Listen to the interview (approx. 33 min.) or download it.
Graduated in 2008 with a major in Film Scoring. Principal instrument: viola.
Position: Program Director (Corporate Trainer/Consultant) at Techstars, an “accelerator” which takes early-stage technology start-ups invests in them, and puts them through a 3-month training program on how to grow and be financially successful. Conrad is on a 2-person team specializing in hardware. He finds clients, builds the curriculum, works one-on-one with the founders and helps them network.
Overview: After graduation Conrad got a job with Harmonix, which makes music software, as a QA (Quality Assurance) tester. He also had done ROTC while at Berklee and went into the U.S. Army Reserves. While doing QA he was interested in engineering, and began hanging out with the engnieers at work. He worked at Harmonix for 6 years, though one of those was spent in Afghanistan with his army unit. While he was doing coding informally at his job, and was promoted to senior QA tester, but he wanted to be a “real engineer” so in 2015 he started looking for jobs. Mid-2014 a former boss at Harmonix had moved on to GSN (TV & Games) and convinced Conrad to follow along, again in a QA role but after doing so found he didn’t like the large corporate atmosphere and soon started looking for other opportunities.
Meanwhile, Conrad volunteered with Operation Code, a non-profit which helps veterans learn coding to build their civilian careers. He went through an accelerator as part of that, and got connected wtih the tech/startup scene in Boston, which in turn connected him to Techstars. Conrad’s experiences working with military hardware, training people, and working in high-tech made him a great fit for an open position, and he was hired int his current job in October, 2017. In addition to his full-time job and continued volunteering with Operation Code, Conrad is working toward getting his MBA.
You can see Conrad’s LinkedIn profile here.
Choice Quotes: “I love being in a role where I can help others be successful. It’s endlessly creative. You see all these creative technologies. All these creative & innovative people who are trying to make it to the next level while creating something really special. Knowing I can help turn those dreams into reality is the best part of my job.”
“What the tech industry needs most in organizations are folks with empathy, who know how to communicate, who understand how to work on small teams. Everyone at Berklee does that.”
“Be flexible and iterative in your career. Once you’ve learned what you can from something, don’t hesitate to try something else. Too many folks waste 10-20 years doing something they don’t like while what they like is a side thing–I don’t want to live that way.”
“Working with music hardware, complex software platforms, has a lot of applications that people don’t always think about. Music is that alignment between empathy and understanding others, but there’s also an element of rigor and discipline. You’re looking at how all these pieces of music work together. That’s what good product design is about. Improvization is important as well. I would not be where I am at all without my Berklee degree–that was the exact degree needed for my career.”
Startups are a great place to be. You’ll be taking risks and eating ramen for a bit, but the highs and the lows are awesome. To get into the field, look at the experiences you’ve had and figure out what your ‘superpower’ is–what people know you for. ”
See the full index of successful Berklee alumni.