Successful Berklee Alumni #102: Susana Monsalve-Jones

Susana Monsalve-Jones

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

 

Graduated in 2013 with majors in Music Production & Engineering and Film Scoring.  Principal instrument:  Voice.

 

Position:  Management Consultant at Roland Berger, London (UK) office.  Roland Berger is a multinational business consulting firm with around 5,000 employees worldwide, though the London Office has roughly 40 consultants, plus support staff.  Susana puts in long hours advising companies in different industries on business and private equity deals.

 

Overview:  After graduating in the summer of 2013, Susana got a job as an assistant at a studio in L.A., where she worked for a bit over a year.  Roughly halfway through, she started feeling restless–the job started to feel unchallenging and she found she liked working in music less than she thought she would.  Speaking with friends in other industries, she figured that she’d enjoy a business career more and sought ways to get into an elite business school.  Always good with numbers, she studied for and did well on the GMAT exam.  Aware that top schools like interesting work experience, Susana actively pursued and got an 8-month volunteer position , working in microfinance in Madagascar at the international poverty-relief organization Unbound.  Her application to the Australian Graduate Schools of Management (AGSM)’s MBA program was accepted, and she started her studies in the fall of 2015.

As was common with her program, Susana did the second half of her program at a partner school, in this case, the London Business School.  Many companies came there to recruit talented individuals, and shared what their industry and businesses were all about.  Working as a management consultant appealed to Susana, and she liked what Roland Berger had to offer, so she went straight into her current job after graduating in the spring of 2017.

 

You can see Susana’s LinkedIn profile here.  Susana encourages Berklee folks who are interested in management consulting to reach out to her.

 

Choice Quotes:  “Two things I like about being a management consultant. One is that I’m always learning, reading about new things and being intellectually engaged.  The other is being part of a high-performing team.  Everyone here is incredibly smart and driven.”

“In a four-week project, week 1 you’re learning all about the industry. Early in week 2 you meet with clients and they give you a scope of the project. Then you start working with the team and developing a good story line: what you want to tell, the info you need, how you get the information. Weeks 2 and 3 you’re gathering the info & building an understandable power point presentation. Week 4 you talk to the clients, showing them what you have–answer further questions or see what they want more and add it in. Then you give the final presentation and you’re on to the next project.”

“For your first 5 years you’re a generalist consultant, and they want you to do lots of different things. I’ve done projects in the oil/gas,, nuclear, healthcare and IT industries.  If during those 5 years you find something you really like, you can become a specialist.”

“Thanks to Berklee and my music background I think differently–more creatively–which can be useful in mgmt consulting.  Berklee also exposed me to a very diverse group of people and I became very culturally aware very fast, which is important in my field too as we work with a large diversity of clients.”

“Don’t be afraid to try anything.  It’s never too late, and if you change paths in a structured and wholehearted manner you can transition to nearly anything–like I did!”

 

 

See the full index of successful Berklee alumni.

Successful Berklee Alumni #101: Lynette Johnson

Lynette Johnson

Listen to the interview (approx. 48 min.) or download it.

 

Graduated in 2011 with majors in Music Business and Contemporary Writing & Production.  Principal instrument:  bassoon.

 

Position:  Financial analyst at Lockheed Martin, a major aerospace and defense contractor with nearly 100,000 employees.  Lynette oversees $35,000,000 of contracts (for her company to produce things).  She makes sure that all aspects are funded and that her company is not overspending.  She look at data, makes reports, and works closely with Accounting and other departments to make sure everything goes smoothly from the financial end.

Overview:  Lyneete did the Music Business internship in L.A. during her last semester, handing social media publicity for a small label, and that turned into a part-time job after graduation.  After a year, she was promoted to be their full-time operations person–paying bills, tracking expenses, etc.  That got her a taste in finance.  After a year at doing that, Lynette left and started her own online social media company, doing website management for mostly music-related clients, but she decided that she wanted a career in finance.  In 2015 she applied to the Masters in Applied Finance program at the University of Wellington (New Zealand).  She loved the country and could get a degree there for about half the cost of doing so at an American University.

Once she had her Masters degree, Lynette returned home to South Carolina in January, 2017.  She got a temporary job with the South Carolina Dept. of Revenue processing people’s taxes, and continued to search and apply for a finance-related job.  In June she was hired into her current job.

 

You can seen Lynette’s LinkedIn profile here.

 

Choice Quotes:  “What I like most about being a financial analyst is that I get to learn all of the moving parts that it takes to fund a contract. In addition to putting my math and excel skills to the test, I get to solve problems, and interact with many departments. Every day brings something new and I especially enjoy assisting and helping employees with their financial questions.”

“Career paths can change at any time.  First I was thinking I’d get the finance degree and work in the entertainment industry, but I ended up elsewhere and I’m very happy where I’m at.”

“At Berklee I got to meet people from all kinds of countries. That helped me a bunch–as did some good finance-related courses in the Music Business major, such as Economics and Statistics.”

Apply to any job that would even be somewhat in your field.  Even if you don’t want to stay in a job forever, it can be a stepping stone into other good jobs.   It’s also good practice:  if you have that dream job you want, apply and interview with 5-10 other companies first and you’ll be prepared to get that dream job.”

 

See the full index of successful Berklee alumni.

Successful Berklee/BoCo Alumni #100: Tiffany Spearman

Tiffany Spearman

Listen to the interview (approx. 51 min.) or download it.

 

Graduated in 2008 from the Boston Conservatory with a major in Modern Dance.

 

Positions:  1) Management Consultant/Event Planner.  Tiffany started her own company, At Liberty, which helps run events, deal with logistics and organizational shifts, and focus on individual health and fulfillment.
2)  Property Manager / Sales at Ross Management Services.  This mostly-administrative real-estate job, working for a firm that has multiple multi-family developments, is to pay the bills until Tiffany’s business brings in enough revenue to go full time.

 

Overview:  After graduation, Tiffany moved to NYC, where she danced in many different venues, choreographed a play, and started her own dance project in 2010 dedicated to making modern dance more accessible.  But after 5 years she started feeling that this life wasn’t as much fun as expected–it felt like she was stagnating, doing the same thing repeatedly.  She went online and started applying to jobs.  In early 2014, she got an administrative job, assisting the director, at a charter school in the Washington, DC area.

Tiffany started at that job for two years, but wanted to start her own company and found the work at the charter school too demanding to pursue a side job.  So in 2016 she applied for and took a job with Ross Management Services, still in the DC area, in order to have the time and energy to start her business.  Soon after, she got her first client.

 

You can see Tiffany’s LinkedIn profile here.  Tiffany also encourages folks to reach out to her at  info@atlibertylife.com.

 

Choice Quotes: “Consulting is a lot of fun for me. I like talking with people, and I get a really good feeling out of helping people. I’m ready to jump in on anything, and the work is really fun because it’s always changing. I get to wear different hats and learn so much–I love continuous learning and talking to people who know things I don’t know.”

“Whenever you bring people together around a common cause or initiative, it brings in life in a way that emails don’t. In-person events engage us more in what we’re doing and engage us with our communities.”

“I follow the agile technique–doing things iteratively and growing them incrementally. This lets me not just test things out and continue to scale my business.”

 

 

 

Tiffany, dancing while a student at BoCo.  “The Boston Conservatory taught me grit.  While there, I also learned to think outside the box, and also to express myself fully.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

To those who are struggling to find their way, Tiffany advises, “Staying open to opportunities will serve you well. Don’t let yourself be blinded by how you think things should be. Know that you’re not alone and you have every advantage.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

See the full index of successful Berklee/BoCo alumni.

Successful Berklee Alumni #99: Sasha Foster

Sasha Foster

(formerly Sasha Taylor)

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

 

Graduated in 2011 with a major in Music Business.  Principal instrument:  voice.

 

Position:  Production Coordinator in the Management Operations department at ESPN.  In this multifaceted administrative role, Sasha schedules film crews and producers, books flights and handles other logistics, deals with payroll and other accounts, helps the online ad sales team with ensuring that purchased ads work properly on the website, and runs analyses to help get things done more efficiently.

 

Overview:  Unsure what she wanted to do after graduation, Sasha moved home to Connecticut after graduation, and got a job on the sales floor of an Apple Store, as a “specialist” but also selling to businesses.  One day a customer she was chatting with said his wife was a dean at Bay Path University and encouraged Sasha to look at Bay Path University’s  Online MBA program.  It looked good, so Sasha enrolled in the summer of 2012, and earned her MBA at the end of 2013.

As she was finishing up her degree, Sasha reached out to AccountTemps, a temp agency for skilled employees, hoping that would get her some good experience and a better job.  She left the Apple store, then in January 2014 got a temporary position processing invoices and expense reports at ESPN.  Eight months later, ESPN hired her into her current position.

 

You can seen Sasha’s LinkedIn profile here.

 

Choice Quotes:   “I’m the behind-the-scenes of the behind-the-scenes. Production is all-hands-on-deck and you do whatever’s needed.”

“An online MBA program really is about time management. If you don’t get it done on your own, it doesn’t get done, and some folks need that ‘push’ of being in a classroom. I recommend it to people who are self-driven.”

“I enjoy the people I work with. We all get along well and that makes the work environment easy. I also enjoy diving into the more analytical side of things, being able use the program MicroStrategy and I’m one of the few people at my company learning to use it. Analytical stuff take time, but it’s like a puzzle, and when you get it it’s such a feeling of joy!”

“I went to school for music, but ESPN is still entertainment, so a lot of things feel similar.  Also in some projects I have to deal with music licensing, and my music business background means I can talk to other folks and know exactly what’s going on.”

“While I’m not doing music professionally at this point, I still sing weekly in church and coordinate my church’s music services..  In addition, my husband–also a Berklee grad–works in music and he often asks me for financial advice.”

“Take chances and reach out–all they can say is no. You never know unless you ask.”

 

 

See the full index of successful Berklee alumni.