Successful Berklee Alumni #80: Brian Orlando

Brian Orlando

Listen to the interview (approx 1 hr, 5 min.) or download it.


Graduated in 2009 with majors in Music Business and Performance.  Principal instrument:  guitar.


Position:  Senior Account Executive (sales) at Proofpoint, a large firm specializing in computer security.  Brian is on the “inside-sales” team, selling Proofpoints security packages to large, businesses in the northeast.  He focuses on sales to companies where there’s not yet a business relationship, doing a modest number of six-figure deals each year.


Overview:  While still a Berklee student, Brian used a family connection to get several part-time, commission-only sales jobs as way to make money.  Graduating during the economic depression on 2009, and not wanting to make a living as a performer, Brian spent 6 months looking for a jobs in the music business or other business, without luck.  Finally, he reached back out to these companies he had worked for while in college, one of which offered him a full-time sales job selling quality-control equipment to telecom companies.

Brian worked there for four and a half years, working his way up to more senior positions with better territories, etc.  But he wanted to work in software, so started looking for new opportunities.  He reached out to a friend who worked at Proofpoint, who then recommended him for a sales job there, where once again Brian has done well for himself, working his way up the ladder into better territories and accounts.


You can see Brian’s LinkedIn profile here.  Brian encourages Berklee students & alumni interested in a sales career to reach out to him.  “We need to help one another, and reach out to each other. We’re in this together.”


Choice Quotes:  “One cool thing about sales it it’s really an opportunity to interact & learn about organizations and solve problems–assuming you believe in the product.  If you don’t believe in the product, don’t sell it.”

“Sales is a meritocracy.   If you hustle or slack off, you’ll be compensated that way in the long run.  Also, sales is financially rewarding–base salaries aren’t great, but with the commissions you earn you have the potential to do very well for yourself in enterprise sales, and potentially earn money comparable to a doctor or a lawyer.”

“A good organization will empower a sales person with resources. You’ll be on a team and get support from people who will teach you technology, techniques, etc.”

“Berklee taught me that performing 90% of a song isn’t good enough, and folks will remember the other 10%. I take that same thought process into my business. I learned to be thorough, prepare well, and give it my all.”

“A lot of folks in sales started out as a BDR (Business Development Representative).  There’s a lot of turnover, so it’s pretty easy to find a job. Within a year you’ll be promoted into sales or will be burned out. It’s extremely tough work and kind of a rite of passage. But you’ll get through and you’ll see it’s a real profession. I take a lot of pride in it.”



See the full index of successful Berklee alumni.