Successful Berklee Alumni #14: Kyle Batter

Kyle Batter

Kyle 3

Listen to the conversation (approx. 42 minutes) or download it.

Graduated in 2005 with a double-major in Composition and Film Scoring.  Principal Instrument:  Electric Bass, though his true love was the piano.

Position:  (Associate) Corporate Attorney at Hueston Hennigan LLP.

Overview:  After graduation, Kyle want to L.A. where he had a successful 6-year run working in entertainment industry, working as a composer, sound editor, and similar roles.  However, this career involves short-term projects and he didn’t enjoy the constant need to look for work.  Finding himself married and a father, he wanted a career which was more stable would provide better long-term security.  Being a lawyer met his criteria, so he took a LSAT-prep course and got into USC Gould Law School.  He was in the top 10% of his class in that first year, so got job offers from two law firms–it’s common for top law students to get job offers when they still have two years of law school remaining!  He chose to work at Irell and Manella after graduation, as they had a good work-life balance.  After less than a year a year, two senior partners, Hueston and Hennigan, left to form their own company, and  took 40 others (about 1/6 of the firm), including Kyle, with them.

You can view Kyle’s LinkedIn profile here.

Choice Quotes: “Berklee helped create me as a person, which contributed to my future success.  Being there and loving it and digging in deeply to everything I was doing all the time instilled in me a certain diligence and responsibility which, carried over to my work today.”

“The misunderstanding about attorneys is that we spend all our time in court.  Probably 5% of our time is spent in court.  The other 95% is spent in the office researching, writing, and communicating.”

“If you’re ready to move on from the music industry, search within yourself–what other areas are you interested in?  Remember you can get a degree in anything and still be very active in music.  It’s not like any part of that experience will ever go away.”


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Successful Berklee Alumni #13: Michael Hazani

Michael Hazani

Michael Hazani 3

Listen to the interview (around 90 minutes), or download it.


Graduated in 2010 with a major in Songwriting.  Principal Instrument:  Guitar

Position:  Freelance web developer.  He works primarily as a contractor for Rift Solutions.

Overview:  Michael spend four years in NYC trying to make it as a songwriter, and doing internships at a studio and a music publishing firm.  He concluded that he couldn’t make a good living in either the short or long term.  As a transition, he formed a band and did a brief tour, building their website and some 3-D interactive components to go with the music, and enjoyed that.  Michael then moved to Seattle to be with his girlfriend.   “A lot of my friends are in high tech, and I don’t hear them complaining about how hard it is to make ends meet, how it’s about who you know when looking for work. (etc)”  So in late 2014 he decided to learn website programming, taking many free online courses and getting an almost-free “nanodegree” from Udacyty.  Within two weeks of getting his degree, Rift Solutions found his profile online and contacted him with work, as they needed something in his niche field done, and as he had done good work the amount of work & responsibility he is given has increased.

You can view his LinkedIn profile here.

Choice quotes:  “That’s a big difference from the music industry.  There’s so much thirst for programmers and web developers sot you get reached out to a lot.  A lot moe than Tech is just a whole other paradigm of supply and demand.”

” “One advantage of (independent contracting) is I can be anywhere. I recently toured to play music and made good money on the tour by doing my website work.”


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Successful Berklee Alumni #12: Adam Baliban

Adam Baliban


Listen to the interview (approx. 38 minutes) or download it.

Graduated in 2005, with a major in Music Business.  Primary Instrument:  Drums.

Position:   Senior Digital Marketing Strategist at Cooper Katz.  Adam works for this Public Relations firm to build the social media side of their business.

Overview:  After graduation, Adam moved to New York City, where he worked as a temp for two years, including at multiple music labels, but nothing led to a permanent job.  Eventually he used craigslist or a similar service to find a job at a music-marketing startup, where he worked for long hours & low pay, focusing on social media (MySpace at the time), for about 18 months until that company failed.  From there, Adam decided that he liked marketing and social media, but he wasn’t wedded to music, so he sought non-music jobs doing that.  He worked for the Kaplan Thayer Group and Nautica, as well as freelance, before getting his current job.

You can see his LinkedIn profile here.

Choice Quotes:  “Back in the early days of social media, there were no rules–all you knew was it had to be cool.  Berklee gave me a good sense of what’s good vs. what’s ‘luck of the draw.'”

“If you got into advertising you can’t expect to be at one company for a long time and get paid what you deserve.  You have to bounce around.  Yeah it sucks, but you will get paid much more.”

“Accept the fact that the first couple of years are going to be a bitch–that’s just part of the game.  You won’t have lots of contacts ready to hook you up with a job.  But you’ll come out of it OK and you’ll be better off for it.”

“Network as much as you can–learn to ‘perform’ and promote yourself in the business world like you promoted your band.”

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