Remote Internships Offer Firsthand Experience—from Thousands of Miles Away
From her home in Dallas this summer, Aliyia Williams was able to crack into the Los Angeles music industry with a plum internship at Position Music, a prestigious trailer house and dynamic indie music label.
Williams, a seventh-semester music business student who worked in the company’s digital marketing department, says she got to see firsthand—from over a thousand miles away—what goes into running a successful campaign for an artist.
“What surprised me the most about doing a remote internship was the fact that I was still able to learn so much as if I were there,” she says. “There are so many little things that go on behind the scenes that even the artists don't know about.”
This fall, Berklee’s Career Center will place more than 50 students and recent alumni in remote internships at top companies, working in fields such as A&R, film scoring, sync/licensing, publishing, music production, sound design, digital marketing, data analytics/programming, event planning, and business administration. Many of these positions will open up in the next four to six weeks, so the time for students to start a future career through an internship is now.
“Remote internships are an important means of gaining relevant experience,” says Dustin Gee, director of employer engagement and career programs. And since students and recent alumni (who've graduated within the previous 12 months) can do these internships from anywhere, many more opportunities are available to them now. “Remote internships are a double bonus because not only can you intern in Los Angeles while residing at home in Texas, but you get to expand and strengthen your network in a major industry hub through making new peer contacts and mentors.
Employer Info Sessions
Students looking to launch their career or internship search can get started right away through attending one of a number of virtual employer information sessions that the Career Center will host throughout the semester. The first session of the season will be with Walt Disney Television on Friday, August 7, at 1:00 p.m.
During the session, the creative team from Walt Disney Television—which owns ABC, Twentieth Century Fox Television, FX, and more—will be available to discuss careers in music supervision, music editing, and composing with students and alumni.
"As we are expanding our talent efforts in production, we are always seeking new voices to fill our talent pipeline for upcoming opportunities across all our platforms in TV and film," says Kristi Shuton, manager of creative talent development at Walt Disney Television. "We are very excited to be working with Berklee and their students!"
Attending an employer information session is an excellent way to have face time with a representative or recruiter, says Gee. "You get to establish a personal connection with someone, which is often not the case in the job search process.”
Invaluable Connections and Lessons
Indeed, the importance of making such connections, through information sessions or internships, is hard to overstate.
“Everything is about networking—not who you know, but who knows you and why,” says Rehan Jay Manickam, a ninth-semester double major in music business and music production and engineering, and Wachter fellow, who is interning at LoveRenaissance, a record label based in Atlanta and Los Angeles.
For him, the best part of his internship has been forming relationships with A&Rs, labels, departments, and artists on a one-on-one basis. “If your story is authentic, if what you do is authentic and you do it better than anyone in the room, you’re a part of something bigger than just a label and just an internship, you’re a part of a team that strives to be the best at what they do in the industry,” he says.
Williams, too, says that making these invaluable connections has been the highlight of her internship: “I know that if I ever have any questions, I can shoot them an email or a call, and they will happily help me out if they can." That’s no small thing in a city where jobs are found on the strength of one’s professional network.
For many interns, the relationship with their supervisor has been especially enriching. Allison Liu, a third-semester flute performance major at the Conservatory who is interning remotely at the Austin Symphony Orchestra, says that her supervisor taught her self-evaluation tools that have given her “the ability to objectively and constructively criticize my work without allowing it to define my self-worth. It rocked my world!”
“Everything is about networking—not who you know, but who knows you and why.”
—Rehan Jay Manickam, intern at LoveRenaissance
Karen Martinson, a seventh-semester music business and film scoring major interning with NBCUniversal, says that she’s also had a fruitful relationship with her manager, who is “great about explaining the reasoning behind the projects he assigns, so it has been rewarding to understand how my tasks fit into the larger scope of the department’s work.”
She’s also been able to speak with music supervisors at NBCUniversal who have worked on some of her favorite shows. Not only have they filled her in on their daily tasks, they’ve given her helpful career advice. NBCUniversal also offers interns informational sessions about the company's different business divisions and panels on career development.
Though they’ve been locked down with the rest of the country, these students aren’t staying in place when it comes to moving their careers forward.
In addition to helping students find soon-to-open internships, Berklee’s Career Center is developing a Virtual Internship and Job Expo this fall that will help students find positions in the spring and summer. The expo will be October 1, but the center will be holding boot camps in September to prepare students to make the most of the opportunity.