Olin alum Koiner: Goodbye finance, hello sports media

  • October 8, 2018
  • By Guest Blogger
  • 3 minute read

As part of our ongoing partnership with MondayKarma.com, we highlight the career path insights from another Olin alumnus, Shaun Koiner. MondayKarma publishes in-depth interviews with WashU alumni to learn about and share advice as they forged their career path after graduation. Olin Blog publishes the tl;dr version and links to the full story.

Shaun Koiner
Shaun Koiner

Shaun Koiner, BSBA ’04, credits his parents for instilling a sense of perseverance and discipline in him as he pursued varied interests growing up in martial arts, sports, and music.

Though he describes his upbringing as, at various times, middle- or lower-middle class, he did well in school and was driven to try different things — including a WashU education after being raised in “the DMV” — the DC/Maryland/Virginia region of his upbringing.

Today, he’s chief product and content officer at Perform Media, the world’s leading digital sports media and content group.

CORE CURRICULUM: Addressed in every interview

ON CHOOSING WASHU OLIN BUSINESS SCHOOL: “There was someone who paid attention, took a vested interest, thought I would be a great fit for the school and actually picked up on that small talking point that I probably thought was a throwaway thing. In my acceptance packet was the newspaper, which was going above and beyond. That’s something that, with all due respect to other schools, you just don’t see at other places. I felt like some of the attitudes at other schools were ‘We’re going to get top students anyway, so you can be one of them or not be one of them,’ while WashU showed me that they wanted me to come.”

ON FINDING THE RIGHT JOB: “My involvement with (Sponsors for Educational Opportunities) is probably responsible for what I’m doing right now. I took part after my sophomore year. It was at a bank, but they had a media program. I wanted to do something completely different because I already knew what banking was like, so I ended up working at Time Magazine, which led to my interview with Sports Illustrated. The dots started connecting to get me to where I am now.”

ON GETTING THE INTERVIEW: “I remember more of my finance interviews, where I didn’t ask enough questions. I should have asked who I was going to meet with and what specific teams I would be talking to. In those interviews, you did a rotation and talked with different people and groups. I think if I had done a little bit more fact-finding I could have been more prepared overall. Of course I’m not going to know everything, but I could have been a little bit more prepared and had something to pull down.”

ELECTIVES: Freestyle responses from each interviewee

NEGOTIATING THE OFFER: “So even though I didn’t negotiate, I know now that it would not have gone up. I should have mentioned that I could take a job in finance that would pay me $13,000 more and tried to negotiate, but you learn that from experience…I think it’s a good skill to work on. I think it’s a lot easier when you have a leg to stand on and you have some other leverage, like a competing offer or if you’ve done the research on what other similar organizations are paying.”

ON DIFFERENTIATING YOURSELF: “I think you should actually go do the jobs you think you might be interested in to the extent that you can. Try to see what people do day-to-day in that job. I think that’s paramount, because what you learn in the classroom and the actual execution of it are entirely different things. Seeing a job in action and actually doing it will tell you how much you enjoy it.”

ON THOSE THANK YOU NOTES: “I took the time to email each person I had connected with, mentioning something that would have come up in the discussion that I think might have differentiated me from another candidate or conversation. I made sure to tell them that I appreciated their time, because you do get a significant amount of their time.”

Pictured above: Shaun Koiner speaking at the dedication of WashU’s ‘McLeod’s Way,’ a newly landscaped gathering place, just south of the Forsyth Underpass in memory of the late Dean James E. McLeod.

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