Nick Napoli '18: Connections and Grant Made Music Internship Possible

Nick Napoli wanted a summer internship in his music/business field, but he faced obstacles.

First he had to find an internship position. Management Professor Roy Stein connected him with Ashley Villone '12, a graduate of the music/business program who works at BMG Rights Management music publishing company in Manhattan. "I don't think I would have gotten the internship with BMG if I was one of 400 music/business students [at a larger college]," says Napoli, a sophomore when he started pursuing an internship. "Roy isn't even my advisor. I just walked into his office to ask if I could talk about internships sometime, and we talked for 20 minutes right then." Through multiple conversations with Villone during the next six months, Napoli secured an opportunity.

Then he had to get there. Napoli lives in Brookfield, Connecticut. The two-hours-each-way commute was costly, especially since the internship was unpaid, but trying to live in Manhattan for the summer would have been much more expensive. A new effort at Nazareth to make great real-world learning experiences possible provided a grant of $1,100 to cover his travel expenses. "It makes a night-and-day difference. I was very grateful, because it made the internship do-able," says Napoli, part of the grant's early pilot phase.

"Nazareth's SPARK Grants are a new way to enhance our commitment to preparing and guiding students on their professional paths," says Emily Carpenter, director of Nazareth's Center for Life's Work. "We don't want cost to be a barrier to meaningful experiences like internships and study abroad/away. We also want to encourage these opportunities early in students' college years because they provide such great relationship-building, learning, and growth that they can help students get even more from the rest of their education."

A SPARK Grant, which stands for Students Pursuing Academic and Real-world Knowledge, is open to new students within 24 months of their start date at Nazareth (or within 12 months for transfer students).

Napoli's intern experience

Three days a week during the summer of 2016, Napoli sat at a desk near Villone and helped to update and manage royalty and licensing records. BMG (a legacy of Bertelsmann Music Group) specializes in music rights management and representing artists and authors.

On the 19th floor of a building on Broadway, Napoli entered client information into the server, fixed previous information, organized information about royalties and clients in different spreadsheets, re-addressed returned envelopes that needed to get to clients, and worked with the royalties team to help resolve other issues that came up in the department.

"It's just awesome to be at such a big company," Napoli said during that summer experience. "This internship has been teaching me how the music industry works. It's going to help me in my classes for sure. The internship is showing me the big picture that isn't in books. It definitely helps to literally work with clients on a day-to-day basis. I'm actually doing the work and learning on the fly."

Napoli also sat in on video conferences with BMG executives and employees in England, Belgium, and other countries, gaining insight into how the music industry differs by country.

"My supervisor, David Schneider, pulls me aside into his office during the work day, where he speaks to me about the industry as a whole and teaches me about what it is that BMG does for the music industry. Through this internship, I've discovered that I'm capable of working more proficiently on a computer and a keyboard than I previously thought. I've also learned that the professional workplace doesn't have to be stressful. BMG is very casual and seems to prosper because their employees are content and believe in the company itself. This internship is definitely preparing me for a full-fledged career in my area of study. I decided to study music/business at Nazareth because I wanted to stay close to music but be able to work a steady real-world job."

At Nazareth, Napoli appreciates that none of his classes have more than 25 students, so all his professors know him. He's a saxophone player and a jazz minor. His jazz professor lines up gigs in the community, making it easy to perform at restaurants and clubs four or five times a semester.

Nick Napoli, music/business internship at BMG

Nick Napoli '18

Fun Facts

  • Napoli also has a passion for amateur body building and won third place for men at the National Physique Committee Connecticut Grand Prix 2016, a junior physique competition.
  • He is learning more about exercise and physiology through his customizable three-course integrative studies sequence, a feature of Nazareth's "uncommon core" curriculum.
  • He is a certified personal trainer through the American College of Sports Medicine, which qualified him to provide personal training through a Nazareth campus health effort. He worked with a total of 16 Nazareth students and professors in 2016-17. He also has worked at World Gym as a personal trainer.

Nazareth Annual Fund

The Nazareth Annual Fund supports seeding, creating, and funding new initiatives like the SPARK Grant. Learn more about the Annual Fund.