Successful Berklee Alumni #59: Jordan Cusner

Jordan Cusner

 

Listen to the Interview (approx. 1 hr, 19 min) or download it.

 

Graduated in 2006 with a degree in Music Business.  Principal instrument:  guitar.

Position:  Market Research Coordinator at McCormick, a large company that sells spices and flavorings.  Jordan makes sure the right market research (surveys, focus groups, observations) is done to support products in development, coordinating with different departments, and writing reports.

Overview:  Hoping to be an entertainment lawyer, Jordan went straight from Berklee to Suffolk University.  However, he quickly decided that entertainment law was neither interesting nor well-paying, and elected to get an MBA at the same time as his JD, finishing in 3 years.  “I took law classes during the days and business classes during the evenings.”  Rewriting a poorly-written contract for a company his father-in-law was consulting for, Jordan impressed the right people and was given a well-paying 1-year contract job at a market research firm in the middle of the severe 2009 recession.

As that job wound down, another connection led Jordan to C-Space, a market research consulting firm in Boston.  It was lower pay, but excellent experience to obtain the in-house job he wanted.  Several years later he interviewed at Hasbro and was turned down…then re-contacted 6 months later and hired into a  market research job that was a better fit.  Jordan was happy at Hasbro, but family circumstances led to he and his wife moving to Maryland, where he got his job with McCormick.

 

You can see Jordan’s LinkedIn profile here.

 

Choice quotes:  “Fundamentally my job is about bringing the consumer perspective to our business, and to ensure that the consumer drives the decisions we make.  Just as with if you’re writing commercial music to sell and make a lot of money, you can’t think about what you like, but what a lot of people like.  It’s not always about you.”

“Coming out of school, I thought about working as a lawyer or consultant for Gibson (guitars), but working there doesn’t mean I’m a musician.  A guitar is just another widget.  I’ll be fighting the same legal battles, and writing up the same sort of contracts that I’d be doing for Chevrolet or whatever.”

“When you look for work, it’s not always about what you can do right now, but what you want to do down the road.  Position yourself for that.  I took a pay cut to work at C-space to build up my credibility in the research industry and then parlay that into an in-house job.”

 

 

See the full index of Successful Berklee Grads.

 

Jordan as a Berklee student, at a guitar class’s performance. with “I’m happiest when I’m playing music.  Berklee was a highlight of my life and one of my proudest achievements.  It was a blessing and a gift and I wouldn’t trade it for anything.  Also, my background is a good conversation-starter, and defines who I am.  I’m a Berklee guy.  I’m a rock star!”

 

 

 

A promotional video for Jordan’s “corporate band” (Meaning a band consisting of corporate employees who do other things normally.) when he was at Hasbro.  They played at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in a “Battle of the Corporate Bands” and made it to the finals!   At McCormick Jordan took the lead on their own band, “Sage Against the Machine.”  “When it’s your colleagues the audience really cares and are so enthusiastic.  They go wild!  They live-stream your show if they’re not there.  You really feel like  rock star!”

 

Jordan with his corporate band.  “You have to do what makes you happy.  I like my job, and I like playing music–and wish I could do it more.  But you also need to be pragmatic and pay your bills.  Expose yourself to different things because coming out of Berklee you don’t know much outside of music and there may be other things which work for you.  There are lots of ways to make a living outside of music and still be in the music world.”

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