Successful Berklee Alumni #143: Dylan Nelson

Dylan Nelson


Listen to the interview (approx. 1 hr, 2 min.) or download it.


Graduated in 2014 with a major in Music Production & Engineering.  Principal instrument:  guitar.


Position:  Territory Manager (Sales).  Dylan works for an insurance company where he sells franchises.  He reaches out to people, typically those who work in the industry, in his geographical territory and encourages them to invest their time and money to open a franchise affiliated with this company.  There’s a base salary, but most of his pay is commission and bonus-based.

Overview:  While at Berklee, Dylan really wanted to work at a specific high-end rock studio in L.A., figuring he’d start as a runner and work his way up.  He did exactly that after graduation, getting a job there and becoming a de-facto assistant engineer after a year and a half.  However, he continued to be paid minimum wage and gradually grew to hate the long and unpredictable hours, feeling he had no life outside the studio.  One day in late 2016 Dylan was relaxing at the beach with friends and he got a call to come in right away to work with a famous rap artist and he expressed his unhappiness to his friends, who suggested that if engineering for a super-famous rap artist wasn’t making him happy, maybe he should find another career.

Dylan considered different options, and decided that sales was the best path toward what he wanted–he had family in sales and knew that it could provide excellent income.  Being from Texas and aware that it was booming economically, he searched online for sales jobs there.  Dylan found his current company and convinced them to give him a chance; he moved out there and started working at his current job in the spring of 2017.


Choice Quotes:  “I like the feeling of success when you finally make that sale that you’ve been working really hard at and you see it come to fruition and it’s really rewarding. A lot of the people I work with are middle-aged and have kids and it’s rewarding to help them put their life in a better position. Also the money is good–I got out of music because I wanted to be financially comfortable, buy a house, have a retirement, etc.”

“Even in the studio I was always very buttoned up and professional. There were no bad habits to unlearn.   But I was still surprised very quickly how hard/stressful sales could be. You make a lot of money in sales, but you’re working really hard. It’s a skill which you can have or not, but he equalizer is hard work.”

“When I left the studio for the job, every single person at work and all my acquaintances thought I was crazy–the looks some people gave me!  But my closest friends were like ‘Dude, do it.'”.

“At Berklee I got to interact with many different people–all the international students and those with different backgrounds. You get out of the box of your hometown and see the world through other people’s eyes, which in sales is an experience worth its weight in gold.”

“When interviewing for this job, I sold myself by saying, ‘When I was in the studio working on projects I was working with egotistical whack-jobs doing the most important project in their life. Being in a windowless small room with these people you learn a lot about relating and working with people. Selling franchises is the same thing. I’ve got to help them through this hugely important process without stepping on their toes. It’s a jump, but I want to win and I’m ready to start making some money.'”



See the full index of successful Berklee alumni.