While Sruthi Dhulipala is pursuing her Master of Science in Public Relations here at BU, she is also taking on a full course load at Berklee College of Music in the hopes of pursuing another master’s degree in Music Therapy. Dhulipala is also helping Dr. Edward Downes as a Graduate Assistant and working at the Questrom School of Business as its social media graduate assistant–all while participating in Suno, a BU a capella team.
You’re a graduate student here in the PR program, and you’re also taking classes at Berklee. Is that going toward a separate degree, or are you taking the classes recreationally?
Sruthi Dhulipala: I’m a international student, and I cannot come with an F1 visa to two universities, so I’m currently a master’s [student] in Boston University, but I’m doing a specialization in music production [at Berklee College]. It’s, like, an 18-week course and you do a Capstone project. You actually produce a piece towards the end of the course, so that counts for 16 credits for one semester. You need 36 credits to complete the master’s [program] at Berklee. So I’m working my way up there and once I graduate from here, I can officially enroll in Berklee. So my aim is to get dual masters’ [degrees], one from Berklee and one from BU, by 2019.
So how is all of that working for you right now? Because you’re also helping out with Questrom’s social media needs as a part-time job, as well, correct?
SD: So my schedule right now is pretty hectic, you could say. I’m doing 20 credits [here at BU]. I’m doing five subjects because I got into the Los Angeles program, so I have to complete all my credits now, and I’m working as an assistant to Dr. Edward Downes and I’m also working at Questrom. So it’s like I’m juggling four things: Berklee, Questrom, being a graduate assistant, and taking 20 credits. It’s sometimes too much, but I’m having fun, so I think it all comes down to having fun.
Also, if you think about it, my courses there and my courses here kind of match. I was talking to Professor [Dorothy] Clark about that. When I had a songwriting course [at Berklee], and I was doing an essay critique here, I could put my creativity from music to this essay critique. I was just learning about the waltz then, and I put that in my essay assignment and Professor Clark was really impressed, she was like, ‘How did you even think about it?’ It’s good that I’m trying to integrate the two subjects, finding that overlap even when it seems like there isn’t any.
How are you able to organize all of that in your mind and say, “I have to do this and this today,” and “X, Y and Z due this week”?
SD: I think it all comes down to managing your time well. If you think of it as “I’m doing this, this, this and this,” it sounds like too much, but it’s really not. If you work on short targets at a time like, “Thursday, I’m working on this, this and this,” and then you’re almost there, you took a step forward, and that’s how I see it.
I run with a small [planner] everywhere. If I don’t have the book, I feel like I’m screwed because it has everything I have to do. I’m working on assignments at Berklee, as well, so I have to keep my creative juices flowing. I have to produce a piece, so I’m trying to get inspiration for that, watching a lot of movies just to get a good inner chorus in my head.
You’re composing a piece for your Capstone?
SD: I have to write the song, I have to produce it, and then I have to compose it and then fix it. It’s interesting, a little different.
What’s your musical background?
SD: I’ve been learning music for 19 years now, because I started when I was in pre-k. I always studied vocals; I recently got distinction–very recently–from IndianRaga to level 5 vocals, but I want to get to level 8. There’s eight levels so I want to proceed further.
But in Berklee I’m doing music production, which is really different, because I want to broaden my horizons a little. I’m doing production just to see how the production aspect would be, how you would think it in your head, how to not just play a song, but how to make it in your head.
Music is my passion, so I want to do music therapy, which is kind of rare. I want some aspect of non-profit in my life, so this is how I’ll give back to society, doing music therapy. I feel like I have a skill, so I need to do some good with it, and music therapy is still kind of in the research phase now, but it’s not being implemented because you need time for it. So we’re still working on it, but I feel like five years from now it would go somewhere, and I would be a part of it.
You’re also in an a capella group at BU, right?
SD: I started singing at BU [with the group Suno] this year. We recently went to LA, to a South Asian a capella competition, and we won third [place] there, so we get to advance to the next level that’s in Chicago. It’s called All-American Awaaz. You know American Idol? It’s like the same thing for a capella. It’s a huge thing. I think this is the first year we were selected to go to Awaaz.
With all this on your plate, what are you planning on doing after graduation?
SD: I’d like to do entertainment PR because that will utilize my skills as a musician and my skills as a PR graduate, and I want them to mingle. I’d really like to work with record labels. After I hopefully get my two degrees from Berklee and BU, I will somehow integrate that. I see myself at a record label, and I could do both PR and probably produce something over there in LA.
I wanted to work as a PR person for music labels because I know how that works. I know how production works, I know how the stage works, how concerts happen, all the behind the scenes work. As a PR person, since I know what’s happening with the artistry, I can provide better client service. That is what I think from a PR person’s perspective.
So why not integrate something you already know and work within that, instead of working for a B2B tech company? I mean, I would do that, but it just wouldn’t interest me as much as a music client because it’s not what I’m passionate about. I just want everything that I’m doing to coalesce into one dream job.
Lexi Smith, Staff Writer
Lexi Smith is a junior in a dual-degree program, studying Public Relations and Middle East & North Africa Studies. She is a member of both the Air Force ROTC detachment and the club women’s rugby team here at BU.