Later, he graduated from the Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, California with a major in illustration. He also studied graphic design quite heavily, resulting in him getting a job as a graphic designer straight out of college. According to him, the most poignant moment in his life so far has been getting his diploma. On a side note, Mike had to do his term eight final exams the same weekend that then-unsigned Linkin Park had to do a showcase for six major record labels. With his experience as a graphic artist, he ended up designing the street soldier figure on the Hybrid Theory album cover. As well, he designed the artwork/logo for Styles of Beyond's debut album, 2000 Fold.
Mike is half-Japanese, and is a distant relative of famed Russian compser Tchaikovsky. He was raised in a "really, really, liberally Protestant church," (as according to Shinoda himself) but it is unknown whether or not he still practices his religion. He wears contacts, and loves Japanese food. His musical tastes vary widely, from Tool to Dido. On May 10, 2003, he married Anna Lovejoy (now Anna Shinoda).
After his first concert experience, Mike was inspired to become a musician. The concert was a Killer B's show which included Anthrax and Public Enemy. He took piano lessons for ten years, beginning with classical, but later moving to jazz and then hip-hop. From there began his love of emceeing. In 7th grade, Mike met Brad Delson, the future guitarist for Linkin Park. Sometime near the end of high school, inspiration hit and they joined with Rob Bourdon and started a band called Xero, whose style was rather different from the Linkin Park we know today.