Successful Berklee Alumni #52: Loren Khulusi

Loren Khulusi

loren-khulusi

 

Listen to the interview (approx 1 hr, 3 min.) or download it.

 

Graduated in 2008 with a major in Music Production and Engineering (MP&E).  Principal Instrument:  guitar.

 

Position:  Product Manager at Dollar Shave Club.  Loren works on internal software tools built and used by the company.  He plans new features for the software, figures out what to prioritize and do at various times, reports on progress to the higher-ups, and coordinates with the engineers to get things done.

Overview:  After graduating Berklee, Loren moved to L.A. and worked for two and a half years, unpaid, for a music producer.  He toiled for long hours, and part of his responsibilities included building websites.  He eventually left to try to be a freelance music producer, but couldn’t get nearly enough decently-paid work.  Meanwhile, “people were chasing me to build them websites.”  At some point, Loren thought hard about his career direction and what could make him money.  He put away the recording gear and decided to be a freelance web designer instead.

Six months later, Loren was making some money doing freelance work, but still not very much, so when an old Berklee friend posted on Facebook that his (fashion) company was looking for a full-time web designer, Loren applied.  He got the job.  Roughly a year later, the company announced that they were closing down the small e-commerce department that Loren worked in in order to partner with Amazon.  Loren applied for jobs and reached out to recruiters, one of whom got him an interview with the Dollar Shave Club, which led to a job as a web developer, soon talked with building functional prototypes of websites.  Loren liked being an engineer fine, but found the product management job really interesting and though it looked fun, so he asked the people about it and how he could transition to it.  After roughly 1.5 years as an engineer at this company, he was offered a position in product management.

 

You can see Loren’s LinkedIn profile here.  Loren invites anyone interested in Product Management to email him at lkhulusi <at> gmail <dot> com.

 

Choice Quotes:  “Having an artistic background, I really enjoy communicating with the engineers and bring a vision to life.  It’s a lot like being a music producer, working in a studio, findingthe right people, bringing people together, herding cats, and making something great things happen.”

“I never thought I’d be doing a 9-5, but here I am and I’m happy.  It took me a while to adjust.  When I was at Berklee I thought working 9-5 wasn’t cool.  I was an idiot back then.  If lifestyle, financial security, and being able to eat is important to you, a steady job really can change your perspective.  I went from poor and struggling to making a very comfortable salary–my life changed overnight!”

“MP&E is a tough major, but it’s great prep for non-music jobs.  You just have a get shit done and time is very scarce.  That very much translates to life:  nobody’s holding your hand and you’re responsible for your destiny–you have a figure out a way to do what you need to do.”

“Never turn down an opportunity, even if you think it’s something you didn’t want to pursue.  In the beginning I wasn’t very interested in web development–I’d rather have been doing music–but someone told me, ‘Don’t fight it.  You never know where it will take you.'”

 

See the full index of Successful Berklee Grads.

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