Successful Berklee Alumni #199: Georgeta Seserman

Georgeta Seserman
Listen to the interview or download it.

Graduated in 2018 with a major in Professional Music. Principal instrument: voice.

Position: Full-Desk I.T. Recruiter at Motion Recruitment., a large tech recruiting firm with many offices in the United States and Canada. Georgeta is one of a bit over fifty people in their Chicago office. On her team of five, Georgeta is the one “full desk” recruiter, meaning that in addition to finding good candidates for open positions she also reaches out to companies who need talent.

Overview: After graduation, she moved in with her parents in NYC, planning to do music full-time while working a number of side jobs for money. She was working extremely long hours and by late 2019 was feeling unhappy, unhealthy, and like she had failed. Then the pandemic hit and she found herself unemployed for the rest of 2020. Georgeta moved to various places, and realizing she needed a job, applied online for remote work. She got a sales job at Yelp!, not realizing it was a sales job when she applied. After a few months, Georgeta felt it was not the right job for her.

On a whim, Georgeta applied to Motion recruitment, figuring if she was going to do sales she’d rather do recruitment, where she’s directly helping people. The initial screening call went very long as she and her future-boss really hit it off, and the next stage interview turned into the final interview, ending with a job offer. Hired into her current job, she hit the ground running, lining up candidates at a furious pace. Soon she received a de facto promotion to full-desk recruiter.
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You can see Georgeta’s LinkedIn profile here.

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Choice Quotes: “What a client needs constantly changes–the interview process changes, or someone gets mad. It’s always exciting; there’s always adrenalin flowing. I also love getting to call people and tell them they have a final interview or even a job! I had a candidate who had been stuck in a fairly low-paying job and I was able to place him someplace much better and really improve his life. On the business side, I enjoy having adult, business conversations, advising both job seekers and companies about the job market.”

“My relationship with music is healthier these days. Music feels less like a chore and something I’ll fail if I don’t do it all the time. Now I do it to feed my soul. I have this stable 9 to 5, then my art happens in the evenings and weekends, which is the prime time for that anyway.

“The biggest thing I learned at Berklee was the grind! I was always doing something, involved in something–that drive come from Berklee. And it served me very well in my current role. Also at Berklee I learned about building relationships, being able to connect to people, listening to them.”

“Don’t be afraid to go into sales. The most successful people from Berklee I’ve seen have gone into sales or recruiting. If you’re having a hard time doing the arts ever day don’t freak out–it doesn’t mean you’ve failed. There’s a lot of aspects of music you can carry into your 9-5 and still be successful. Do what you want to feed yourself and feed your music.

“Before getting on this path, I felt extremely lost and like I’d failed in everything. I never thought I’d see myself be so good at a job, and enjoy it and just be happy with my situation. Just know that if you’re just coming out of school you’re seeing the real world for what it is: exciting but also scary as heck. If you’re feeling lost, it’s not going to be that way forever. Find what excites you and just go for it. You might be in a bad place initially, but that’s how it goes. It will get better.”

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See the full index of successful Berklee alumni.

Successful Berklee Alumni #198: Lauren McNutt

Lauren McNutt

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Graduated in 2017 with a major in Songwriting. Principal instrument: voice.


Position: Team Lead and Trainer at Nom Nom, a company that develops and sells its own food and supplements for dogs and cats. There are a bit over a hundred employees, and around 25 of those are in customer service, which includes sales and account management as well as support. Lauren developed and maintains training modules to onboard new customer service people. She both trains new people and oversees other trainers, including her assistant. Lauren also reviews communications to make sure everything is done correctly.

Overview: Lauren moved straight to Nashville after Berklee. Her attitude was that she wanted a day job, which then would allow her time to do music evenings and weekends. A temp agency placed her in a medical office–she’d had prior, related work experience–and after five months she was made a regular employee. By 2019 she had enough experience that she felt she had earned a raise and promotion, but they weren’t forthcoming, so she started looking for a new job. Finding the Nom Nom position on Indeed, she was one of a group of folks hired to do customer service at the rapidly-growing company.

While there, Lauren would informally train new customer service hires as the company continued to grow. Eventually the company grew to the point where they asked her to specialize in training and create formal training materials while giving her the new title and a raise.
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You can see Lauren’s LinkedIn profile here.

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Choice Quotes: “I really like bringing happiness and joy to people. I like being that first point of contact to welcome people and make them feel like part of the team. Also, at my company specifically, we talk about people’s pets all day! I love dogs & cats and like to get people excited about what we’re doing — we sell really cool products.”

“A misconception of the day job is that you won’t be able to do your music anymore. If you take a job that specifically gives you the times to do you want to do, it definitely can work. Almost every evening I do music or am at a show or meeting music people. You definitely can do those without feeling like you’re struggling for money.”

“At Berklee, I took advantage of the liberal arts classes. I think that really worked to my advantage in the corporate world. Now I do a lot of written communication and documentation, and I have a valuable skill set that came from taking a lot of poetry and writing classes. I’m really glad I got that Berklee degree rather than a BFA, which has less Liberal Arts. Many of my friends who have a BFA had a harder time getting non-performance jobs.”

“I kind of stumbled into this position. But in hindsight, in a lot of places I worked when new people came in I would show them the ropes. Training is something you can get experience in if you’re willing to help new people. Just be vocal about wanting to help train people in whatever you’re currently doing. Once you have that experience it’s easier to get hired into that position officially.”
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See the full index of successful Berklee alumni.

Successful Berklee Alumni #197: Sam Smalley

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Graduated in 2017 with a major in Electronic Production & Design. Principal instrument: drums.

Position: Audit Associate at PWC, one of the “Big Four” accounting firms. Sam is on a six-person team which does audits of firms and funds in the financial industry.

Overview: Sam’s father worked in finance, and he was always interested in it. While at Berklee he was in a band that was seriously trying to make it, but it was feeling more like a job and less fun. Thinking about the very uncertain prospects of a music career, by the time he was finishing Berklee he decided to pursue a career in accounting. He took a year off, living at home and working while taking the GMAT and applying to grad school. He got into his top choice, Northeastern University’s dual degree MS in Accounting / MBA program, which appealed to him as it was a good feeder into working for a Big Four accounting firm. Sam started in June, 2018.

As was standard, halfway through the program is a 3-month internship, where you typically then expect to be hired upon graduation. Sam asked to intern for PWC in New York, both because he was interested in finance and because he wanted to live in New York and enjoy the music scene. Sam did the internship and, after he graduated in August, 2019, was hired into his current position.
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You can see Sam’s LinkedIn profile here.

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Choice Quotes: “Working as an accounting gives you a financial background, which is useful in a lot of ways beyond your accounting career. It’s good to be aware of how transactions flow, how businesses are run. It’s a career that’s really fungible: you can translate it into small business knowledge, you can start your own company or CPA firm. Accounting is recession-proof. All those contribute to a profession that’s constantly challenging you and rewarding you.”

“At a place like PWC you are exposed to some of the most complex firms and institutions out there. The learning curve is really intense. But with that exposure you get an amazing amount of experience. As the years progress you can see how much you’ve grown as a financial professional. You’re always exposed to new financial challenges. For example, there are new financial instruments. You’re never bored. “

“PWC has an up or out model–every few years you’re either promoted or they let you go. The work is extremely demanding and intense workload. There’s high turnover. That also means your chances for growth are high if you stay. But leaving isn’t as hard as it sounds, as a lot of people see experience at a Big Four as a great learning opportunity. Just having a Big Four on your resume is a great thing to have in your career.”

“In order to get into Berklee, you have a prepare a lot. To do music well, you have to be focused, good under pressure. If something goes wrong you have to figure out on the fly how to make it better. My industry is very client-focused and it involves the same skills. A lot of my meetings with clients–you have to be ready and prepared to present your piece and have to be ready to handle whatever their response may be.”

“If you’re on the fence between music/non-music, as I was, it’s probably going to feel disheartening knowing your passion for music may not turn into a good career. It’s OK and normal to feel this way. Just consider that I know so many in creative fields who are just as jaded as any office/factory worker. Once it’s a job it’s no different. It’s totally OK to say ‘I went to Berklee and I became a financial analyst, a chemical engineer, etc.”

Anyone considering this path (Big Four) definitely needs to consider that it takes its toll definitely. All the steps to get the degree, get licensed, the long hours. It’s not for the faint of heart. That said, if you can swing it, you can grind through the exams, the CPA exams, etc., it’s definitely worth it! You’re setting yourself up for a really good future if you go down this road. “

“The big tip for accountants is to get as many of your CPA exams done before you start working. It’s really hard to study 2-3 hours/night for these extremely-rigorous exams on top of the slog of working. Unfortunately I didn’t start studying until I started working. I took some breaks and sabbaticals to get through the exams.”

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See the full index of successful Berklee alumni.

Successful Berklee Alumni #196: Dayle Duran

Dayle Duran
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Graduated in 2012 with majors in Professional Music and Contemporary Writing & Production. Principal instrument: voice.


Position: Privacy Analyst (in-house corporate attorney) at Wellframe, a healthcare-related tech startup in Boston that sells software as a service, helping health insurers direct people toward the most effective (and cost-effective) treatments. Dayle is on their four-person legal team, focusing on making sure their software remains in line with privacy-related regulations and expectations. She assesses projects in development for relevant privacy-related risk, and evaluate third-party contracts for the same.

Overview: At Berklee, Dayle was briefly a Music Business major and really liked a class on copyright. After graduating Berklee, Dayle quickly found a full-time job teaching music at a boys & girls club in Boston, which she did for a couple of years. By the end of that, Dayle was feeling underchallenged and, decided that eventually she wanted to be an entertainment lawyer. She did some other jobs, including teaching skiing and working at a digital marketing company, while she studied for the LSAT test and took it (twice, the second time after more rigorous preparation). Dayle applied to law schools and got into her top choice, NorthEastern University School of Law. The school is progressive and has a good co-op program that gives good work experience.

Starting law school in the fall of 2016, Dayle focused on intellectual property. However, with many tech-related issues, privacy-related law “was becoming the hot new thing”, so she focused on that. After graduation in the spring of 2019, she studied for and passed the bar exam, while also spending a month to pass another test to be a certified information privacy professional. By November that was all set, and in December Dayle applied and got a job as a privacy-related compliance analyst at a consulting firm. Then the pandemic hit and she was furloughed (effectively laid off). She reached out to people in search of a new job and connected with her now-boss, whom she had met at a professional networking event. Dayle was hired into her current position in August, 2020.
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You can see Dayle’s LinkedIn profile here.

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Choice Quotes: “It’s a really fast-paced environment, which I appreciate, because it keeps me on my toes and I’m never bored. There’s anways something new I need to think about or look at with a different lens…Honestly when I was at Berklee I expected a desk job to be very boring and routine. This is the opposite of boring!”

“I have to have enough complicated rule sets on recall to know where I need to look when there’s something I don’t know. It’s a combination of knowledge and looking things up. It’s like Jazz improvisation–you need to know your scales so that when you improv you do so knowing the basics and where you need to end up.”

“Law school felt like being a first semester student at Berklee again — drinking from a firehose and getting help wherever I can get it. (I started Berklee not reading music or having any real formal music training.) But it was great. It challenged me in a way in a way I never was challenged before. It’s cool when an opportunity makes you rise to your highest potential, or shows you you have more potential than you thought you did. It was equal parts painful, exciting, and enriching.”

“The rigor of seriously pursuing music prepared me to throw myself into something and focus on it. At Berklee I’d shut myself in a practice room for hours and work on a song. That same work ethic has served me in all the jobs I’ve had since. That focus and willingness to put in the time to really work on something has served me as a human as well as a lawyer.”

At Berklee I was surrounded by music all the time and it felt like more of a job. Now when I close my eyes and listen to an album I’ve found that joy again. I have a relationship with music now that I enjoy more now.”

“Talk to the people who have the job you’d want. I’ve never had anyone say no to me. Ask them real questions to — do they like their job? etc. Find out whatever it is you really want to know about that job….Any current students or alum hearing this trying to figure things out and interested in law, I’m 100% available to chat.”

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See the full index of successful Berklee alumni.

Successful Berklee Alumni #195: Sarah Furnari

Sarah Furnari
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Graduated in 2018 with a major in Professional Music. Principal instrument: voice

Position: Domestic Violence Program Coordinator at St. John’s Well Child and Family Center, a very large human services nonprofit organization with many clinics in the Los Angeles area. Sarah coordinates the Domestic Violence and Emergency Home Services programs at her clinic. In addition to supervising six other employees (mostly case managers), Sarah publicizes her program to the community, audits other people’s work, helps grant writers obtain new grants, and meets regularly with both her boss and others in the organization. She also stands ready to assist those she supervises if a client or situation is particularly difficult. Every day is different!

Overview: In late high school and early college, Sarah was in an unhealthy, violent relationship, which ended shortly after she transferred to Berklee. At Berklee, she became heavily involved with Berklee SAAVE (Student Allies in Anti-Violence Education), and took as many gender studies as she could as part of her major. The then Health-and-Wellness coordinator who worked with SAAVE encouraged Sarah to get a Masters of Social Work (MSW) degree and pursue a career in anti domestic violence. By the time she graduated, Sarah was determined to do this, but she needed to work and make money first. She moved to L.A. in August 2018 to be with loved ones, and spent most of the year working a variety of jobs. She applied to grad school the following spring, getting into USC’s Online Masters in Social Work program, which she started in September, 2019 and quickly pursued their Social Change & Innovation track.

Graduating in December 2020, Sarah then spent almost five frustrating months looking for a job. She had plenty of real-life experience, but no directly relevant work experience, and most places declared her either overqualified or underqualified. Many of the jobs paid terribly. Finally, after sending out at least ten applications per day, Sarah found her current job, which fit her interests perfectly. She really clicked with her now-boss, who also had a MSW and was certain Sarah could handle the work, and she was hired into her current position.

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You can see Sarah’s LinkedIn profile here.

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Choice Quotes: “Not a day goes by that I’m not heartbroken by something I see, but this job is a way to take all the privilege I’ve been given and do something good with it. The thing I want to give back the most is education–not enough people understand the weight of domestic violence in general and that it’s the #3 cause of homelessness. I want people who come to us to know they won’t be judged and will be safe. We care about them so much. It’s lovely to do something I really care about every day.”

“If you’re going through an unhealthy relationship, please reach out to me! There are resources at Berklee too.”

“Social work is all about people and how you interact with people. That’s a lot what music is about too. Focus on getting to know people, be present, develop your empathy–which can be done through music. I learned so much at Berklee with people from all different backgrounds and cultures and walks of life. Treat everyone as someone you can learn something from. go in with an open mind. Social services is meeting and respecting where people are and believing in the inherent dignity and worth of everyone.”


“In the pro-music program, there’s talk about developing yourself as a marketable artist — your business plan, goals, etc. That sort of critical thinking is really helpful–I still do it! Am I doing what I want? Am I being perceived the way I want to be?”

“Music is so therapeutic for me. If I’m having any big emotion, I’m listening to music, writing music, playing music with my sister, looking for new music. Anytime I need to calm down or get a feeling out, music is my outlet.”

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See the full index of successful Berklee alumni.

Successful Berklee Alumni #194: Beau Wright

Beau Wright
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Graduated in 2014 with a major in Electronic Production and Design. Principal instrument: upright bass.

Position: UI/UX (User Interface/User Experience) designer at Ford Motor Company. One of several dozen employees in Ford’s digital experience group, Beau creates mostly 3D graphics and animations which are used in the display of new cars. For example, he creates animations that illustrate the drive modes in the electric Mustang Mach-E as well as graphics which will illustrate airflow around the cabin. Working from home as of mid-2021, his day consists of a few meetings where graphics are reviewed and mostly producing new graphics and illustrations, sometimes with some back-and-forth with other departments.

Overview: Beau was already interested in technology, and always very visual. While at Berklee he got interested in a graphic artist “Beeple” who would put up a new illustration or video every day. After graduation, Beau moved back home to the Atlanta area and looked for a job in music technology, but he wasn’t having any luck. After six months he started splitting his time between job searching and teaching himself 3D animation, initially as a hobby. Determined to get better, he posted a new image every day, always pushing himself to do things he hadn’t done before, teaching himself via his own exploration as well as tutorials on Google and YouTube. He’d post his images to Instagram, and built up a following of over 20,000. He picked up a bit of freelance work, and by the end of 2015 Beau had built up a good portfolio, made an animation reel to illustrate his stuff, and started to look for a real job in graphic design.

The job search wasn’t immediately successful, but eventually a place where Beau’s future boss was one of his Instagram followers brought him in for more interviews and a job offer after he hadn’t got the first job he’d applied for. Beau moved to Chicago to work at this small advertising firm in late 2016. He enjoyed the work, but after a year and a half the parent company decided to go in a different direction and laid off the entire office. For four months, Beau freelanced and made fine money, then a recruiter approached him about working for Ford. Hired as a subcontractor in August 2018, Beau moved up to Dearborn, Michigan. He was converted to a regular employee in early 2021, though still does similar work.
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You can see Beau’s LinkedIn profile here.

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Choice Quotes: “I obviously enjoy the technical aspect of my job. I love the possibilities that the software allows, that it lets do things that would be much harder in real life. It’s interesting to apply that to the automotive world. Seeing how we can visualize features and different interactions with the vehicle is pretty exciting!”

“Opportunities will come to you if you’re consistent and improving and carving out your niche.”

“Berklee was instrumental in cementing my work ethic. I always had friend and faculty being supportive, having that community to push me further. I still feel that is very relevant.”

“Don’t feel you have to pursue exactly what you have a degree in. Nobody has questioned my education for any of my jobs. They’ve seen my portfolio, and being self-taught has not been a hinderance. For creative fields it’s all about the portfolio, not the education.”

“Maybe my interview will spark some idea in someone else regarding what they can do or inspire someone to take advantage of all the material that’s freely available online. It doesn’t have to be from a university. There’s so much material to supplement what you’re doing in school — endless possibilities!”

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See the full index of successful Berklee alumni.

Successful Berklee Alumni #193: Rio Longoria

Rio Longoria
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Graduated in 2014 with a major in Music Business. Principal instrument: drums.

Position: Corridor Manager at Union Pacific Railroad., a major railroad covering the western half of the United States, operating freight trains and also providing rails for Amtrak passenger trains. Rio works in the operations room, overseeing 3 – 5 train dispatchers — giving advice, helping out in emergencies or finding the right people to fix problems. Her very-intense job involves watching both people and tracking trains in real time, and her area is most of Arkansas and bits of other states.

Overview: Unsure of exactly what she wanted to do after graduation, Rio moved back home to Omaha, Nebraska. She got a part-time job as a receptionist in a funeral home while unsuccessfully looking for a music industry job. At the funeral home she was promoted to directors assistant and took on more hours, but it wasn’t a real career. About a year and a half after graduation, Rio’s father, a retired railroad employee, suggested she apply for a railroad job. She did, and after a long wait, was told to start training.

Training was very intense, with biweekly tests where a single failure to hit the high required score meant you were let go. But she made it through the 3-month program. 3 months of supervised on-the-job training followed, where she had to learn the details of every position. Rio then started as a dispatcher at the “emergency desk” ready to fill in for anyone else. It was a high-pressure job, but she handled it well. In January 2020, after about three and a half years, she took a promotion from dispatcher to her current position of corridor manager.
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You can see Rio’s LinkedIn profile here.

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Choice Quotes: “It was refreshing to learn something new and then really try to perfect my own management skills as a craft. In my new position I get to meet new people and create positive relationships, which I enjoy. Networking (with others at Union Pacific) has been a really nice part of the job.”

“The standard that Berklee held me to and the amount of work I put myself through. — I took many credits per semester and finished a semester early. I learned to buckle down, what works for me and doesn’t work to help me learn and retain material. I credit Berklee with that process of learning things that were foreign to me. I started that crash course at the railroad and the constant tests. That work ethic and handling the stress prepared me for this in the best way possible.”

“Folks in this career find they’re making a lot more money than average. But if it’s not working for you, don’t be discouraged. It’s a very rough field of work. A lot of folks say “BNSF (another major railroad) stands for Better Not Start a Family”. It’s both the work and the type of hours you work. It’s physically draining. After a stressful night a lot of people walk out of the building and can’t remember where they parked or realize they forgot to eat lunch.”

“After Berklee, I was like, ‘What if I don’t do something with music?” it almost made me feel guilty about going to Berklee and getting the musical education that many would kill for. Yet I was still able to learn good skills and apply them to my field now. I don’t feel it was a wasted education. I don’t think so. I feel like I was able to get something out of it. I do have that accreditation that I went there and I’m proud to be a Berklee Alumni! I want to come back to Boston sometime and bring my husband and kids and say hi to my old professors and show them where I went to school.”

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See the full index of successful Berklee alumni.

Successful Berklee/BoCo alumni #192: Joanna Chen

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Joanna Chen

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Graduated in 2018 from the Boston Conservatory at Berklee with a major in (classical) Percussion Performance.


Position: Software Engineer at Metal, a company allowing its users to easily trade blockchain-based cryptocurrencies. Joanna works remotely on a team of four, using agile methodology. She is focused on front-end development, meaning turning mock-ups into working webpages and working with the designer to come up with new idea to improve customer experiences.

Overview: During Joanna’s time at BoCo she worked a student-job in concert production. In her third year at BoCo, Joanna developed performance anxiety and felt that her work/life balance was unhealthy. She audited a class at MIT with Berklee Ice and became interested in technology, before continuing on with classical music. She graduated in 2018, and hoped to go to a graduate school in Germany. They told her that she was too old (at 22!) to pursue a career as a classical drummer, but she should try marimba. She spent the year after graduation preparing for her audition at the same school as a marimba player, while working a variety of jobs. Although she got into the school, she decided that she valued being with family and friends more than where a classical music career would lead, so she declined admission and moved back to California.

Back home, Joanna briefly considered a career in teaching music, but wanted to try something new. A friend and former duo partner at BoCo recommended the coding boot camp App Academy, and Joanna moved to San Franciso and stared the program in August 2019, finishing up that December. Soon into her job search, the pandemic hit and many opportunities dried up, but Joanna noticed that App Academy was looking for a course materials developer. Her excellent performance there as a student and an equally excellent cover letter that showcased her people skills got her the position, which went well, but wasn’t really being a software engineer, so as opportunities started to come back in the summer of 2020 Joanna started applying for jobs, and was hired into her current position in October.

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You can see Joanna’s LinkedIn profile here.

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Choice Quotes: “Software engineering is really creative, making different wireframes / mocks come to life. And when I was a classical percussionist it felt like I wasn’t allowed to be creative and had to stick to rules in music. But coding feels like this whole forward-moving thing where there are no boundaries and the focus is on the future rather than the past. Also, in a performance you can’t undo an error, but with a software project you just add a bug fix to do later, which makes things much less stressful for me!”

My Concert Services manager really shaped me into the professional I am. Communication / collaboration skills. You also need strong attention to detail. That’s completely transferrable to any field. Also, as a concert producer, visual aesthetics were always important to work with. Planning a concert stage, you’re aware of those little details–and this applies to my work as a front-end developer.”

“Just narrow things down to what do you want in your day-to-day to make you happy. Some people may find complete fulifllment with their career. But some people, including me, want stability in their job but also to have time for the people in their life. Think about how you can be happy as a human — and start from there to formulate your plan Also, try not to stress out too much about a career change. You’re very young. My friend was 30 when he did the boot camp. I thought I was so old when I did it, but I was only 23.”

“If you want to be a software engineer, find a community or a mentor. I have a friend of a friend who self-studied software engineering by using Reddit. The internet is at our fingertips. There are folks out there to help others grow. Use that to your advantage!”

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See the full index of successful Berklee/BoCo alumni.

Successful Berklee Alumni #191: Alba Rubio

Alba Rubio
Listen to the interview of download it.

Graduated in 2019 from Berklee Online, with a major in Professional Studies.

Position: Administration and Communications Specialist at Urban Health Partnerships, a non-profit organization with about twenty employees based in South Florida. Urban Health Partnerships has many initiatives, working with communities to improve people’s physical, social, and psychological well-being. Alba does a large variety of tasks, doing graphic design and website work, contacting community partners, and acting as secretary to the board of directors.


Overview: Alba had been interviewing musicians since she was a teenager, and had been heavily involved in music. She started her college career studying film production at Miami Dade College, but wanted to study music, focusing on the business end to maximize opportunities, so she switched to Berklee Online, going part-time while she worked full time, for for one nonprofit, then, starting in 2018, for Urban Health Partnerships (Initially she was hired into a different position, but they quickly created a unique role for Alba that matched her skill set.).

Immediately after finishing her degree in the spring of 2019 Alba did a full-time online Masters in Global Strategic Communications from Florida International University, getting through the program in one year while still working full time! She continues to work at Urban Health Partnerships.
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You can see Alba’s LinkedIn profile here.

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Choice Quotes: “My job makes me appreciate that the work we put into it is translated into the community. We communicate in a way that’s accessible and co-designed with community members. The work is very rewarding.”

Figure out what you’re most passionate about / what makes you happy. How you can connect with a community. Even if it’s not in music. There are many careers out there. You’d be surprised to see how what you study can help you in those. If you are looking for an administrative job, it really helps to have a thorough knowledge of programs like Adobe, Photoshop, Illustrator, even digital marketing programs/websites. Also have good office management skills.”

“Berklee always encouraged an outlet for creativity. As part of my role I create social media posts & content. Just as with music, it has to make sense to the listener. I translate those creative skills in copy, graphics, and storytelling.”

“I still find myself surrounded by music. This year I’m getting into music licensing. I’m writing songs and plan to collaborate with others on it and will see how that goes. My partner went to Berklee as well, so we make songs and music together.”

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See the full index of successful Berklee alumni.

Successful Berklee Alumni #190: Yordani Awono

Yordani Awono
Listen to the interview or download it.

Graduated in 2019 with a major in Music Business. Principal instrument: bass guitar.

Position: Product Designer at Thesis, a digital marketing firm which specializes in building webpages in which consumer interest is converted to sales. As a designer, Yordani lays out these pages and optimizes them to to maximize sales potential, with many small changes being the norm.

Overview: While at Berklee Yordani was initially interested in EPD, but the experience of getting stiffed financially after working on a hit song convinced him to study business. He worked with Berklee ICE and was also doing tech-based side projects while in college. After graduating, he moved home to the DC area. got a job which claimed to be “digital marketing” but in fact was just selling cables on commission. Searching online, Yordani quickly got a different job, at a company that built websites for car dealerships. The pay was low, but it was good experience–until the pandemic hit.

By this point, Yordani decided he wanted to go into product design. He did a 5-month “boot camp” at Thinkful to get a certificate in UX/UI Design. Aware that it’s hard to get hired straight out of the program, Yordani was sure to do lots of side projects, as well as to show the confidence that he could do the job. He applied very widely, getting many rejections and two interviews–one of which led to his current job.
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You can see Yordani’s LinkedIn profile here.

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Choice Quotes: “I enjoy working in e-commerce, and learning about how to improve the experience for people. A connection to music was it was good to make people smile or cry with your music. It’s cool to help determine how people interact with their next purchase or medical experience.”

“If you want to go into product design, first learn the fundamentals. Start with proximitydesignschool.com There’s a 9-day course “theory sprint”. Figure out how to judge a design and understand it’s more than just art, and it’s more than just tech. Don’t get too bogged down in all the buzzwords. Get the fundamentals down first and realize a design is a design–you are using specific tools and mental frameworks to accomplish business goals. Also definitely real out to someone who’s doing it, including me!”

“At some point in my education I realized that I’m not just a musician, I’m a creative person.”

“When you’re onstage at Berklee and playing and the keyboard player changes the chords you need to be able to respond quickly to that. That creative framework serves me well every day. I’ll get a ticket and it might be unclear how to approach it, but those improvisational instincts are there to catch me before I fall.”

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See the full index of successful Berklee alumni.