Junior Michael Pinto, a Finance major, is a young business owner and avid FIFA player hailing from West Chester, PA. With his impressive track record of success and a comedic personality, Michael has established a presence for himself on campus through his genuine desire for success and excellence. Although he lives an active lifestyle and keeps extremely busy, we managed to catch up to Michael and ask him ...
What did you do last summer?
Last summer I ran and operated my own company, Home Court Advantage, LLC, with my brother. We basically did some groundwork for the company and really built it up to the level it is today.
What’s the story behind the founding of this company, Home Court Advantage?
My brother actually came up with the business concept for Home Court Advantage before it was an established company. He was super frustrated with the fact that we didn’t have a basketball court on our driveway, so he looked online to try and find companies that would create a court for us. However, he couldn’t find anyone who installed courts like the one he had envisioned. Instead, he bought an online kit and painted the court on the driveway himself. One of my neighbors approached him about it and asked if he would be willing to create a court for his driveway—which then grew into more neighbors asking, then people outside our neighborhood asking, and so on. It was then that he realized that this could be a legitimate business, and approached my dad and I about it. I decided to take a position on in the company full-time during the summer. I quickly realized that the old method of court installation—tape—was not cost-effective or precise, so I created our own stencil through a manufacturing deal with the father of a friend of mine. Once our stencil was brought to life, it dropped our costs by 40%, cut down the time of installation significantly, and freed up space to hire more employees. It really legitimized the business. Then, we found out that people down on the Jersey Shore were talking about our company, so it motivated us to get a LLC and a registered trademark for our name, Home Court Advantage. Our client base really picked up after that, especially compared to the previous summer.
How did you discover your entrepreneurial abilities and interests?
I guess you can say it’s in my genes! My dad is super entrepreneurial—he started up his own company in San Diego, California, then sold it and moved to Pennsylvania where he started a whole new business. My brother and I were always interested in making our own money when we were younger, whether that was through a snow shoveling business or setting up a lemonade stand. My entrepreneurial side was even more fostered by my high school, as it was a great place for networking and connections. The connections allowed us to have a step forward in our ventures and furthered my spirit as an entrepreneur.
What do you want to do when you graduate?
When I graduate, I hope to enter into the financial field—hopefully somewhere in the private equity market or asset management.
That’s awesome. How do you plan to reach your future goals in the financial field?
I’m planning to accumulate enough wealth or capital over the course of the five years to finally be able to look into some start-up businesses—I really want to be on the “ground floor” [of a new business] and assist in the beginning stages of the start-up by utilizing my prior experience in business and finance.
How have your dreams and goals changed through your life?
Well, I first wanted to be an astronaut until I realized I was too short! Then, I was really interested in pursuing something in business because my family is heavily involved in that field. I always thought that I was going to run my own company—and perhaps that is further down the line—however I’ve come to realize that the financial field is where my interests truly lie. I figure that, in order to get to the level of business ownership that I would like, I have to go through the financial field first.
What’s your happiest or proudest moment?
My proudest moment ever was in third grade flag football! We were tied 20-20 with our rivals, Saint Agnes. It was our last drive of the game, and I was playing safety—I never really got in that much, but my coach put me in! They threw it on the last play, and I caught the interception. I ran it back, like, 50 yards and scored a touchdown. We beat our arch-rivals that day and it still remains the highlight of my life.
What advice have you received that has had an impact on your life?
The best advice I ever received was from my dad: “Everyone is your master in some regard.” It means that anyone can be an expert on something, or know more, than you do on a certain subject. For example, Zach [Crockett] may know more about resume building or the job market, whereas I may know more about the newest Nike sneakers.
What is special about your hometown?
West Chester, Pennsylvania, is by far the greatest town in the world! It is a great suburban area that is conveniently located 40 minutes from Philadelphia and 30 minutes from the countryside. One of the coolest places to visit is Longwood Gardens.
How has Ave impacted your life?
To be honest, I didn’t originally plan on coming to Ave. However, it has been an amazing blessing being enrolled here because this school has grounded me. My priorities wouldn’t be in the same place as they are right now if I went somewhere else—I’d be more concerned with going out the following weekend versus actually staying in and focusing on where I want to be in the next few years. Ave challenges you to become a better person now, rather than just pushing it off until after college and dealing with that issue in the professional world. Ave prepares you for when you get out of school, as it focuses on students becoming better people in the process of receiving an education. Ave has really taught me that you have to do what is necessary and for the best right now, in the moment, in order to reap the benefits in the future.
Describe your most rewarding college experience.
My most rewarding experience in college was definitely gaining some of the best friends I ever had. The relationships and friendships you gain here is definitely the most rewarding aspect of my college experience.
How do you determine or evaluate success?
I would say that success is a measure of reaching the goal that you have set yourself to hit or achieve. If you intend on a certain goal and do what it takes so that you achieve it, I would say that is what it means to be successful.
Basically, don’t be a bum haha!