Last May, Beats By Dre co-founders Dr. Dre and Jimmy Iovine announced their latest business venture in the academic circuit. The music icons funded a $70 million program to the University of Southern California “to create a degree that blends business, marketing, product development, design and liberal arts.” A student currently enrolled in the program, officially known as USC Jimmy Iovine and Andre Young Academy for the Arts, Technology and the Business of Innovation, recently spoke with HYPETRAK about the beneficial lessons that are unlike anything taught in any other provided course.

Check out what kind things to expect in the four-year bachelor's degree program below:

"As a USC freshman in the inaugural class, I’m stoked to share my experience at the Iovine Young Academy because of how Jimmy Iovine and Dr. Dre are completely disrupting the traditional model of college education in the best way possible. Over the next three years, the thirty-one of us will go through a rigorous multidisciplinary program learning visual design, computer programming, audio production, communications, and business.

A typical day in my academic life this first semester consists of analyzing the practices of innovative companies, learning my way around Adobe After Effects, building a 3D geometric cardboard model using Adobe Illustrator and a laser cutter, and working on a PowerPoint slide deck for a potential product. 

During our senior year, we will partake in minimal coursework and are encouraged to put our freshly learned skills into action by beginning to build revolutionary products and launch companies. In an interview with New York Times last year, Iovine said, “If the next start-up that becomes Facebook happens to be one of our kids, that’s what we are looking for.”

We see Jimmy and Dre, as we affectionately like to call them, from time to time. In late August, we went on a “field trip” to Jimmy’s home for a backyard BBQ where we met with him, Dr. Dre, will.i.am, and others. Two weeks ago, Jimmy visited our on-campus workspace and checked out some of the class projects we’ve been working on. In addition, for one of our classes titled “Innovator’s Roundtable,” we present products and solutions to people like Ian Rogers, CEO of Beats Music, and Rodney Mullen, widely known as the godfather of skateboarding.

However, being a student at the Academy has perks beyond just opportunities to interact with accomplished individuals. We have access to top-of-the-line 3D printers, laser cutters, industry-grade software, and a comprehensive fabrication workshop – everything we could possibly ask for.

Despite all of this, I believe without a doubt that the best part of the Academy is the students. The school has done an excellent job at attracting a solid group of brilliant yet highly genuine, down-to-earth kids for the first class, and it truly is an honor to work with them everyday and join them on this journey. While each and every one of my classmates is amazing in their own distinct ways, we are all connected by a simple desire to build cool stuff that will make the world a better place.

If you still have college application season down the road and feel that you’re creative, entrepreneurial, and tend to “think outside the box,” the Iovine Young Academy just might be a good fit for you."

— Arjun Metha
Class of 2018

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