Listen to the interview (approx. 42 min.) or download it.
Graduated in 2013 with a degree in Music Business. Principal instrument: guitar.
Position: Regional Sales Director at Columbia Threadneedle Investments. Based in their Boston headquarters, Shawn works with a field partner in Arizona & New Mexico to sell financial products to financial advisers and investment managers. Shawn is one of fifty people doing this job at this 2500-person company that handles roughly $500 billion of assets.
Overview: Graduating shortly after the Boston Marathon terror-bombing, Shawn thought hard about what he wanted to do with his life, and realized that he wanted to go into finance rather than music. He declined a job offer from a music firm he’d interned at, and started an aggressive job search. Two months later he got a job at Fidelity, where he would work while passing his Series 7 and other financial exams. Shawn started in customer service, then after 5 months was promoted into to financial product sales to individual investors. After a bit over a year, Shawn wanted to do business-to-business (“B to B”) sales, as that is higher status and pay, but Fidelity didn’t do that in Boston, so Shawn contacted a former coworker who worked at Columbia Threadneedle who put in the good word and after several interviews Shawn got his current job. He’s recently was put in their “top-gun” program, where he’s training to be in the field.
You can see Shawn’s LinkedIn profile here. Shawn encourages Berklee students and alumni interested in working in finance to connect with him.
Choice quotes: “My job is a marriage of personality skills and analytical skills…Every day is an opportunity to learn something new…I love that my work is fast paced, you talk to people, and you get paid for what you do. It also helps to have good, fun colleagues; most are around my age (mid 20s).”
“I love music, but I didn’t envision anyone paying huge money to see me play. The business community would give me more opportunity to be a leader, and I like business–it’s in my blood. .”
“When I graduated, it was a full-time job looking for a job. Six to eight hours each day game planning, polishing the resume & cover letters for different roles, getting myself out there. It took about 2 months to get that call from Fidelity.”
What Berklee did the most for my future was surround me with all that creativity and back-and-forth with critical feedback. I learned to “take it on the chin,” and built that into my professional style. I seek out feedback on ways I can improve. It always helps to get different perspectives and I learn a lot.”
“Music is still my lynch pin and my fire. I play at least an hour per day, jam with friends, keep my eye on the music industry, and discover new songs. My trained ears will always be with me.”
“Berklee folks figuring out what you want to do, don’t be afraid to fail. Use the Berklee Alumni Network! Read read read about the industry you’re curious about. Learn as much as you can before you start interviewing. Whatever you want to do, HUSTLE!”