Graduating from Hamilton with a music major, pianist Ben Barzilai ’16 signed on for an internship at Two Shepps That Pass, an entertainment marketing and public relations firm in New York City. It suited him, and he stayed, working his way up to a position as the firm’s primary account manager. We asked Barzilai about his post-Hamilton life.
What’s the best thing about your chosen career?
I’ve been interested in music and entertainment all my life, and being able to work with artists and facilitate their creative goals is incredibly satisfying.
What’s the most challenging thing about it?
There is a big entertainment market in NYC. That means that, as a boutique company working with artists who are just starting out, we have to work twice as hard to make sure our clients rise above all the noise. Even with the amazing work our clients do, it is a challenge to generate widespread interest when there are just so many fun and entertaining acts in this city!
At this point, a couple of years out from Hamilton, what stands out as significant about your time on the Hill?
I’m sure that at this point, it comes off as a cliche, but the sense of community at a school like Hamilton was incredibly important. It not only gave me amazing friendships and a sense of belonging, but also played a huge role in my academic life. To feel so at home around my professors and academic peers — both in and out of the music department — gave me the confidence to ask questions and challenge myself. It created an environment where I was able to relate my lessons to those of students in other fields, and receive pearls of wisdom from my professors that went beyond the syllabus. These lessons are the ones that have stuck with me the most as a graduate.
Do you still think the liberal arts route was a good choice for you?
My ‘yes’ couldn’t be more confident. The liberal arts route provided me with the tools to think critically about the things I care about in ways that go beyond facts and numbers. To have had academic experiences in so many different fields was incredibly important to my personal and professional development, as it inspired curiosity and gave me the confidence to think creatively and to take on new challenges. As a marketer, the communication skills that liberal arts provide are invaluable, and have given me so much leverage to take on the professional world.