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Student Stories

Senior Spotlight: Vincent An '18

"Being at the heart of an early stage startup has always been the goal, from the moment I was accepted into the Academy." Whether abroad in China or at USC, Academy senior Vincent An, stays close to his source of inspiration – friends. Here, Vincent shares some thoughts on learning from those around you...


What project are you working on right now?

I’ve been super excited working on an augmented reality startup, Mira Reality, with a few Academy classmates. Recently I’ve been working to bridge the gap between our technology and the Chinese market – leading strategy and business development initiatives for Chinese-facing investors and strategic partners.

Being at the heart of an early stage startup has always been the goal, from the moment I was accepted into the Academy. So, when a couple of my talented peers decided to build a startup solving a very difficult problem in augmented reality, I immediately gravitated towards the idea.

Is there a leader or mentor who inspires you?
You are a reflection of your closest friends, so I’m constantly trying to learn from all my closest friends.

Is there an inspirational quote you live by?
“Happiness is a function of expectations.” – Jalen & Jacoby

Tell us a bit about your journey to the Academy. What were you looking for in an undergraduate program?
While applying to university, I knew I was creatively inclined and wanted to pursue something that allowed me to channel that energy. At the same time, I also knew I needed more tangible, practical, and technical skills. I was actually looking into a bunch of architecture programs at the time before my USC interviewer emailed me out of the blue and told me that USC was launching the Iovine and Young Academy. Upon reading the premise of the program, I immediately knew that this was exactly what I was looking for.

What advice would you give to a freshmen?
Make some older friends. Specifically, I’m talking about juniors and seniors who you can look at and just think “Dang, if I were in his or her shoes in a few years… I’d be so set.” Ask them questions, figure out what makes them tick, and take notes on which paths have driven them toward success. 

Describe one thing most people don’t know about you? 
I will clean you out in a game of poker.

What the one thing your parents taught you that you’d like to share?
There’s no elixir for regret – so seek out and capitalize on any and all opportunities, especially when you’re young!

Fun Facts

What are the essential things you always keep in your backpack?
Notebook & pens, earphones, portable charger, and gum.

Favorite app or website?
WeChat.

Favorite class at USC and why?
Innovator’s Forum/Roundtable was an insane experience for me. As a freshman still getting a feel for university, I was stunned by the quality and prominence of our bi-weekly guest speakers. There’s nothing quite like being given a random prompt from an industry titan and being forced to rapidly ideate and execute prompts within weeks. Being able to pitch to them and receive feedback is just the cherry on top.

Favorite way to de-stress:
Probably sleep.

Guilty pleasure?
I spend far too much time on fantasy basketball. 

Thank you Vincent!