From the time I arrived at HBS, I knew that my path to finding a summer internship wouldn’t be very traditional. Although I’ve managed to find others that share my career interests, working in the music industry remains an uncommon path out of business school.
My job before HBS was at Apple, Inc. working in the iTunes group. For many years, it was the most important digital release platform in the music industry. Yet we were disconnected from the creative part of the industry, far away from the people pushing the boundaries artistically.
My goal coming to Harvard was very clear: that I wanted to experience what life was like in the creative part of the music industry. In my opinion, a great place to do this is in artist management. Not only are these companies taking power and responsibilities away from record labels as a result of technology advances, but they are the ones working directly with the artists that make the music we love to listen to.
The kind of companies I was targeting don’t recruit on campus, because they’re too small and don’t have a lot of funding. So I knew that it would take me longer to convince a company like this to bring on an MBA intern for the summer. Luckily, I had many industry contacts from my time at Apple, so it was just a matter of reaching out to these people to see who might be interested in my help.
My music “specialty,” if you will, is electronic dance music (EDM). It’s incredible to me how quickly this genre established itself as a huge player in a multi-billion dollar industry (especially in the live show segment). So, I decided that I wanted to work at a small company that was managing a huge, global brand, and DJs fit that mold quite well. This narrowed down the list to a handful of companies that support the biggest DJs in the world: names like Avicii, Calvin Harris, Skrillex, and Tiesto.
After a trip with friends to Stockholm, Sweden last summer, the company that stood out to me was the one supporting Avicii, owner of one of the most-streamed tracks on Spotify ever. Not only is the company located in an amazing European city, but the impact they can have on the industry is enormous. Also interested in having a new life experience, the thought of living in another country for awhile also sounded pretty cool.
I started out by offering my services to At Night / PRMD during the school year for free. I agreed to help them find new artists and music that they might consider partnering with to release music. After establishing that I did in fact have good “taste,” I eventually asked the company if I could continue working with the team over the summer.
They were initially hesitant: no one had time to come up with a structured summer project plan for me, and they wondered whether they “needed” an MBA level intern. Not to mention, budgets are tight. With some great advice from Harvard friends and faculty, as well as the incredible HBS Media & Entertainment Summer Fellowship, I was able to convince the team that I could come on board and come up with my own plan for how I could add value to the team, and do so in a way that the company could afford.
Couldn’t be more excited to have my dream job, in my dream city, and am very grateful to HBS for the opportunity.
This post originally appeared on the Career and Professional Development blog, Stories and Strategies.