Internships @ Berklee Blogs catches up with Ethan Schiff, a Music Business / Management major, as he reflects back on some of the key lessons he’s learned at internships and how they’ve shaped his future career.

Everyone always says you learn from experience more than anything else. While that was something I’d always been told, I never truly understood it until this past summer when I spent three months in New York interning for two music business companies.

I found myself extremely humbled by the experience and couldn’t be more grateful for the opportunity. I came up with countless lessons I’ve learned that I’d love to pass along, narrowed down to a “Top 5”:

1. Let Your Work Do The Talking
I discovered that there really is no need to talk about past accomplishments if the work you’re doing can speak for itself. It quickly became obvious that staying focused to create a result you are 100% confident with says much more than telling someone what you can do.

2. Networking vs. Relationships
The term “networking” always seemed so vague to me, so I created a mental list of people I wanted to develop personal relationships with instead. Looking back now, I’m finding that the people I talked with about books, movies, and their families- rather than music or business- are those I have the strongest connections with today.

3. Be Early
Whether for a meeting or for a project deadline, it was always implied that people were either early or, at the very latest, on time, to everything.

4. Nobody Wears Suits, But They Also Don’t Wear Shorts
I was surprised to see that nobody I met all summer was wearing a suit or tie like you always see in movies or shows like Entourage. Dress was always casual, but if somebody came in wearing gym shorts and sandals, people definitely noticed.

5. Focus Your Thoughts
I made the dumb mistake of thinking I was being thorough by writing detailed, in-depth emails to my boss. Nobody said anything about it, but I spent a good amount of time observing the format of the company executives’ emails, and realized that they were saying twice as much as I was- in half the words. Once I trimmed my emails down to only focus on what mattered, I realized I was twice as efficient, in half the time.

I was fortunate enough to be offered a job at the end of my summer internship. I’m now working from home in Boston for one of those companies, and am confident that my effort to focus on these lessons was a major factor in that result. I still have so much to learn, and am greatly looking forward to my future mistakes so I can continue discovering these valuable lessons.

Author Bio

Ethan Schiff began focusing on music business when he was 16 years old, booking local bands in his hometown of Columbus, OH. He has continued to grow and now, between internships and personal projects, currently has experience in artist management, booking, digital and strategic marketing, PR, and publishing. For more info on Ethan’s experience and current projects, you can visit his website at: