University of Southern California

Aldo Palma
Exploring the Business Side of Entertainment
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Graduating Year
East Los Angeles, CA

Aldo Palma came to USC intending to major in cinema, but the breadth of skills he would obtain through a business degree led him to USC Marshall.

"Where I come from, only 50 percent graduate from high school and 6 percent from college," says the East Los Angeles native. "Education is the great equalizer. USC Marshall has the best education I've seen for setting you up to be successful."

After his first marketing class, with Rex Kovacevich -- whom he found "really inspiring and motivating" -- Mr. Palma fell in love with the subject and quickly found his niche. "One of the benefits at USC Marshall is that a lot of these people have been in their field for a long period of time. They know their industry and now they have chosen to teach about it." Another favorite course was Advertising and Promotion with Ken Wilbur, who introduced him to the concept of brand strategy. "He told us 'This class is going to teach you to be creative.'"

He plans to combine his interest in cinema with his USC Marshall education by working in marketing at a studio. "Entertainment has such a large reach. It's the ultimate product." He's especially interested in promoting Latino or minority films to a mass audience. "There are some really great movies out there but nobody ever knows about them, or they don't get that big marketing budget behind them," says Mr. Palma, who served as president of the Latino Business Student Association at USC.

He also has a passion for finance and investing and wants to help rebuild his community, following the example of Magic Johnson and Oscar de la Hoya. "They've both been really successful, but they take that money and they reinvest it in the community they come from." Ultimately, he wants to start a charter school with his brother, who is a teacher.

While he received a number of job offers from Fortune 500 companies, none really excited him, so he has renewed his search. "I see it as a waste of my college experience if I end up doing something that I have no passion for," he says. "USC Marshall really pushes you to find yourself and your full potential. I see no limits to what I want to do."