Alumni Career and Satisfaction Study

Class of 2000 Fifth-Year Alumni Career and Satisfaction Survey (FACS) Summary of Results

Office of Institutional Research and Assessment, April 2006

Please Note: Each item below summarizes the results of the indicated segment of the first Fifth-Year Alumni Career and Satisfaction Survey (FACS) administered in spring 2005 to graduates of the Class of 2000. Tabular documentation of each item is available by contacting

"Our most recent survey (of the graduating class of 2000) revealed that 80 percent of respondents are working in music and 65 percent are making 100 percent of their living from working in music. In the world of music schools, these statistics are very, very good and demonstrate that we are fulfilling our mission to a significant extent in a difficult career area. Our music technology-centered graduates (and film scoring and MP&E are among these) are also prepared to go into related fields such as software design and engineering, and a large array of contemporary technology-oriented fields which are often quite rewarding. Students graduating in these majors are at the crossroads of the contemporary music industry, where music, pictures, and sound meet through technology.

To facilitate and support our students' career entry, we have a highly active and responsive internship program. In many of our internship cases, job offers have resulted."

– Bob Myers, Associate Vice President for Institutional Assessment


1. Demographics and Income

  • 113 respondents; mostly male, mostly domestic degree students, 38 percent from Professional Education Division.
  • Of 95 respondents (only 16 chose not to respond), 65 percent had total income below $40,000.

2. Past and Current Occupation

  • Past: 23 percent attended graduate/professional school; 81 percent employed in their major area.
  • Current: 76 percent employed full-time (41 percent full-time, 35 percent self-employed full-time); only 4 percent seeking work.

3. Current Employment and Major

  • Very high proportion (91 percent) were working in music; 77 percent were working partly or entirely in their major field. Excellent results for an arts institution with specialized majors.
  • Respondents typically indicated several different areas of work involvement, i.e., day job, teaching, playing, writing, technology work, etc.

4. Current Employment and Income

  • Despite often doing several kinds of work, two out of three graduates still don't generate much income (i.e., less than $40,000 annually).

5. What's Full-Time?

  • 75 percent of alumni responding considered themselves working full-time; 40 percent at salaried "day jobs" and 35 percent self-employed. Very good result for an arts institution.
  • Self-employed full-time workers earned less than salaried full-time workers.
  • For many salaried workers, their musical employment was outside of their "day job," which was often not in music.
  • All who indicated full-time work reported a number of different work roles in each individual case, salaried or not.

6. Work Satisfaction, Work Life Progress, and Musical Style Involvement

  • Very positive responses to questions about work offering the opportunities to develop musical abilities, use what was learned at Berklee, having career potential, and advancing career or life goals.
  • Positive response (65 percent) to adequacy of compensation.
  • Seven-in-ten alumni were either "very satisfied" or "satisfied" with the way their lives are going in terms of their work.
  • Interestingly high stylistic involvement occurred in world/Latin music (39 percent), classical music (37 percent), gospel, church, and Christian music (27 percent), and music for children (22 percent).

7. Advice to Graduates

  • Be organized, be patient, be persistent, be realistic.
  • Know your limitations and exploit your strengths. Don't give up.
  • Network, make contacts, get your classmates' numbers. Learn business and self-promotion skills.
  • Do something else if you're not ready to battle.

8. Advice to Entering Students

  • You get out of it what you put in to it.
  • Talk to alumni about what it's like and what's there.
  • Don't miss out on outside events. Study Boston too.
  • Don't screw around, try everything.
  • Network, network, network.

9. Satisfaction with Berklee

  • 90 percent (47 percent "very satisfied" plus 43 percent "satisfied") are satisfied with their Berklee education. Very good response.
  • Of those who continued their education, 79 percent (44 percent "very well" and 35 percent "well") said Berklee prepared them well. Good response.
  • 77 percent (34 percent "very well" and 43 percent "well") said Berklee prepared them well for employment. OK response, but not as good as overall satisfaction.
  • 89 percent indicated that they would recommend Berklee to a prospective applicant. Very good response.

10. Most Valuable Experience at Berklee

  • Making friends, networking
  • Playing with great musicians
  • Relationship with faculty
  • Recording activities

11. Least Valuable Experience at Berklee

  • Certain courses and course categories
  • Effects of crowding
  • Pressure, stress

12. Liked Best at Berklee

  • Faculty and curriculum
  • Energy of community, other students
  • Variety of people and music
  • Challenge/motivation of working with other students

13. If I Had a Magic Wand, I'd . . .

  • Make Berklee more affordable
  • Create a yearbook for contacts
  • Expand space and improve facilities
  • Make admission standards higher
  • Make a better transition to "real world" for grads

14. Valuation or Importance versus Fulfillment or Reality.

A comparison of ratings in various areas: musicianship, self-presentation or self-promotion, oral communication, written communication, interpersonal skills, management and leadership, ability to work in groups, ability to utilize technology, personal growth and development, ethics and professional behavior, and broader perspective on worldview and world issues. Respondents rated the importance of the area to their current work and then rated Berklee's quality of preparation in that area.

  • All areas were rated "Very Important," and with the exception of "Musicianship," Berklee's fulfillment was rated only "Fairly Well."
  • The largest gaps between importance and fulfillment were in the areas of "Oral Communication" (1.21), "Interpersonal Skills" (1.02), and "Self-Presentation" (.99). These gaps are highly significant.
  • The narrowest gaps were between "Musicianship" (-.15), "Ability To Use Technology" (.43), and "Ability To Work in Groups" (.44).
  • The remaining gaps were: "Ethics/Professional Behavior" (.94), "Management/Leadership" (.94), "Written Communication" (.70), "Personal Growth and Development" (.67), and "Broader Perspective on Worldview and World Issues" (.46).