Members of NAAC were asked a series of questions regarding their transitions from a career path in music to one outside. In reading these transition stories it is our hope that those of you considering your own transition might find comfort in identifying with our stories and support in our network of alumni.
Andy Mantel '82
BGI Consulting Group
Strategy Consulting/Financial Services
Transition Questions & Responses
Q: What skills and attributes did you use from your NEC education to enhance your transition to another career?
AM: "The music education was one that focused on discipline and prepared me for parts of my career that have involved being both a sole contributor and team collaborator. Music required being successful by being independent. In addition, for consulting, the creative aspects have been very important and a differentiator; the ability to think outside the box."
Q: How and why did you make this transition? (e.g. returned to school, networking, career counseling/ financial stability, life style of performer, family reasons, etc.)
AM: "There were a few reasons. One was simply chance. I ended up working in a bank right after graduating because I needed a job, and found I enjoyed the business environment. Another was that music had been more of the transition for me. Prior to NEC, I had always had part time jobs that were not music oriented. There was also the question of artistic solitude. As a theory major focusing on composition, I was looking ahead and realized that I didn’t have the psychological makeup to commit to that much time alone."
Q: What did you find most difficult in making this transition?
AM: "For the most part, people in the “outside world” have no idea what it takes to be an artist or performer, let alone an appreciation for artistic temperament! It took a while to adjust to “9 to 5,” and I don’t think I ever did. That is a primary reason for my opting to be a consultant. In addition, when I went back to school for an MBA degree, although I was well qualified in thinking creatively, I had some catching up to do in basic academic skills."
Q: What are the positive aspects of being in an alternative career?
AM: "Number one, it has allowed me to still be involved in music, but in different ways aside from making my own music. Of course, the financial benefits of an alternative career make this possible. I have enjoyed the wider circles of people as well. It’s a very large world…"
Q: Share one lesson or “tip” that you learned through this transition from a music career into another profession?
"There are so many lessons; it’s hard to share only one! I would say I have learned to keep an open mind about what the future may bring and how one’s passions can be satisfied in a variety of ways."
Q: How do you balance your passion for music with your current vocation?
AM: "I’ve done it a few ways. Twice during my career I have taken sabbaticals for up to one year to focus on the arts. In addition to music, I have also dabbled as a writer. On a regular basis, though, I do try to keep up some level of piano practice, even if it turns out to be thirty minutes a week. I would love to do some composition, but that just has not figured into my mix of activities. I have also kept up a network of friends who are primarily working as musicians. I do what I can to help support their careers and artistic organizations. Living in Boston, it is quite easy for me to stay involved with NEC, so that actually becomes a primary way that I can keep up the musical passions."