Berklee Blogs hears from Ben Scudder, a Music Business major and current intern at The Echo Nest. In today’s post, Ben highlights the importance of company culture at an internship site- and what it means to an intern settling into a career path.

The Echo Nest culture is one that is very relaxed yet passionate.  I have heard it said inside that “we take our work seriously, not ourselves.”  This truly captures how life is inside those walls each day.  A hard approach that is money-oriented doesn’t seem to be in the minds of those who work at the Echo Nest.  This idea of honest work is further supported when I look on the company website.  For example, under the licensing tab of their website seen here, the process of licensing the use of the platform is discussed as well as basic expectations that the company has for licensees.  It says things like “don’t pretend the data is yours” and “don’t do anything illegal.” 

To me, this is making obvious that the licensee has the capability of doing manipulative things with the API but puts them in a position to use the honor system with the Echo Nest.  In other words, by spelling out these simple guidelines for all users to see, the Echo Nest is making a very honor-based system on the surface level.  I like the idea that they are transparent, are genuine with their users, and support lone developers by allowing them free access.

That being said, getting back to the question of what approaches motivate at my internship, I can say that a relaxed yet driven mindset is the most effective and healthy to have.  I should clarify that being driven to make the best product possible is the necessary motive, not to make the most money possible.  I am sure that in a management position, the mindset is naturally more money centered.  It only makes sense, as the management is largely responsible for the success and prosperity of the employees.  However I am simply suggesting that in a company where employees are passionate about their work and focused on making the best product possible, the success and monetary reward will come naturally.

Clearly this company has had great success in the short 6 years they have been around by following this mindset. This contrasts greatly with a major music company mentality, which I can personally attest to as I worked for a major label last summer.  It’s all about the music at the Echo Nest!

The work I am currently doing in a marketing/quality assurance role is a bit tedious to be honest, but I am happy to have the opportunity to be challenged.  My first two weeks were tough in some ways because I didn’t quite see the value of what I was doing.  I was doing practice work that wasn’t directly impacting the company, something I was eager to do from the start.  Yet, I reflected and realized I needed to be patient and that the practice was enabling me to excel more at the real projects which I have just recently begun.  These are projects that have a direct impact on clients in some way, which is exciting to be a part of.  I have learned that there is value in all the work we do, even though we may not see the results in the way we wish.  At the very least, we develop and grow as people through our work, especially when we take an active role in reflecting on those work experiences.

In the last two years, I have done a lot of reflecting and determined that I want to steer my career path more into the business field.  I have aspirations to attend business school and get my MBA once I am done with Berklee- perhaps with a focus on marketing.  That being said, I definitely feel that the work I am doing in this internship is steering me in the right direction.  It is aligned with my career trajectory and will be great experience to have on my resume while applying to business schools and beyond.

Focusing on my business skills in a work environment, getting to know people in the office with a plethora of work experience, and having interview experiences during my internship search have all been great building blocks of my career path leading me towards my goal of business school and a stable career in the business field.  It’s exciting to consider how unique of an opportunity I have at the Echo Nest merging my passion for music yet planting the seeds of a career in business- one that deviates a bit from the traditional trajectory of Berklee alums.  I am thankful for the resources that Berklee has to provide students with this opportunity to branch out, grow, and explore all career paths available.


Read Ben’s Other Posts:


Stay Focused When Searching for Internships