Kiaran Stapleton has been jailed for a minimum of 30 years for the Boxing Day murder of Indian student Anuj Bidve.
Stapleton, 21, who referred to himself as "Psycho", was found guilty of murdering the 23-year old student by shooting him at point-blank range in the Ordsall area of Salford.
Stapleton had previously pleaded guilty to manslaughter on the grounds of diminished responsibility, but the plea was not accepted by a jury at Manchester crown court.
Bidve was shot in the head at close range by Stapleton as the student walked with friends towards Manchester city centre for the Boxing Day sales.
Stapleton had walked up to Bidve and asked him for the time before pulling out a gun and firing a single bullet.
Over the four-week trial, the court heard how Stapleton targeted Bidve because he had "the biggest head", and said the victim "should have got a taxi" instead of walking through Ordsall.
Mr Justice King said of the 30-year minimum sentence: "Only then will you be released if you are deemed not to be a risk to the public.
"In my judgment, this was no impulsive act on your part. It was a piece of cold-blooded controlled aggression.
"You have behaved in a way demonstrating that you are positively boastful about having killed Mr Bidve,"
Stapleton showed no emotion as sentence was passed. He regularly grinned throughout the trial.
In the days after the murder, Stapleton visited a local tattoo parlour to get a "teardrop" - a tattoo worn by some murderers to indicate that they have killed someone.
After the guilty verdict was announced, the father victim's father, Subhash Bidve, said: "Our son was the kindest and most genuine person on this earth.
"He knew the difference between right and wrong and lived his life the right way. Kiaran Stapleton is the complete opposite, yet he is the one who is still alive and our son is dead."
He also added Stapleton had "openly laughed at the memory of our son" and believed Stapleton should never be released from prison.
Nazir Afzal, prosecuting, said: "Anuj Bidve's murder was a terrible crime. It is all the more tragic because it was completely senseless.
"Kiaran Stapleton shot Anuj, an innocent and defenceless man, at close range without warning or provocation.
"It was a cowardly murder, and [Stapleton's] reaction afterwards in trying to cover his tracks, hide from police and evade justice was also cowardly.
"The prosecution case has always been that Kiaran Stapleton knew exactly what he was doing at the time of the shooting and in the days afterwards. All the evidence supported that, and for that reason we refused to accept his plea to manslaughter and pursued a trial for murder.
Det Cheif Supt Mary Doyle , who led the investigation, said: "There was absolutely nothing remarkable about Stapleton's history and nothing that would ever have suggested he would commit such a cold-blooded random killing.
"There is no evidence that Anuj was targeted because of his race. No racist comments were made and there appears to be no motivation other than tragically that Anuj and his friends were in the wrong place at the wrong time.
"He had a gun in his pocket and he used it on the first person he came across. This was a cold-blooded, motiveless killing for which he has shown no remorse and only Stapleton knows why he committed such an horrific act that night."