Successful Berklee Alumni #71: Mark Dudek

Mark Dudek

Listen to the interview (approx. 1 hr, 10 min.) or download it.


Graduated in 2007 with a major in Performance.  Principal instrument:  trumpet.


Position:  Marketing Automation Manager at Zerto.  Mark’s job combines marketing expertise with technical skills.  He crafts most early messages to customers, writes marketing and communication plans for his mid-size company, and at the same time is an expert user/administrator of the specialized software Salesforce and Marketo.


Overview:  Around halfway through Berklee, Mark realized that while he was good at music, he wasn’t “top dog,” and felt his prospects for a prosperous music career were shaky, so he started to think about what would be a good “day job.”  Around this time he got a student-job at the Berklee Admissions Office’s mailroom.  Several months after graduation, his former boss left (to go play music) and Mark–who had been in touch with the head of operations in that office, was offered his former boss’s job.  Mark worked there for 6 years, receiving two promotions and developing expertise with the Salesforce software which the admissions office was using–including writing scripts to accomplish what the standard software could not.

During his fourth through sixth year working at Berklee, Mark worked on his MBA in Marketing from Boston University, as he figured he would be better paid for more challenging, but still creative, work.  It became clear as he was finishing his MBA that there wasn’t room at Berklee to move up in his career, so Mark looked online for positions.  He got a similar position to his current job a dining management company, but decided after 1.5 years that he’d rather be somewhere else.  He put his resume online, a recruiter reached out to him.  “Within two weeks, I had three job offers.  They all paid the same, so I chose the place I would enjoy working at the most, which was Zerto.”  Zerto has more than doubled in size since Mark arrived, and he recently hired his first underling to handle more of the day-to-days tasks while he focuses on the higher-level stuff.


You can see Mark’s LinkedIn profile here.


Choice Quotes:  “One positive about my job is because I’m so close to the data and see how everything works, I get my hands on a lot of different projects.  That means I’m a lot more experienced than just an programs manager or a sales admin.  I have to cross that line and be an expert at all things.”

“I like making things work.  Everyone comes to me with requirements, and I have to think outside the box to make it happen as efficiently as possible.  It’s like being the part of the band that gives the whole band their momentum, or books the gigs–I make it possible for the band the play.  I take a lot of pride in doing that, and doing that well.”

“Even if you want to be a musician full time, think about how to support yourself.  If you have a good day job with a retirement, you’ll have a more solid foundation to support yourself.  A lot of folks say you have to fully commit or you won’t make it, and it’s not true. Look at the guy who left that job I took–he had a day job, then at age 35 he went off to tour with Avril Lavigne and has been doing great music ever since.”

“The Berklee education has helped me stand out.  I meet folks who play(ed) instruments and we instantly bond.  Pretty sure that helped me get accepted into B.U.”


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Successful Berklee Alumni #70: John Lahr

John Lahr

Listen to the interview (approx. 43 min.) or download it.


Graduated in 2016 with a major in Music Business.  Principal instrument:  bass guitar.


Position:  Director of Strategic Partnerships (Business to Business sales) at Daisy Labs, a high-tech start-up company which hosts multi-media content of professional and academic conferences.  People pay for access to the content, and Daisy Labs shares the revenue with the conference organizers.  John’s job is to reach out to conferences and set up these deals.  He’s the one salesperson at this 9-person operation, though he is well-supported.


Overview:  While at Berklee, John was heavily involved with Berklee ICE.  He wanted to work in the startup world, and while interested in venture capital, felt it good to get some regular work experience first.  After graduation, he spend four months searching for positions, interviewing, and networking.  Ironically, it was a friend–a fellow-Berklee graduate, who reached out to him.  The friend had been hired as marketing director for Daisy Labs and figures John had what it took to be successful in a sales role, including the design thinking program he’d learned at ICE–and John was hired on his friend’s word.  The first day of work, he was sat down as they explained everything he’d have to do.  John puts in over 60 hours/week, which includes research and refining his own techniques.


You can see John’s LinkedIn profile here.


Choice Quotes:  “I wanted to make sure the work I was doing was one I could learn a lot from, where I could grow as an operator.  I wanted to have some level of impact on the business, not just be ’employee n+1′.

This job has been a ride!  I’m new, and have had to lean a lot very quickly.  I had a lot of awkward phone calls early on, but I recorded them all and listened to myself to figure out how to better and over time I settled in.”

“I never thought I”d get into sales, but I enjoy working with people a lot.  Also, it’s not often they’re approached by someone saying ‘Hey how can I help you make money?’  I like being able to work with them to set up a good solution.”

“Personally, I love working with a small team at an early stage startup!  I’m completely in control of my dept. but well supported by veterans in the field.  I’m at least 10 years younger than everyone else–everyone helps me learn and get up to speed.  I love that team dynamic.  Also, I’m talking to CEOs, so am cultivating a really valuable professional network.”

“I had an amazing experience at Berklee.  It prepared me for a lot of the uncertainty that I have to face in the startup world.  Also, music already went through the digital transition–where the industry was disrupted by technology.  Everyone is looking to us for solutions on how to deal with it.  As a Berklee graduate, you have the answers–go give it to them.”



See the full index of Successful Berklee Grads.

Successful Berklee Alumni #69: Brittany Vendryes

Brittany Vendryes

Listen to the interview (Approx. 44 min.) or download it.


Graduated in 2010 with a major in Music Business.  Principal instrument:  voice.


Position:  Assistant Solicitor (attorney) for the City of Baltimore, Maryland.  Brittany represents the city in litigation, typically when the city is assessing a disputed fine or tax payment.   While it’s common for cities to “outsource” this job, she’s a municipal employee.


Overview:  While at Berklee, Brittany decided that a music career wasn’t for her, but she hoped to go into entertainment law.  While still a student, she took the LSATs and was admitted to Howard University School of Law in Washington, DC, which she went to right after graduating from Berklee.  While there, Brittany enjoyed entertainment law, but was also interested in trademarks and government work.

Brittany graduated without a job lined up, but soon a friend from law school who was clerking for a judge recommended her for another clerkship which had opened up.  Brittany took it, and that led to another clerkship which lasted two years.  However, judge clerkships pay poorly and folks aren’t expected to do it for very long, so at some point she started looking for another job.   The city of Baltimore had posted an assistant solicitor position; Brittany applied and got the job, where she has been for roughly half a year.


You can see Brittany’s LinkedIn profile here.


Choice Quotes:  “I like the law because it’s very certain and bright-lined.  You can argue correctly and get what you want. I like that there are rules. I  love words & writing.  To be able to craft something in such a way that you can stump the opponent is interesting.”

“I work with three other lawyers.  Cases get assignment to each of us, but we’re constantly in each other’s offices.  We do favors for each other, appear in court for each other, and answer each other’s quetions (Usually I’m the one asking, as I’m new.)  I enjoy the people I work with and am learning a lot.  That’s really valuable!”

“I like working for the government.  It’s less about angling to win, but more about the law and what’s right and wrong.  Plus I was familiar with it.”

“It’s very hard to be prepared for law school.  The Law School mentality is to throw you in the water and hope you figure out how to swim. It’s challenging to understand what you’re supposed to be getting out of a reading.  The second year was better as I had learned what to do and I was able to take more classes I was interested in.”

“Consider how large an investment law school is.  It’s not cheap, and if you already have student loans you’ll have a lot more.  Reach out to someone and have a good one-on-one conversation to understand what you’re getting into.”



See the full index of Successful Berklee Grads.