Successful Berklee Alumni #3: Michael Wright

Third in a biweekly series of interviews with Berklee graduates who have successful careers not involving music.

Michael Wright

Michael Wright

 

Listen to the interview (approx. 56 min.) or download it.

 

*UPDATE* March 2018:  In late 2016 Michael was hired as a regional sales manager for Kainos, a large digital tech firm.  In 2017 Michael started an online MBA program at the University of Liverpool; he expects to graduate in 2019.

 

Graduated in 2008 with a major in Music Business (Management track).  Principal instrument: drums.

PositionSalesperson, working for Micro Focus, (a.k.a. Borland Software) a large multinational corporation that provides many computer software products used by businesses.

Overview:  Michael has had a varied career, working as an audio/visual “technical supervisor” (a.k.a. “the sound guy”) at a Marriott hotel, being a counselor at both camps and a college, touring with the Christian rock band while handling their merch.  After marrying a woman from Northern Ireland and moving there, he founded his own music school, Stateside Drum Studios, where he still works on weekends.   Michael applied to his current position via an agency and went to a high-pressure 3-day “camp,” where he was among the 6 out of 45 “campers” who was offered a job.  Another three months of (paid) intensive training and his software sales career with Microfocus started.

You can view his LinkedIn profile here.  Michael asks that if anyone wants to connect with him that they mention me and Berklee in the “connect” message, as he doesn’t like to just connect with random people.  (In general, introducing yourself to someone who doesn’t know you is good form.)

 

Choice quotes:  “As a musician at Berklee, you’re surrounded by and have to work with a very diverse group of people.  You listen to and approach things differently, such as when you’re in an ensemble and are hearing the other musicians and are able to pick up whether we’re going to repeat a section or whether we’re going to drop the dynamics.  You take that same sort of understanding and ‘unspoken language’ into the business world.”

“I found I can be just as much myself in the corporate world as I was in the music world, and still be able to have the fun I had in the music world, and just blend the two together.”

 

 

 

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Successful Berklee Alumni #2: Prayre Finley

Prayre Finley

 

Prayre Current Headshot

Listen to the interview (approx 1 hr, 7 min) or download it.

 

Graduated in 2013 with a major in Music Business.  Principal instrument:  voice.

Positions:  Co-runs the family business, ELF’s Cakery, substitute teacher in local high schools, private academic tutor (mostly math) and music instructor (voice & piano).  Prayre also does freelance design work (resumes, websites), and still gigs with corporate/wedding bands and does original music.

Overview:  Prayre moved home (Atlanta, GA) after graduation.  While at Berklee, all of her business-related projects used her family business, and were implemented.  She works there part time.  For over six months she worked at a bank, but didn’t like it.  She had wanted to teach, but was rejected when she applied to work as a substitute teacher in the summer of 2013.  One year later a regular customer of ELF’s Cakery who worked as a substitute teacher gave her advice on how to apply and make herself a desirable candidate (what her resume should look like, etc.) and put in the good  word for her.  She was accepted, and started substitute teaching in the fall of 2014.  Substitute teaching doesn’t pay great, but the hours are flexible, and substitute teaching gets her many (well-paying) private students.  She hopes to open her own school one day!

 

You can view her LinkedIn profile here.

Choice quotes:  “The business part of the (Berklee) degree has helped me be a better performer, because I understand more about the business so I know how to approach situations.  I know how to keep up with people.  I know the importance of building that brand and how to market yourself and your image.”

“It will be tough, but there are things out there that you can find to do that will still fulfill your financial obligations while  allowing you to pursue your passion in music as well.  Don’t have unrealistic expectations.  Give yourself time and it’s OK to stay at home until you figure it out.  Had I tried to just completely go out on my own from the beginning, I might have had to stay at the bank and been completely unhappy.”

 

 

 

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Successful Berklee Alumni #1: Casey Kidd

First in a biweekly series of interviews with Berklee graduates who have successful careers not involving music.

Casey Kidd

 

Casey Kidd Professional Photo

Listen to the interview (approx. 26 minutes) or download it.

 

 

Graduated in 2012 with a major in CWP (Contemporary Writing & Production).

PositionData Analyst at The Retail Coach.  Casey uses statistics to predict which business will succeed in a given municipality.

Update August 2016 (1 year after the interview):  Casey left his job at The Retail Coach to start his own company in the same field, NaviRetail.

Overview:  Casey enjoyed computers both before and during Berklee.  He got particularly good experience while in a work-study job at Berklee (laying out Fusion Magazine), learning software that helped him get a position at his company soon after graduating.  He did not know anyone at this relatively small company near where he was living, but saw their newspaper ad, applied, and got the job.

You can see his LinkedIn profile here.

Choice quote:  “Too many people (graduates from both Berklee and other colleges) have no idea how a business works.  Everyone at Berklee should have to take a couple of business classes.”

 

See the full index of Successful Berklee Grads.

 

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