Slideshow: Career Jam 2016
Career-minded Berklee students gathered in the college’s David Friend Recital Hall on Saturday, April 2 to meet with potential employers and to garner valuable career advice from music professionals, many of them Berklee alumni.
“Business is done face to face,” said Michael Marotta, editor and cofounder of Boston-based music website Vanyaland, who participated in a panel on careers in music performance, and the students in attendance seemed to know it as they exchanged handshakes and cards with some of the potential employers present, some of whom have posted positions on the Berklee Career Manager.
One of the day’s most popular sessions featured free legal advice for foreign students from immigration attorney Bennett Savitz. For students from abroad looking to work in the U.S. after graduation, Savitz shared information on topics such as filing for O-1 extraordinary ability visa status, sponsors, green card categories, and more—information that would normally cost hundreds of dollars in consultation fees.
Alumnus Jandro Cisneros ’15, CEO of The Pillars Productions, encouraged students to pursue their passion, saying, “Doing what you love and trying to make a living out of it is what’s going to keep you walking in this world.”
Panelists also advised flexibility. When Matt McArthur ’09 of The Record Company asked panelists who have embarked on music technology careers what they thought, at age 20, they would be doing today, none cited careers in music technology and most responded “rock star.”
Andy Forsberg '13, a freelance composer who has worked on video games for international clients, suggested students should “have very clear goals, but absolutely no expectations as to how you’re going to achieve that.”
Melissa Ferrick '90, the acclaimed singer-songwriter and Berklee associate professor of songwriting, noted that the students in attendance should be thinking about their careers now, pointing back to her own time as a student at Berklee, when she lived across the hall from Derek Sivers, founder of CD Baby, and hung out with songwriter Paula Cole (now a voice professor at Berklee) and Abe Laboriel Jr., Paul McCartney’s drummer.
“The people you’re sitting next to in this room will be running the music industry,” Ferrick said, “so be nice to them.”
Career Jam 2016 was presented by Berklee’s Career Development Center, Office of Experiential Learning, Office of Alumni Affairs, Counseling and Advising Center, and Boston Conservatory’s offices of Career Support Services and Student Programs.