University of Southern California

Tony Shin
Title
Entertaining Opportunities
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Graduating Year
2011
Undergrad Institution
Brandeis University
Hometown
Boston, Massachusetts

Passion for your product

Tony Shin came to USC Marshall to build upon his 10 years as a retail entrepreneur and shift his career to the entertainment industry. He originally planned to write the great American novel, but, he says, “eventually I had to pay the bills.”

He succeeded in retail, launching the Boston-based Rainbow Hill Corporation, which still sells licensed sports apparel on the city’s fashionable Newbury Street.

But Tony realized he needed to take his entrepreneurial endeavors further. “Retail is a really challenging industry,” he says. “So I decided to take what I’ve learned in business, augment my own experience with a Marshall MBA, and apply it toward an industry where I really had a passion for the product.”

Telling stories

Tony may no longer want to be a novelist, but storytelling remains his true passion. Ultimately he wants to pursue something entrepreneurial within the industry. “At heart, I’m an entrepreneur. My desire to put my own stamp on things is eventually going to emerge again,” he says. “But in the meantime, I’m looking to learn the business, experience the studio system culture and build contacts.”

Through USC Marshall, Tony had the opportunity to intern at both Disney, in diversity and talent management, and at NBC Universal, with the television distribution group. “I got to work on formulating the strategy for marketing with the Olympics,” he says. “I learned a ton about not only the entertainment industry, but also marketing and marketing strategy.”

His primary interest is in series television. “Viewers form emotional connections with the characters in these shows,” he observes. “You get invested in the story lines, and they mean something to you.”

In addition to appreciating the internship opportunities, Tony credits Marshall with building his understanding of the business side of entertainment—especially revenues and marketing. “A lot of great professors and peers who are very passionate about the entertainment industry shared their knowledge with me,” he says. The interdisciplinary nature of USC meant Tony also benefited from classes through the School of Cinematic Arts.

Camaraderie with faculty

While he had thoroughly researched MBA programs before enrolling in Marshall, Tony still found himself a bit surprised by just how accessible Marshall’s faculty turned out to be—as well as by the camaraderie he and his classmates were able to build with their professors.

“It’s a very different feeling than when you’re an undergrad,” he says, “where there’s a level of authority. Here it’s more a relationship of cooperation. You know, sort of sharing information back and forth rather than being lectured to or taught to.”

Tony formed a particularly strong relationship with clinical management communication professor Robert McCann, with whom he plans to write a book next year. “It’s about presenting, speaking in public, just sort of building relationships as a professional,” Tony says of the project.

His core marketing professor, Marshall Assistant Dean Diane Badame, also stood out, he says. “Her passion and enthusiasm are unparalleled. She’s tireless in her work ethic—always accessible to her students. You get emails from her at three or four in the morning.”

Challenge 4 Charity

Tony and his fellow MBA students helped others through Challenge 4 Charity (C4C). Tony co-chaired USC Marshall’s chapter of C4C, which is affiliated with eight other West Coast MBA schools. “We compete every year on the basis of volunteer hours and dollars raised,” he explains. During his year at the helm, the Marshall chapter won, and Tony is especially proud of the achievement on behalf of charitable clauses.