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From Minor to Master's: The Iovine and Young Academy's minor program carves a new path for business student

For USC Marshall alumni and now Academy master's student Azin Behbahani, business is not just about sales or strategy – it also requires a creative touch. That’s why when she learned about a slate of new, innovative minors announced by the neighboring USC Iovine and Young Academy during her junior year, Azin seized the opportunity to add creativity to her undergraduate experience. The Product Design minor has led Behbahani on the path to joining the inaugural cohort of students in the Academy’s new Master of Science in Product Innovation.

“I was learning so much through my product design minor classes,” said Behbahani. “I truly enjoy creative problem solving and making things, and I wanted to continue gaining hands-on experience, build more sophisticated prototypes and products, and advance my skill set.”

A digital blackboard is used by MSPRIN students during this time of remote learning to iterate on designs.

Now halfway through her first year as a Master’s student, Behbahani is deepening her understanding of design strategy, product development, product marketing in addition to building greater expertise in foundational skills such as drawing and design, 3D modeling, and developing iterative prototypes.

Equally important, Behbahani has found a new home and family at the Academy that compliments her creative drive and career ambitions. “The environment is motivating,” says Behbahani. “It’s exciting to be a part of and played a big part in making my minor experience memorable.” A core part of that community is the faculty, who Behbahani says she has been a fan of since her days in the Product Design minor.

The Iovine and Young Academy Creator Studio

“The professors have a great deal of real-world experience that they bring to the classroom,” says Behbahani. “They are so passionate about the respective subject matters they teach. They made time both inside and outside the classroom to help students succeed in creating their best work.”

Grant Delgatty, Chair of Product Innovation and professor of design in the undergraduate and MSPRIN programs.

And it’s not just the faculty that she’s learning from either. Surrounded by gifted peers, Behbahani is making connections with colleagues who have diverse academic and professional experiences that add invaluable depth to the curriculum. From engineering to healthcare, marketing to design, the MSPRIN cohort is collectively tailored to empower each student.

“Everyone comes from different backgrounds and thus brings a unique perspective,” says Behbahani. “We encourage each other to complete our best work, and I liked seeing what my peers were creating and both giving and receiving their input and feedback on projects.”

The connections Behbahani makes at the Academy are not only useful for her current projects, but will serve her well as she looks towards building a career in the tech or entertainment industry.

“The multidisciplinary nature of the program allows me to effectively work with different departments within a company, such as design, tech, engineering, and marketing,” says Behbahani. As she continues to work towards completing her degree, Behbahani is determined to get the most out of her educational experience at the Academy.

“I want to continue learning, making, building, growing, collaborating and so much more— IYA is a fantastic place for all that.”

The list of new minors at the Academy is only growing. To see the full listing and to learn more about the cross-disciplinary programs, click here.

For more information on the progressive Master of Science in Product Innovation, click here.