Successful Berklee Alumni #31: Priya Prins

Priya Prins


Listen to the interview (approx. 49 min.) or download it.


Graduated in 2008 with a degree in Music Production and Engineering.  Principal Instrument:  Voice.

Position:  Production Assistant for the Costume Designer at Marvel Studios.   Priya deals with “digital assets”  — computer images of what the costume will look like.  Priya does admin/communications-work to get the right custom materials for the costumes.  And fetches lunches and does whatever the lead costumer asks her to do.  Priya works in (non-union) contract-based positions, so switches exact job descriptions and even employers on a semi-regular basis.

Priya also has a side job as an Interior Designer (self-employed).


Overview:  After graduation, Priya moved to L.A. and worked as a singer for Interscope Records, working some side jobs (dog-walker, personal assistant) to make ends meet.  By 2012, she was unhappy with her situation–the odd hours, the difficulty getting paid–and decided to switch careers while staying in L.A. and continuing to work.  After exploring options, she enrolled at FIDMFashion Institute of Design and Merchandising ) to get her Associates Degree (AA) in Visual Communications.  She did several interesting internships during her year-long program, discovering what she did and did not like to do.  Just after graduating in 2015, Priya did the flowers from a friend’s wedding, and a costume designer, a wedding guest, was impressed.  She contacted Priya several days later and offered Priya her first production assistant job!  Hard, high quality work there has led to other opportunities in the industry.

You can see Priya’s LinkedIn profile here.


Choice Quotes:  “I like being on my toes and how different each day is from the previous.  I like making things and watching these costumes being built is really exciting!”

“Most classmates at FIDM were 17 or 18, and I was there as a 27-year-old. At first I was embarrassed, but I actually found it to be a huge asset, because I had life experience and to be a successful artist you have to really know yourself–something a lot of younger folks have trouble with.”

“Whatever you’re doing, work really hard and do an amazing job.  You never know who’s watching!  Show people you can pay attention to the little things and they’ll trust you not to mess up big things.”

“If you’re unhappy, you need to change things–they’re not going to change on their own!   Take every opportunity & side job you can.”



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Successful Berklee Alumni #30: Clay Southworth

Clay Southworth

Clayton Southworth

Listen to the interview (approx. 49 min.) or download it.


Graduated in 2008 with a major in Music Business.  Principal Instrument:  Bass Guitar

Positions:  #1: Real Estate Agent at Willow Bend Real Estate, representing a vacation home community on Cape Cod (Massachusetts).
#2:  Entrepreneur/owner of Southworth Home Management.  Clay watches and maintains empty homes during the off season, and oversees renovations.
“On Cape Cod, the real estate business is busiest during the summer, and the property management is busiest during the winter, so between the two it’s a full time year-round thing.”


Overview:  Partway through Berklee, Clay decided that a music career wasn’t for him.  After graduating and spending most of a year in Australia, Clay returned to the United States.  A family connection (Clay’s father is a real estate developer.) got him a job selling real estate in New Hampshire, but the market was terrible and business was slow.  Clay moved to Bermuda, where he is originally from, and another connection got him a job in operations at a hotel there.  Clay worked hard for 3 years, spending little and saving a lot.  He wanted to get back to Cape Cod and into the second-home real estate business, so when a job opened up at Willow Bend Country Club, he took it–even though it was just working in the warehouse.  He started setting up his business.   8 months later an agent in their real estate agent went on pregnancy leave and he was the natural choice to fill in, and growing business allowed him to keep his job.

You can see his LinkedIn profile here.

Choice Quotes:  “Whether you’re selling a home or your management company, you have to know your product from every angle.  The more you can prove you know what you’re talking about, the more people will pay you for your services.”

“I enjoy doing something that fits my aptitudes.  I like talking to people, socializing, being on my feet & on the move, dealing with new things.  The money is pretty good too.”

“Berklee helped teach me to be creative, which helped me shape-shift my way through the business world.  Pam Kerensky’s web design class was really helpful., as was the Business Startups class.”


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Successful Berklee Alumni #29: Doug Guttenberg

Doug Guttenberg



Listen to the interview (approx. 39 minutes) or download it.


Graduated in 2009 with a major in Music Business.  Principal Instrument:  Bass Guitar.

Position:  Production Manager at TheLab., a multifaceted advertising agency which does advertising campaigns, images, and websites for clients.  Doug manages 9 people who handle the website production end of the business.

Overview:  Graduating in the middle of the awful 2009 recession, Doug had no job opportunities, but he was in the mailing list of Birthright Israel, where he found out about a very affordable 10-month Masters degree program administered by NYU but set in Tel Aviv, Israel.  10 months of studying, and successful gigging, in Tel Aviv, Doug got his degree.  He and his girlfriend (now wife) moved back to New York in 2010 and looked for jobs.  He didn’t have much luck sending out resumes, but a good high school friend worked for TAG Worldwide, another advertising agency, and personally introduced him to the president of the company, which led to a job doing photo production for advertising.  In 2014, after 3.5 years, TAG was acquired by another company and Doug felt undervalued, so he pursued new opportunties.  The president of TheLab had contacted him on LinkedIn, and Doug wrote him back, which led rapidly to an interview and a job in the web production department.  Hard work led to his promotion to manager, Doug’s current job, after two years.

You can see Doug’s LinkedIn profile here.

Choice Quotes:  “As a manager, I have the ability to see what everyone’s doing, but I try not to micromanage, as I’ve been on the other side of that.  I mostly deal with issues, problems, and questions that come up.  I also help with internal strategy and with getting new clients.”

“When looking for a job, talk to the people you know.  It really is about who you know what gets your foot in the door.  An organization puts up a posting and gets SO many hits.  Use your connections the best you can! If you really like how a job works, follow up with it–it’s easy just to get lost in the shuffle. Once your foot is in the door, you’ve got to work hard and do the absolute best you can.”

‘ The first thing I learned was print production.  There was a ton of terminology and various codes I had to master!  I asked a lot of questions and learned everything about that.  Learning is a lot of what gets me up in the morning–it’s awesome!  These days I’m learning more about web programming, and about being a manager.”


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Successful Berklee Alumni #28: Jonas Bergmann-Bjornsson

Jonas Bergmann-Bjornsson

Jonas 4

Listen to the interview (Approx. 36 min.) or download it.

Graduated in 2013 with a major in Film Scoring.  (Jonas also was President of Berklee’s Music Business Club.)  Principal Instrument:  Guitar

Position:  Executive Director of Gudrun Corp, the American branch of the Iceland-based Gudrun Publishing Group.  A family business with roughly twenty non-family employees, Gudrun produces books, websites, apps related to Vikings, as well as resources for tourists in Iceland.

Overview:  Jonas grew up with the business being part of his family life.  He start to work there when he was 11.  For a year before he came to Berklee, Jonas worked in London as a salesperson for the business.  After Berklee Jonas moved to New York and hoped to make a career composing, but it was taking too long to get established and after six months he was out of money, so he moved back to Iceland and joined back up with the family business, helping with marketing, then with product development.  Jonas moved back to the United States in 2015 in order to be with his now-wife, working remotely and setting up the American branch of Gudrun.

You can see Jonas’s LinkedIn Profile here.

Choice Quotes:  “I really enjoy the entrepreneurial aspects of my job.  A lot of effort goes into figuring out what else can we do.  I’m developing apps.  We’ll be coming up with websites.  I come up with new ideas; we do feasibility studies.  If it looks good we put it into production.  It’s very exciting to see an idea developed into a product.”

“The family business a lot more flexible than a standard job.  I don’t have to work exactly 9-5, but I’m thinking about it on weekends, evenings, etc.  I’m a co-owner, so I know that I’m going to do well if the company does well.”

“Don’t get hung up too much about the idea of what you wanted to be.  Do a lot of stuff–throw 10 things on the wall and one will stick.  That said, be very careful of ‘intern mills’ — internships which don’t pay anything.  Those can be a trap if you’re not careful.”


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