Successful Berklee Alumni #10: Dan Thompson

Dan Thompson

Dan Thompson

(Near the end of the interview, we got cut off, so it’s in 2 parts.)  Download part 1 and part 2.

Graduated in 2010 with a major in Music Business (entrepreneur track).  Principal instrument:  guitar.

Position:  Senior data analyst at Nexant.   Dan designs, helps implements, and writes software code to analyze experiments to help utilities reduce energy usage by customers.

Overview:  Even before he graduated Berklee, Dan knew he was interested in policy.  He was living in New York, splitting his time between his Music Business internship doing publicity and political volunteering.  His internship  got him the experience to get a paid internship at Demos, doing communications.  That led to a paid half-time job with the same place 6 months later, while the other half of the time he helped with a socially-responsible investment fund.  However, Dan realized that to have a larger impact and advance his career he needed more technical knowledge.  Dan went to UC-Berkeley to get a Masters in Public Policy, and graduated in May, 2014.  While there, he found he really enjoyed statistics, so sought a job in that direction, getting his current position after reaching out to a alumni from his graduate program who worked at Nexant.

Choice quotes:  “Berklee’s environment honed my interest in creative problem solving.  I come at it from a more curious place.  It’s something I enjoy.   I go home and read statistics textbooks the way some guitarists go home & shred in the evening.  Most folks don’t learn the habits of treating work as a 24/7 lifestyle, but a musician can understand.”

Reach out to alumni!!!  It can feel like ‘Why would someone want to help me?  I’m just an unknown 22 year old.’   But the truth is often all it takes is you putting yourself out there.  Go understand what are people doing that have your interest and skill set. The first 3, 4, 5 people it may not go well as you don’t know what to say, but as you talk to more people you’ll be introduced to others, you’ll have learned the language..and you’ll be better prepared to impress people and land a job.”


See the full index of successful Berklee alumni.