Media & Communication Department
Career of the Month
The Department is proud to feature monthly profiles of Media & Communication Department Alums, describing their individual career paths and sharing tips with students on how to plan for their own future careers. Profiles focus on the wide range of careers that our liberal arts oriented program has helped to launch.
This month the spotlight is on International Marketing and Public Relations , featuring a profile of Mike Alexander, Class of 2005. Mike returned to Walson Hall in Spring 2011 to interview students for internship positions at Island Def Jam Records and agreed to be interviewed himself.
Mike Alexander, '06
Following performers such as Bon Jovi and Justin Bieber around the world seems like a job that could only exist in the movies. Yet, this is what Muhlenberg alum Michael Alexander gets paid to do. As the Director of International Marketing at Island Def Jam Music Group, Alexander is responsible for the coordination of Marketing, Sales and Publicity when artists tour abroad. He splits his time between traveling and working in the New York City office. While the combination of music stars and world travel may sound like a dream job that one works toward from day one, this is not how it was for Alexander.
As a sophomore at Muhlenberg, Mike didn’t know what he wanted to do after college, so he began looking in the Career Center’s alumni database. Among the entries was a Class of ’01 alumnus, Tom Simon, who was working for Universal Records at the time. Since Mike was interested in music and marketing, he thought he’d give it a shot. He contacted Simon and was given the opportunity to interview. This networking connection made it possible for Mike to intern at Universal Records for the next two summers. When Mike began his post-college job search, there was an opening at the Island Def Jam Music Group, a daughter company of Universal Music Group. Mike got an entry level job as an assistant, and steadily worked his way up to his current position, heading the International Marketing division.
The skills garnered while a student at Muhlenberg helped Mike achieve his current position. In particular, he cites his campus job at the front desk of the Admissions Office. He says that in the world of media and communication, conversational skills and personality are important. Working in the Admissions Office helped him to open up as a person and aided his communication skills. He also cites the use of the Career Center and networking as crucial to securing his initial internship placement at Universal Records.
Muhlenberg has an extensive alumni network. According to Mike, there are “so many great alums with great jobs,” who provide many opportunities for student-alum networking connections. Being from Muhlenberg is an “automatic in” in some places, and he advises students to take full advantage of the opportunities that this networking offers. Mike is part of three generations of Muhlenberg students and alumni who have interned at and been hired by his company. He continues this tradition of connecting with Muhlenberg students. As part of the MC2 Alumni Network, he recently held on-campus interviews for a summer internship in International Marketing with the Island Def Jam Music Group.
College internships are important, Mike says, and everyone he knows in the field got their foot in the door as an intern. Mike's advice is that it’s never too early to start looking for internships. Furthermore, he says it’s important to try different jobs and aspects of a business. In fact, his one regret is returning to the same internship at Universal Records two summers in a row.
Above all, his advice to students: don’t stress out in the job search, it’ll happen eventually. Just take advantage of every opportunity you have to get a foot in the door. And, don't forget to enjoy college-- it’s the only chance you’ll get.
Allison Hollows, Class of '12, conducted and wrote this interview.