Third in a biweekly series of interviews with Berklee graduates who have successful careers not involving music.
Listen to the interview (approx. 56 min.) or download it.
Graduated in 2008 with a major in Music Business (Management track). Principal instrument: drums.
Position: Salesperson, working for Micro Focus, (a.k.a. Borland Software) a large multinational corporation that provides many computer software products used by businesses.
Overview: Michael has had a varied career, working as an audio/visual “technical supervisor” (a.k.a. “the sound guy”) at a Marriott hotel, being a counselor at both camps and a college, touring with the Christian rock band while handling their merch. After marrying a woman from Northern Ireland and moving there, he founded his own music school, Stateside Drum Studios, where he still works on weekends. Michael applied to his current position via an agency and went to a high-pressure 3-day “camp,” where he was among the 6 out of 45 “campers” who was offered a job. Another three months of (paid) intensive training and his software sales career with Microfocus started.
You can view his LinkedIn profile here. Michael asks that if anyone wants to connect with him that they mention me and Berklee in the “connect” message, as he doesn’t like to just connect with random people. (In general, introducing yourself to someone who doesn’t know you is good form.)
Choice quotes: “As a musician at Berklee, you’re surrounded by and have to work with a very diverse group of people. You listen to and approach things differently, such as when you’re in an ensemble and are hearing the other musicians and are able to pick up whether we’re going to repeat a section or whether we’re going to drop the dynamics. You take that same sort of understanding and ‘unspoken language’ into the business world.”
“I found I can be just as much myself in the corporate world as I was in the music world, and still be able to have the fun I had in the music world, and just blend the two together.”
Michael at one of the drum kits at his music school. The kick drum bears the name of the Christian rock band he toured with for almost a year. Here’s a video of them playing live!
The school is successful, but banks in Northern Ireland the banks wouldn’t give him a mortgage to buy a home while he was self-employed, so he sought a corporate job.
Michael with his mother, both looking very happy, at Berklee graduation. May, 2008.