Online Master's Degree Course

Culminating Experience in Music Business 1


Authored by Robert Lagueux


Course Code: OMBUS-693

Next semester starts September 23

12 Weeks

Level 6 - Degree Only

Level 6

All Master of Arts in Music Business students complete a culminating experience or thesis project. This experience is meant to be exactly as named: the culmination of your work in the program, the experience through which you synthesize all you have learned. The culminating experience helps to shape your next steps in the profession and in your career. In short, the culminating experience provides an opportunity for you to complete unique and original professional work. Through the culminating experience, you make a creative contribution to and/or define and solve a problem that exists in the profession. This contribution may take the form of a research project, a creative project, a practical project, and/or another project of your devising. Regardless of the form that the project takes—whether creative, research-focused, or practical in nature—the culminating experience represents the highest expression of your learning at the graduate level. 

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In this course, you will review and finalize the proposal that you developed in OMBUS-690 Music Business Research Methods. If necessary, you will also gain approval for your research form Berklee’s Institutional Review Board. You will also review the culminating experience guidelines that you learned in the Music Business Research Methods course. You will spend the semester developing your project, following your determined plan of action, and managing organizational and time management skills, to execute your research and work. You will finalize your culminating experience advisor, developing a plan to communicate and receive feedback. You will learn how to respond to, evaluate, and incorporate external feedback. You will also learn to compute, interpret, and present data and results to support the project. Upon completion of this course, you will have completed a substantial draft or appropriate portion of your culminating experience. 

By the end of the course, you will be able to:

  • Develop a draft or substantial portion of your culminating experience project
  • Execute, revising if necessary, the research required for your project as well as the planned scope of work and timeline for your culminating experience
  • Synthesize knowledge gained to develop an original contribution
  • Assess feedback and incorporate revisions as appropriate
  • Determine your culminating experience advisor, developing a communication plan and process
  • Assess all culminating experience requirements in terms of plans of action, documentation, research, and more
  • Compute, interpret, and present data and results to support the project
  • Examine the process of completing the culminating experience project 
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Overview Syllabus Requirements Instructors Request Info


Lesson 1: Beginning the Culminating Experience

  • Revising the Proposal
  • Productive Writing Habits
  • Reporting Research
  • Assignment 1: Culminating Experience Draft Proposal/Advisor Approval

Lesson 2: (Net)Working While Writing

  • Prioritizing Writing Tasks
  • Networking [in collaboration with Berklee Career Center]
  • Assignment 2: Revised Culminating Experience Proposal 

Lesson 3: Bird by Bird

  • Moderating Emotions
  • Imperfect First Drafts
  • Assignment 3: Culminating Experience Draft

Lesson 4: Incorporating Feedback/Documenting Your Professional Self

  • Incorporating Feedback
  • Building a Résumé [in collaboration with Berklee Career Center]
  • Assignment 4: Revised Proposal Draft and Reflection

Lesson 5: Pitching Yourself

  • The Elevator Pitch as Introduction [in collaboration with Berklee Career Center]
  • The Literature Review, Reviewed
  • Assignment 5: Literature Review

Lesson 6: Peer Review, Part 1

  • Giving Feedback Constructively
  • When Feedback Bites Back
  • Assignment 6: Peer Review 

Lesson 7: Methodology

  • Methods or Methodology? 
  • The Elements of Methodology
  • Assignment 7: Methodology Section of Culminating Experience

Lesson 8: Building a Network

  • Your LinkedIn Profile [in collaboration with Berklee Career Center]
  • Getting Linked [in collaboration with Berklee Career Center]
  • Assignment 8: Results and Conclusion Section of Culminating Experience

Lesson 9: Peer Review, Part 2

  • Liz Lerman’s Critical Response Process
  • Assignment 9: Peer Review

Lesson 10: Stylish Academic Writing

  • The (New) Elements of Style
  • Assignment 10: Introduction Section of Culminating Experience

Lesson 11: Reflection and Completion

  • The Reflective Process
  • Assignment 11: Complete Draft of Culminating Experience

Lesson 12: Looking Ahead

  • Where to from Here
  • Reflection


Prerequisites and Course-Specific Requirements 

Prerequisite Courses, Knowledge, and/or Skills
Completion of Music Business Revenue Streams, The Business of Music Marketing, Data Analytics in the Music Business, Music Business Finance for Entrepreneurs, Music Business Law, and Music Business Research Methods or equivalent knowledge and experience is required.



  • Students intending to do statistical analysis for quantitative projects will need a statistics package of their own choosing, such as R (recommended, free), SPSS, or Stata.

Student Deals
After enrolling, be sure to check out our Student Deals page for various offers on software, hardware, and more. Please contact with any questions.

General Course Requirements

Below are the minimum requirements to access the course environment and participate in Live Classes. Please make sure to also check the Prerequisites and Course-Specific Requirements section above, and ensure your computer meets or exceeds the minimum system requirements for all software needed for your course. 

Mac Users

PC Users

All Users

  • Latest version of Google Chrome
  • Zoom meeting software
  • Webcam
  • Speakers or headphones
  • External or internal microphone
  • Broadband Internet connection


Robert Lagueux


Robert Lagueux is Associate Vice President for Academic Affairs, Dean of Graduate Studies, and founding Dean for Faculty Development at Berklee College of Music. He oversees Berklee's graduate-level degree programs as well as the creation of learning and development opportunities for faculty at all of Berklee's campuses, as well as for instructors at Berklee’s international partner schools. He has worked with faculty to enhance teaching and learning at the University of Chicago, Columbia College Chicago, and Northeastern University. As a Fulbright Scholar at City University of Hong Kong, he spent a year developing programs to support general education and leading teaching workshops throughout Southeast Asia.

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Lagueux is a music historian who has published and presented on topics as diverse as Leonard Bernstein and the medieval celebration of Christmas. He holds a bachelor’s degree from Harvard University and an M.Phil. and Ph.D. from Yale University. Read Less

Becky Prior


Becky Prior is the associate director of institutional research in Berklee's office of Institutional Research and Assessment. Her areas of specialty include survey research and data analysis, with a particular interest in diversity and inclusion. Most recently, she co-authored the BerkleeICE report on women in the music industry. She holds an M.A. in Comparative Literature from University of Colorado Boulder, and a B.A. in English from University of Massachusetts Amherst.

Brad Auerbach


Bradford C. Auerbach is a senior legal counsel with extensive and unique expertise in intellectual property law and licensing, business development, and marketing on a global level. 

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He has had success in structuring many groundbreaking deals with a diverse range of rights holders, including every record label, NFL, NBA, NHL, HBO, MTV, Live Nation, Marvel Entertainment, International Olympic Committee, English Premier League, Screen Actors Guild, every Hollywood studio, ESPN, Sesame Workshop, Getty Images, among numerous others. Auerbach has deep familiarity with each aspect of the media business, having sat on all sides of the deal-making table, on behalf of artists, labels, promoters, mobile, cable, satellite, internet, hardware, software, distribution, and production companies. He currently represents a select portfolio of clients in their branding and merchandising activities, including George Clinton, Parliament-Funkadelic, Frank Zappa Estate, and Keith Moon Estate.

Auerbach most recently directed all business development for Hewlett Packard Enterprise in the media and entertainment industry. Previously he was engaged as Executive Vice President at Epic Rights, handling merchandising and branding for top tier artists like KISS, John Lennon, AC/DC, Aerosmith, Woodstock, among many others. He was also Managing Director of Rock Paper Photo, the preeminent online gallery of rock ‘n’ roll photography, founded by Guy Oseary (manager of Madonna and U2). 

He has held the positions of General Counsel for Philips Media (a division of Royal Philips Electronics, Netherlands) and Head Counsel, Business Affairs for Astro/MEASAT (Malaysia), the premier direct broadcast satellite operator in South East Asia. 

Auerbach started his entertainment media career at Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment and his past clients include Warner Music Group, Playboy, and the Getty Museum. He holds a patent with Qualcomm relating to mobile phone media technology.

Auerbach is a guest lecturer at University of California, San Diego for two senior seminar classes in the School of Global Policy and Strategy relating to media, technology, and the law. He holds a BA from Hamilton College and JD from Boston College.  Read Less


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