Successful Berklee Alumni #169: Joe Granata

Listen to the interview (approx. 56 min.) or download it

Graduated in 2010 with a major in Music Business. Principal instrument: guitar.

Position: Strategic Account Manager (officially Account Manager 2) at Amazon, the world’s largest online retailer. Joe works in the advertising operation, on the search side. So he works with large clients including Microsoft and Google to ensure that they are meeting their targets when people search for their relevant products on the Amazon website. His job consists of corresponding with his clients by email and phone, the occasional visit to deliver a presentation, keeping up with new developments at his company, and analyzing the data from his clients’ advertising activities.

Overview: While at Berklee, Joe learned how to do websites with HTML in a class, and made a bit of side money building / maintaining websites for local businesses. The year after graduation, he stayed in Boston and continued on with that, did some music, and applied without success to music industry and other professional jobs (2010 was a tough year to graduate). After a year, a friend got him a job co-managing a menswear store in New York City, and he moved. He enjoyed that job, and still did websites on the side, but after a few years grew weary of the work schedule (long hours often involving weekends and evenings) and the mediocre pay, so he searched in Indeed for new opportunities and applied. Joe’s experience doing websites and working in clothing got him hired at a subsidiary of Amazon, now called Shopbop, which did flash online sales, arranging the display of the products on the screen.

Amazon encourages people to follow their preferred career path within the company. After two years Joe switched into account management advertising, helping clients put ads on Amazon. He was promoted from level 1 to level 2 in December 2017, then in early 2018 he decided that he was ready for a change of setting, so he moved to Seattle, transferring to a similar job at Amazon’s corporate headquarters.

You can see Joe’s LinkedIn profile here.

Choice Quotes: “I love working face to face with clients to help them achieve their goals. I used to help auto-industry clients, and it was fun to see cool projects. Also, Amazon is a great place to work, with brilliant people ready to help and an entrepreneurial spirit where everyone is listened to.”

I can’t emphasize enough the value of networking. Go meet a diverse set of people across many industries. That’s helped bridge the gap and got my foot in the door. These large companies get hundreds of thousands of resumes, so you need something on top of that.

If you want to work in account management, start from the basics. Get good with the Microsoft Office suite, especially Excel. Also familiarize yourself with the advertising world and be aware of the new trends.

Joe with his guitar. “I’ve kept up my chops. Seattle is such a music city. So many different styles of music happening all over the place. My goal for 2019 is to find a band to play with.”
Joe in front of Mt. Rainier ” “My experience at Berklee was extremely challenging but the first time in my life I felt like I’d really achieved sometime to graduate. Without my Berklee experience I’m not sure if I”d have developed the level of discipline needed to succeed in these other roles.”

See the full index of successful Berklee alumni.