As Ben Hodges demonstrates, an education in music can take you to some interesting places. After finishing his education at ACM with a degree in Professional Music Performance, Ben took the skills he had acquired and went into a line of work many might not have expected from a music graduate.
Ben settled for a career not on the stage but in IT, joining the FDM Group Graduate programme in 2013. During his training, he secured a placement working as a Project Support Officer at the Ministry of Justice. We caught up with Ben to congratulate him on his success in the civil service, and asked him how his time at ACM helped him to find the career path that was right for him.
What brought you to ACM and what was your programme of study?
I studied music at GCSE and A Level and wanted to find a university that embraced more modern music as well as performing standards. I came across an ad for ACM and went to an open day and was blown away by the building and knew I had to join.
What was the best part about studying at ACM?
The creative classes where music had to be written and performed in the same session were brilliant. They used to take everyone out of their comfort zone and inspired us to really collaborate with people we may not have known and try new things. Never thought I’d be performing a remix of a Dr. Dre track with Florence and the Machine style lyrics!
What is the most important thing you took away from your time at ACM?
Understanding the way in which people work and learn. The experience from being in a function band, Pulp Function, and an originals band, The SouthDivide, has given me greater knowledge of the way people work.
Being in a band requires a lot of dedication and ACM was a great place to meet people that I have remained friends with 3-4 years after graduating.
How does a degree in music performance help in your current role?
When I finally decided that a career in technology was the route I was going to take, it was difficult as I did not have a STEM degree. However FDM Group, an international business and IT services company, recognised the wide range of skills gained during my degree and most importantly, my potential to excel. I passed assessment centres and joined the training stream to become an IT consultant. As with music, there is a sense of creativity and desire to experiment within IT; whether it is designing a new service that broadens the horizon for opportunity or updating a service with fresh ideas.
During FDM’s 3 month training, I achieved every certificate for project management and was fortunate to get a client placement with the Ministry of Justice in my first interview, just 5 weeks into 12 weeks of my training. As in any interview post University, I was asked about my degree and to what extent it had honed skills and developed attributes. FDM recognised the transferable skills gained at ACM and appreciated my passion for music which could be associated with my commitment to pursue a career in IT.
What advice would you give people studying music but unsure about the kind of career path they go into?
I’d advise them to study music if they’re passionate enough and willing to put the effort in. They’d have a great time and learn a great deal but shouldn’t be afraid of changing their career path if they want. As long as they can prove they’re dedicated.
What are your aspirations for the future?
For now, I’m focused on project management but as the name suggests, projects are temporary, so I will be moving into different clients around London. Whether they’re government ministries or investment banks, I want to gain as much experience in this role as I can.
ACM would like to thank Ben, and FDM, for taking the time to chat about his forthcoming projects. For more information about FDM, please visit their careers page.