Berklee Blogs introduces Valerie Teicher, a Music Business major and spring intern, as she begins her internship at BMG Chrysalis, a rights management company representing publishing and recording rights, as well as at The Windish Agency, an independent NYC booking agency serving musicians, bands and DJs. In today’s blog, Valerie tells us how she approached her internship search with tips for first-time interns…
My internship search this past semester was a learning experience. It was quite a long process, but in the end I achieved the internships I wanted from the start, and learned a lot throughout. I came to the OEL with a few internship possibilities in mind—I wanted to intern at The Windish Agency, but was also interested in an internship at BMG Chrysalis that I had previously had to pass up last summer due to personal circumstances. I was open to other opportunities as well, and overall I applied to about ten different internships in New York City. I had about six interviews, and I was offered all of the internships I interviewed for! This allowed me to choose what felt like the best fit for me, and gave me flexibility. I ended up choosing to do two internships, at both The Windish Agency and BMG Chrysalis.
If I were to give summer-bound students advice on the internship search, I would tell them to stay open to all opportunities, and not close themselves off to only a few options. It is important to have focus on what you want to achieve internships-wise, but also important to not put all of your eggs in one basket, and the opportunity to interview and interact with a variety of companies is invaluable. I found that each interview allowed me to prepare better for the next. I would also say that choosing one or two cities to target would be a good idea, because different cities offer very different environment and opportunities. I think having in mind the kind of environment you want to live in and can afford to live in is a very good starting point. For me, deciding from early on that I definitely wanted to be in New York allowed me to target my search in a smarter and more practical way. Nevertheless, I stayed open to opportunities in Los Angeles, and did a couple of interviews just in case. This allowed me to get a feel for the different vibes in both the New York and LA music industry setting.
When it comes to the search itself, I found the OEL Database useful and easy to navigate, yet I did a lot of research and applications outside of it. This is mainly because there were a lot of smaller, independent companies that I was interested in for which I had to do more work on my own, and also because I knew that doing research and contacting people on my own would be to my advantage, as many students are relying on the database and it can be quite competitive. I found that it is very useful to continue contacting people and following up on applications, people in the industry are very busy and in my case I found that they often needed and appreciated persistence and reminding on my part.
Developing my resume and cover letters was not too complicated for me as I had already applied and done internships in the past, so I already had well structured templates for this. I do think that having a carefully built cover letter is very important, as in the beginning stages of applying this is the only opportunity you have to allow yourself to stand out. I put a lot of emphasis on well written, professional, and humble cover letters with firm language.
I will definitely bring all of these skills and experience to my future job hunt—particularly the interview skills I have gathered throughout the past few months. I have a better idea of what the search is like, and what companies are looking for. I now realize that there is less emphasis on what your qualifications may be when it comes to entry-level positions, and more on who you are as a person and whether you fit well into the environment of the company. This is why I think it’s very important do research and target your search to places that you think fit you well.
Valerie Teicher is a singer-songwriter and music business student from Vancouver, Canada. Originally from Bogota Colombia and having lived in several places throughout her life, she has a diverse background with a wide range of influences and interests. Having switched paths from studying psychology at McGill University in Montreal, Valerie attended the summer program at Berklee and was granted a scholarship for full-time study. Since then, she has immersed herself in the business major and has continued to build on her songwriting and performance skills. She is currently finishing her last semester, completing two internships in New York City at The Windish Agency and BMG Chrysalis, while working on her first EP as a solo artist.
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