faculty hiring, student recruitment, and course development.

Entrepreneurial Communication Expert in Residence (2019-2021)

Appointed by Dean Willow Bay, this term-limited role entailed:

  • Developing and teaching a graduate course in entrepreneurial communication.
  • Establishing relationships with entrepreneurs in the Annenberg alumni community.
  • Creating and directing the USC Annenberg Agency, a student consultancy serving nonprofit organizations, including the Oxford Global Women’s Narratives Project, the USC Homelessness Initiative, and the Tiyya Foundation.

Previous Programs