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.”


Mark as a Berklee student, with Bruce Springsteen’s drummer/Conan O’Brien’s house band lead Max Weinberg.  “The biggest thing I got out of Berklee was the habit and ability to self-analyze and figure out how to improve.  Even if I played a piece well, professors encouraged me to figure out exactly how did I play it well, so that I’d know what to do in the future”

“The whole exercise of sitting in a practice room for 6 hours until you get a piece 100% right–that methodology is huge in terms of applications to business.”


Mark enjoys auto-racing in his spare time.  (One reason he wanted a well-paying day job.)  Though that’s a very competitive sport, Mark cautions folks “Don’t compare yourself to others too much–you’ll either fall into panic, or you won’t set the bar high enough relative to what you could reach.  Always do the very best that YOU can. ”






Mark with his wife.  “You won’t be the best in day 1 of your job, but keep applying yourself and you can get there.  It’s nice to feel like you’ve made it.  Next year I’ll be 31 and will be in the place I always wanted in life.”










See the full index of Successful Berklee Grads.