Career Jam Offers Students Access to Industry Leaders

One year ago, connecting students with music industry heavyweights such as hip-hop artist and social activist Talib Kweli; David Dorn ’86, Apple Music’s senior director; and international music producer, violinist, and live show designer Laura Alluxe Escudé, wasn’t on anyone’s radar.


But on March 31, Berklee held its Career Jam, a confab featuring those mentioned above and others in presentations, workshops, auditions, and mentoring sessions for the more than 1,500 students who attended. As well, employers were on hand to recruit students for internships and full-time jobs, and students were treated to free professional headshots for their LinkedIn profiles and press kits, and Wix.com offered consultations on website development.

Career Jam highlights included a keynote address with Kweli and Dorn. Panos Panay B.M. ’94, founder and managing director of Berklee’s Institute for Creative Entrepreneurship (BerkleeICE), interviewed the music moguls, who offered advice about making it in the music industry.

 Music director and producer Gil Smith II ’99 and his agent auditioned students for summer and fall tours that Smith is producing. “There was amazing energy the entire day,” Smith recalls. “We found some real gems and are looking forward to working with them.”

Melody Ewing B.M. ’07, associate director, business affairs/A&R administration for Sony Music Entertainment, participated in the Art of A&R panel alongside senior vice presidents of A&R for Republic Records and Columbia Records.

Other presenters and employers included Warner Music Group, Cirque du Soleil, iZotope, Vevo, Warner/Chappell Music, Nashville and Boston public schools, director and choreographer Otis Sallid, Max Martin’s song hub Auddly, and Derek Thompson, a senior editor at The Atlantic magazine.


 Lucas Carbonneau B.M. ’17 and Christina Azarian B.M. ’17, dual music business/management and professional music majors, helped produce the event. “It is beyond exciting to see an opportunity like this crafted for soon-to-be graduates to network and meet potential employers, and for lower-semester students to gain insights about the current industry and real-world experience through internships,” Carbonneau said.  

Career Jam is an early outcome of a college-wide initiative to elevate student career services. In 2016, Betsy Newman, senior vice president for student enrollment and engagement, shared Berklee’s commitment to design “a culture of career mindedness” via a strategy for career development and education that will enable students and alumni to fully realize their artistic, creative, and career potential.

A committee of senior leaders from Berklee and Boston Conservatory at Berklee has been working to help shape an innovative, student-centered, long-term strategy for career services to support students and alumni from both institutions. Consequently, the Office of Experiential Learning and the Career Development Center were merged in June 2016 to form the Berklee Career Center. The new, unified department partners with BerkleeICE, Alumni Affairs, Academic Affairs, and other related departments to support students’ career goals and aspirations.

 The annual on-campus Career Jam, which at its core has provided students the opportunity to learn from musicians, artists, and entrepreneurs, was guided, informed, and designed by students who helped to manage and produce the event.

For information about getting involved with future events and programs at the Career Center, contact Stefanie Henning at shenning@berklee.edu.