Students Find Opportunities, Advice, and Pivotal Experiences at Career Jam 2017
On March 31, Berklee’s Career Center hosted Career Jam, a full-day event that brought a lineup of industry experts, employers, and alumni to campus to promote career awareness and provide access to internship and job opportunities. Representatives from companies such as Apple Music, Warner Music Group, Sony Music, Vevo, and more interacted with students throughout the day in various activities, which included workshops, mentor sessions, and recruitment tables.
Career Jam’s program was packed with clinics that featured speakers such as Jon Platt, chairman and CEO of Warner/Chappell Music, and Laura Alluxe Escudé, a live show designer who has worked with Kanye West, Jay Z, Drake, and the Weeknd, among others. The keynote presentation featured hip-hop artist, activist, and entrepreneur Talib Kweli and David Dorn, senior director at Apple Music. The panel was moderated by Panos Panay, founding managing director of Berklee’s Institute for Creative Entrepreneurship (BerkleeICE).
The workshops were organized based on tracks in different fields of work: business, healthcare, production, education, composition, technology, and performance. Each speaker’s presentation addressed one or more of these tracks, allowing students to easily choose different workshops that appealed to their career interests.
In a clinic titled Diversifying Your Career, producer and arranger Will Wells ’11, who is also a performer, music director, and songwriter, gave advice on how to “connect the dots,” sharing his story on how his approach to his education at Berklee translated into starting his career with excellence and an open mind.
“Navigate things without singularity,” Wells advised. “Within every individual opportunity, there’s more than one thing there. Anything you choose to do, do it with excellence, even if that means getting coffee.”
A number of panels at Career Jam focused on 21st century dance and theater careers, with speakers such as musical theater professional Laura Marie Duncan (Billy Elliott, South Pacific); director, choreographer, and producer Otis Sallid (Black Nativity, Smokey Joe's Cafe); and actor/dancer/singer/educator Maurice Emanuel Parent (The Color Purple, Angels in America).
Career Jam also offered many employer recruitment tables, featuring companies and organizations such as Boston Public Schools, Grammy U, Sandbox Entertainment, and Warner Music Group. Representatives spoke with students about potential internship and job opportunities. According to Claude Vendette, artistic talent scout with Cirque du Soleil, participating in Career Jam yielded prospects for future opportunities.
“I love to meet with young artists. Each of them has something special, and they all have their own story,” said Vendette. “For certain there will be some students invited to our next general auditions in Boston or New York next fall.”
In addition to the recruitment tables, many students were also given 30-minute mentoring sessions with speakers of their choice, which they were able to sign up for prior to Career Jam. In these sessions, a small group of students engaged in personal conversations with their chosen mentor, who had copies of their résumés for reference. With the individual face time, students had the opportunity to make professional connections and receive personal advice for their careers.
Student Sherry Li said, “I always had a hypothesis about my future and what career path I should take. After going to a mentoring session [with Peter Maguire from Harmonix], I actually completely eliminated the plan I originally had for myself because I learned that the reality of it does not suit me at all. Especially since it happened right before registration for next semester, this year’s Career Jam was pivotal for me," she explained.