Nadia Senter , a Chicagoan by birth and an Austinite for the last five years, is a BHP junior majoring in International Business with a focus on Latin America and a minor in music. She is currently interning with the Texas Chapter of the GRAMMY’s here in Austin.
What are your aspirations and career goals?
After I graduate in May 2017, I plan to go straight to law school to pursue a career as an entertainment lawyer with a focus on the music industry. I’m passionate about advocacy and lobbying and would love to get involved in some form of legal consulting. Lately, I have been following the legal debate behind streaming services, so at the moment, the dream job would be to work in the legal department of a major player, like Apple Music.
Why did you choose BHP over other opportunities and programs?
Dr. Gerber, the Faculty Director of the International Business major described me accurately when she said “Business brain, liberal arts heart”. I’ve always considered myself an artist first and foremost, but I’m also a driven, goal-oriented, and entrepreneurially-minded academic. BHP was the only program that allowed me to pursue my two seemingly opposing lifestyles. I think I’ve had the best possible experience because I get to go to concerts and explore the weirdness of Austin on the weekends, develop hard skills in finance- which is surprisingly my favorite class at the moment - and collaborate with my high-achieving business-minded friends during the week. I love all parts equally, and I can’t imagine choosing to go anywhere else.
How has McCombs prepared you for your career goals?
Although I’m not pursuing a “conventional” path, I still feel as if my experience within BHP has prepared me extensively. There’s a sense of professionalism, optimism, and fire exuded by BHP students you don’t see very often. I’ve noticed that everyone in this program seems to be a game-changer in any situation. I don’t mean this in an arrogant manner but quite the opposite. To me, it’s humbling on a daily basis to be surrounded by such wonderful people.
Having worked with the the GRAMMY’s, I’ve been shocked to see how few students know how to write a proper email for example. My internship is typically not held by business students, and it came as a surprise to my supervisors when I came into my job presenting a SWAT analysis, excel models and step-by-step strategic goals for my position. Though I thought nothing of it, all of this was taught to me in my two short years in BHP classes. I’m not sure when this happened, but somewhere along the way BHP helped me become a more task-oriented, confident employee who truly enjoys networking.
How have you prepared for your career outside of McCombs?
Despite the professionalism I’ve learned in McCombs, the majority of my career preparation has occurred outside of the business school. My high school here in Austin actually offered an internship class, so my senior year I called over 100 local companies asking if they would take an unpaid intern. I received a lot of no’s and even more silence, but I finally found my aforementioned mentor, an owner of a local record label and retired rock star who has been truly pivotal in preparing me for my career and has even become as close as family. When networking at events, it really helps to have just one person in the room you know that can introduce you to someone else. The best advice I can give is to find a mentor- there’s nothing like having a personal cheerleader who wants nothing but the best for you. You’ll get a lot of no’s, but the one “yes” will make it all worth it. And I can’t say it enough, network, network network!
I heard you started your own company. Could you expand upon that?
When looking for internships last summer, I wasn’t too excited about any of my options. My parents have both worked extensively in the small business/start-up space, and I was raised with an entrepreneurial mindset. I was initially attracted to doing something grassroots in the music industry, and it finally clicked when my dad posed the question: “why would you go to LA, a developed, saturated entertainment market, when you could create something new that fulfills a need, here in Austin? You could help build the industry rather than try to insert yourself in it later.” It turned out that Blake Lueder, my friend and fellow BHP student, was of the same mindset. We decided to launch a company, Coda Music Consulting, here in Austin this past summer. We focused on providing a comprehensive service for up-and-coming artists in the Austin indie scene that lacked sufficient business acumens. We had no clue where to start in the beginning, but we were blessed to have a lot of professionals on our side trying to help us out. Coda technically still exists, but it’s relatively dormant at the moment. We both grew as businesspeople in so many ways this summer, but we also realized that as two young adults, it may be beneficial to have some structure, at least at the beginning of your career. Feel free to check us out at www.codamusicconsulting.com!
Are there any clubs or organizations that have aided you with your career goals?
My internship with the GRAMMY’s was born out of my membership in GRAMMY U, a philanthropic endeavor started by top artists and businesspeople in the industry to give back to students pursuing a career in the music industry. It provided me with endless networking opportunities with some pretty incredible people. I have been able to work directly with artists like Zac Brown Band, G-Eazy, Florence + The Machine, and countless others as well as top executives, such as the VP of Digital Marketing for Live Nation and the General Manager of Austin City Limits, to name a few. I’ve been able to work backstage with artists at ACL Fest and speak to them, as if I were an actual industry lobbyist. When it came time for me to apply for my dream internship with the GRAMMY’s, it was a no-brainer because I had already been given the opportunity to network with the recruiters for two years beforehand. I could go on for hours on how fabulous of an organization it is, but I’ll stop and just say this- if you’re at all considering a career in the entertainment industry, you’d be crazy to not apply for GRAMMY U.
On top of this, I’ve truly enjoyed serving on HBA Exec and as a peer mentor. I have such a strong love and affection for BHP, and being able to serve the community has been a highlight of my college career. Although not as directly applicable to my career, my involvement in BHP has made me a better teammate, event planner, public speaker, and for lack of a better term, mentor- skills that are equally relevant. I’m also on the Texas Polo Team and in Alpha Phi.
Why did you choose Latin American business?
First, it’s worth noting that throughout my whole life, people have been telling me I need to be a lawyer. In fact, in 3rd grade, I was deemed “most likely to be a judge.” For years, I rejected the notion because I thought it would be too boring, and coming into college I wanted to be an IB major. I’ve always viewed working abroad as a necessity and I’m currently working on being trilingual. However, during my freshman year, others convinced me that IB wasn’t even a real major. I looked into all different options, particularly MIS and Finance, but I never felt convinced either way. Finally, when studying abroad in Buenos Aires, I fell in love with the International Business class taught by an Argentinian professor. To my surprise, I was one of the only people in the room who enjoyed it, but I really was fascinated by the challenges posed by the ambiguity of entering foreign markets. As a self-declared connoisseur of culture and an entrepreneurial businesswoman, it’s no wonder I had always felt a pull towards the international space. My professor ended up pulling me aside after class one day and asked “Are you planning on going to law school? I’ve never had a student who thinks so much like a lawyer. If you’re not, please consider it.” Finally, everything clicked. By majoring in IB, and eventually getting a law degree, I could pursue a high-profile career in the music industry and find that ideal balance between business and liberal arts. The rest is history. I truly believe IB is the best major for someone interested in law because it teaches you to take a big picture approach to ambiguous problems. You have to be willing to disregard everything you know about business in the United States and essentially start from scratch. For some, this is terrifying and uncomfortable. For me, it sounded like a lot of fun. And as for the Latin American focus, I am working on fluency in Spanish with the intention of someday ending up back in Argentina.
What advice do you have for anyone looking to take "nontraditional" business paths?
I feel as if I’ve sprinkled some bits of advice throughout this interview, but to sum it up: don’t ever let somebody tell you that you can’t go after the job you want. It sounds cheesy, but some of the best advice I’ve ever received was:
“If you have a safety net, you’re probably going to use it.” For me, this meant pursuing a career in the music industry immediately upon graduation, rather than taking a higher-paying job and planning on getting a job in music later. If I used a different job as a safety net, I knew I’d never actually end up in music.
“Contrary to popular belief, you don’t have to do what you think you’re about to do.” This was told to me by a man who graduated from a top-tier business school only to become a musician afterwards. Just because you’re finance major does not mean you have to work in finance, or even business at all. If there’s something else out there you know will make you happier, do it. Not to diminish a business degree- because business rocks, and I secretly really, really love finance!
Additionally, it’s worth remembering that you are a fantastic student. I’ve been told forever that the music industry is incredibly competitive and I’ll have a very hard time finding a job. However, I’ve been exposed to tons of opportunities, simply by being a part of BHP and attending UT. You are the exception not the norm. Whatever you end up choosing to go into, there are going to be a lot of people who would love to help you out.
Finally, do your research. Find a mentor. Get into the game early. Network. While the opportunities will come, you will not have the luxury of OCR or recruiters banging on your door. I’m not saying it’s going to be easy, but it’s also very, very possible!