Successful Berklee Alumni #17: Anna Eliopoulos

Anna Eliopoulos

Anna E radio station

Listen to the interview (approximately 44 minutes) or download it.

Graduated in 2008 with a double major in Music Production and Engineering (MP&E) and Performance.  Principal Instrument:  voice.

Positions:  “Audio News Gatherer” (basically a combination editor, scriptwriter, and in-house journalist)  at Fox News Radio.  Also, Anna works part time at Greek public radio station Cosmos, both an engineer and with her own biweekly hour-long program doing mostly lifestyle interviews and some music.

Overview:  Anna graduated from Berklee wanting to work in a music studio.  She had toured studios several months before graduating, and this led to a job offer (effectively a paid internship) shortly after graduation.  For almost 5 years Anna worked in studios, as the assistant to an engineer, and as the office/business manager.  Meanwhile, in 2010 she auditioned for a Greek-American reality show.  She didn’t get the part, but someone else there overheard her describe her background and offered her a part-time job on the spot as an engineer for Cosmos radio.  Soon she had her own radio program as well, though it’s a small station and would be a part-time job.  By 2013, Anna felt bored and wasn’t learning anything in her studio (office) work, and decided that she wanted a career in radio.  A friend who also works part-time at Cosmos has a day job at Fox News (TV), and asked on Anna’s behalf about openings in their radio dept, and recommended Anna for the job, which–combined with her experience at Cosmos–got her an interview and, ultimately, the position.

You can see Anna’s LinkedIn Profile here.

Choice Quotes:  “Radio is very much immediate and takes its direction from the audience.  You have the ability to connect at a moment’s notice.   People call into your station, ask questions, give their opinion on the music etc.   People still want to feel they’re part of a larger conversation.”

“The Berklee grads I’ve seen who have been successful–in and out of music–didn’t ignore opportunities that might not have been in their life’s plan, but were just as interesting.”

“Just getting into and making it through Berklee shows you’re really focused about something.  Berklee is very intense, and to make it through you have to be ‘on top of her game.’  That same focus and energy needed for Berklee is crucial for so many aspects of life.”



Successful Berklee Alumni #16: Troy Church

Troy Church

Troy at work.
Troy at work.

Listen to the interview (Approximately 1 hr, 13 min) or download it.

Graduated in 2013 with a major in Music Business.  Principal instrument:  voice.

Position:  Web developer at NKP Medical   Troy is one of several “front-end web developers” who codes websites to meet design specifications, including being optimized for search engines.  NKP Medical specializes in marketing and websites for plastic surgeons.

Overview:  Troy enjoyed the two website building classes he took at Berklee.  Upon graduation Troy needed a job ASAP.  His computer skills weren’t robust enough, and “I suspected it wouldn’t be in music,” so he applied broadly through craigslist and Linkedin.  and got a job selling insurance, which lasted about 8 months.  A former work friend, and an old college friend got him two othersales jobs which each lasted about that long, but Troy didn’t really enjoy sales.  He figured web development would be a good career path, so during those two years he built websites for friends for a nominal fee to build up his portfolio while spending many evenings and weekends taking (mostly free) online classes.  (Troy got a lot out of the (free) classes he took with Code School and his (paid) experience with Thinkful.)  By the summer of 2015, Troy felt his skills were good enough. He couldn’t find a job in NYC where he was living, but he also applied to jobs in L.A., and did some phone/Scype interviews and the third one, at NKP Medical, led to his current job (and move to L.A.)

You can see Troy’s LinkedIn Profile here.

Choice Quotes:  “There’s something that happens when I get into a groove.  I can zone out, listen to podcasts or music.  I get into a state of “flow” where time seems to not exist. You forget everything but the problem at hand, and it’s really enjoyable. ”

“It was hard.  Lots of Friday nights up until 3am trying to solve a coding program.  Lots of summer weekends indoors finding everything to keep myself in that seat by my computer.  Just doing whatever it took to keep learning until it was going to pay off.”

Berklee’s approach to composing/arranging was very helpful to my career, as it taught me to start with a clean slate and write piece by piece.  Web programming feels to me very similar to writing counterpoint:  lots of structured rules, but allowing for a bit of creativity within that structure.”



Successful Berklee Alumni #15: Chelsea McKinney

Chelsea McKinney

Work at Aventura

Listen to the interview (around 40 minutes) or download it.

Graduated in 2013 with a major in Music Production and Engineering (MP&E).  Principal instrument:  Piano.

Position:  Floor manager at Aventura, a 250-seat tapas restaurant in Ann Arbor, Michigan.

Overview:  Chelsea got her first restaurant job during her first year at Berklee.  She initially bused tables, then was promoted to host and then server.  She worked a combination of host and server jobs in Boston, ultimately at Uni (at the time a paired restaurant “Cleo and Uni”) before moving to Ann Arbor to be with her boyfriend a year after graduation.  One month of job-hunting later, they went out to a nice restaurant on a “date.”  Chelsea asked if they had any jobs, and offered herself as a manager.  They recommended her to interview with Aventura, their sister-restaurant.

You can see her LinkedIn Profile here.

Choice Quotes:  “I figured out that what I wanted to do was not so much a thing but a skill set:  working with people.  I found a job where I get to do what I wanted to do.”

“I asked my previous managers to look over my resume before I left Boston. They are older than me and have more experience and know things I don’t.  One of them said, ‘Don’t put ‘host’.  Just put ‘functional floor manager.”  That was a key thing that led to me getting this job.”

“Producing prepared me for restaurant management.  I had to be in charge:.  I learned how to figure out logistics, work with people, communicate our visions to each other, get it all right, deal with unexpected ugly surprises, and get emotional artists to put their issues aside and focus on their work.”



Successful Berklee Alumni #14: Kyle Batter

Kyle Batter

Kyle 3

Listen to the conversation (approx. 42 minutes) or download it.

Graduated in 2005 with a double-major in Composition and Film Scoring.  Principal Instrument:  Electric Bass, though his true love was the piano.

Position:  (Associate) Corporate Attorney at Hueston Hennigan LLP.

Overview:  After graduation, Kyle want to L.A. where he had a successful 6-year run working in entertainment industry, working as a composer, sound editor, and similar roles.  However, this career involves short-term projects and he didn’t enjoy the constant need to look for work.  Finding himself married and a father, he wanted a career which was more stable would provide better long-term security.  Being a lawyer met his criteria, so he took a LSAT-prep course and got into USC Gould Law School.  He was in the top 10% of his class in that first year, so got job offers from two law firms–it’s common for top law students to get job offers when they still have two years of law school remaining!  He chose to work at Irell and Manella after graduation, as they had a good work-life balance.  After less than a year a year, two senior partners, Hueston and Hennigan, left to form their own company, and  took 40 others (about 1/6 of the firm), including Kyle, with them.

You can view Kyle’s LinkedIn profile here.

Choice Quotes: “Berklee helped create me as a person, which contributed to my future success.  Being there and loving it and digging in deeply to everything I was doing all the time instilled in me a certain diligence and responsibility which, carried over to my work today.”

“The misunderstanding about attorneys is that we spend all our time in court.  Probably 5% of our time is spent in court.  The other 95% is spent in the office researching, writing, and communicating.”

“If you’re ready to move on from the music industry, search within yourself–what other areas are you interested in?  Remember you can get a degree in anything and still be very active in music.  It’s not like any part of that experience will ever go away.”



Successful Berklee Alumni #13: Michael Hazani

Michael Hazani

Michael Hazani 3

Listen to the interview (around 90 minutes), or download it.


Graduated in 2010 with a major in Songwriting.  Principal Instrument:  Guitar

Position:  Freelance web developer.  He works primarily as a contractor for Rift Solutions.

Overview:  Michael spend four years in NYC trying to make it as a songwriter, and doing internships at a studio and a music publishing firm.  He concluded that he couldn’t make a good living in either the short or long term.  As a transition, he formed a band and did a brief tour, building their website and some 3-D interactive components to go with the music, and enjoyed that.  Michael then moved to Seattle to be with his girlfriend.   “A lot of my friends are in high tech, and I don’t hear them complaining about how hard it is to make ends meet, how it’s about who you know when looking for work. (etc)”  So in late 2014 he decided to learn website programming, taking many free online courses and getting an almost-free “nanodegree” from Udacyty.  Within two weeks of getting his degree, Rift Solutions found his profile online and contacted him with work, as they needed something in his niche field done, and as he had done good work the amount of work & responsibility he is given has increased.

You can view his LinkedIn profile here.

Choice quotes:  “That’s a big difference from the music industry.  There’s so much thirst for programmers and web developers sot you get reached out to a lot.  A lot moe than Tech is just a whole other paradigm of supply and demand.”

” “One advantage of (independent contracting) is I can be anywhere. I recently toured to play music and made good money on the tour by doing my website work.”



Successful Berklee Alumni #12: Adam Baliban

Adam Baliban


Listen to the interview (approx. 38 minutes) or download it.

Graduated in 2005, with a major in Music Business.  Primary Instrument:  Drums.

Position:   Senior Digital Marketing Strategist at Cooper Katz.  Adam works for this Public Relations firm to build the social media side of their business.

Overview:  After graduation, Adam moved to New York City, where he worked as a temp for two years, including at multiple music labels, but nothing led to a permanent job.  Eventually he used craigslist or a similar service to find a job at a music-marketing startup, where he worked for long hours & low pay, focusing on social media (MySpace at the time), for about 18 months until that company failed.  From there, Adam decided that he liked marketing and social media, but he wasn’t wedded to music, so he sought non-music jobs doing that.  He worked for the Kaplan Thayer Group and Nautica, as well as freelance, before getting his current job.

You can see his LinkedIn profile here.

Choice Quotes:  “Back in the early days of social media, there were no rules–all you knew was it had to be cool.  Berklee gave me a good sense of what’s good vs. what’s ‘luck of the draw.'”

“If you got into advertising you can’t expect to be at one company for a long time and get paid what you deserve.  You have to bounce around.  Yeah it sucks, but you will get paid much more.”

“Accept the fact that the first couple of years are going to be a bitch–that’s just part of the game.  You won’t have lots of contacts ready to hook you up with a job.  But you’ll come out of it OK and you’ll be better off for it.”

“Network as much as you can–learn to ‘perform’ and promote yourself in the business world like you promoted your band.”


Successful Berklee Alumni #11: Katie Amaral

Katie Amaral


Listen to the interview (about 48 minutes) or download it.

Graduated in 2009 with a double-major in Electronic Production & Design (then called “Music Synthesis”) and Music Business.  Principal instrument:  guitar.

Position:  Computer System Administrator at The Broad Institute, a large institution doing medical research.  Katie, one of 80 people in the Information Technology (IT) Department, writes computer scripts, develops their website, and keeps the computer systems running.

Overview:  In her first year at Berklee, Katie got a work-study job doing tech support at Berklee’s computer lab, which she did for the rest of her time at Berklee.  Her Music Business internship at Sonivox led directly to a job there doing customer support, quality assurance (QA), and marketing, albeit at a modest salary.   After a bit over a year, she was feeling under-challenged and wanted something more technical so she found online, applied for, and got a job with Aerva, a start-up that did digital signage, again doing customer support and some of everything.  After a year of very long hours and low pay she joined the family computer business, The Amaral Group, where she set up computer systems & software at other businesses (mostly in the Greater Boston area).  She worked there for 5 years, the last two of which involved her going to Boston University to get her Masters in Computer Information Systems.  A consulting job at the Broad Institute led to her being hired there full-time in early 2015.

You can see her LinkedIn Profile here.

Choice Quotes:  “Just being in an innovative environment surrounded by really smart people is really motivating.  I’m excited to do what I do!”

Always tailor your resume to each job you’re applying for!  You can make yourself look like a good fit.”

“Figure out what you want to do/what would you be happy doing and will help you pay the bills.  Then just work hard at it.  Don’t be limited by what you think you’re qualified for.  Also, there are so many resources online, such as Code Academy, where you can learn job skills for free!”




Successful Berklee Alumni #10: Dan Thompson

Dan Thompson

Dan Thompson

(Near the end of the interview, we got cut off, so it’s in 2 parts.)  Download part 1 and part 2.

Graduated in 2010 with a major in Music Business (entrepreneur track).  Principal instrument:  guitar.

Position:  Senior data analyst at Nexant.   Dan designs, helps implements, and writes software code to analyze experiments to help utilities reduce energy usage by customers.

Overview:  Even before he graduated Berklee, Dan knew he was interested in policy.  He was living in New York, splitting his time between his Music Business internship doing publicity and political volunteering.  His internship  got him the experience to get a paid internship at Demos, doing communications.  That led to a paid half-time job with the same place 6 months later, while the other half of the time he helped with a socially-responsible investment fund.  However, Dan realized that to have a larger impact and advance his career he needed more technical knowledge.  Dan went to UC-Berkeley to get a Masters in Public Policy, and graduated in May, 2014.  While there, he found he really enjoyed statistics, so sought a job in that direction, getting his current position after reaching out to a alumni from his graduate program who worked at Nexant.

Choice quotes:  “Berklee’s environment honed my interest in creative problem solving.  I come at it from a more curious place.  It’s something I enjoy.   I go home and read statistics textbooks the way some guitarists go home & shred in the evening.  Most folks don’t learn the habits of treating work as a 24/7 lifestyle, but a musician can understand.”

Reach out to alumni!!!  It can feel like ‘Why would someone want to help me?  I’m just an unknown 22 year old.’   But the truth is often all it takes is you putting yourself out there.  Go understand what are people doing that have your interest and skill set. The first 3, 4, 5 people it may not go well as you don’t know what to say, but as you talk to more people you’ll be introduced to others, you’ll have learned the language..and you’ll be better prepared to impress people and land a job.”


See the full index of successful Berklee alumni.


Successful Berklee Alumni #9: Matt Clear

Matt Clear

Graduated in 2010 with a major in Music Production and Engineering (MP&E).  Principal instrument:  Voice.

Position:  Customer Success Manager at Pitchbook Data.  Matt finds, trains, and maintains clients for a “Google for venture capital” business.  He earns mostly salary, with opportunities for commissions on top of that.

Overview:  Upon graduation, Matt got an mostly-unpaid internship with a producer in Seattle, while bartending and waiting tables for money.  Eventually the producer moved away, and a bar client mentioned that his place, a contractor the National Cancer Institute, was hiring “cancer specialists” (basically working at a cancer information hotline.)  He put in the good word, and Matt got the job.  He stayed there over 2 years, it was an OK job, but dead-end, so he looked for something better.  He was helping a friend, who worked at Pitchbook Data, quit smoking.  When her company was hiring, she knew he wanted a new job and recommended him for the job and coached him on what to say during interviews.

You can see his LinkedIn profile here.

Choice quotes:  “I’m always open to opportunity and to learning something new.”

“Being an MP&E student taught me about collaboration, to be a good listener first.  To be a cancer specialist is to listen to people, meet them where they are, and give them info to take it a step further.    That’s exactly what being an engineer or producer is all about.”

“I wish Berklee taught us more more about professional networking and how to present yourself as a professional & demand that kind of respect.  Also how to handle our student loans (and our last day of school isn’t the time to do that).”



Successful Berklee Alumni #8: Leah Hinton

Leah Hinton

Graduated in 2014 with a major in Music Business. Principal instrument:  voice.

Position:  Staffing coordinator at RAD Employment Services, a temp agency.  Leah recruits and evaluated workers interested in temporary work and send appropriate people to client companies.

Overview:  While still a student at Berklee Leah worked for RAD as a temp worker (sent out to other offices), as a way to make money during breaks.  After graduation she planned to continue with that, but, having done well in various assignments, the RAD hired her directly as a part-time administrative employee.  At one point the office shrank and Leah was one of multiple people laid off, but soon afterward one of their full-time staffing coordinators left and Leah was contacted and offered that vacated position.

You can see her LinkedIn profile here.

Choice quotes: ” Studying business prepared me for my job in the sense that I learned how to speak well to people, how to interview, work with computers, work on documents.  I think a business education is helpful for everything, and it’s important to at least have the basics of that.  Working in the Berklee offices as a work-study student helped me as well. ”

“There are so many avenues you can take both in music and in business.  Don’t feel that you’re nothing if you’re not the rising pop star.  The skills you learn help you be confident and put youself out there.”