PCSB and Beyond: An Interview with Jack Downey ’23

PCSB and Beyond seeks to engage members of the Providence College School of Business community in meaningful dialogue about the importance of an education that combines studies in business with the Liberal Arts and other areas. The podcast is hosted by Madison Palmieri ’22, Editor for the 2021-2022 Benjamin Family Social Media Fellows. A Rhode Island native, Madison is also a Head Writing Tutor at PC’s Writing Center and an editor at The Cowl and Veritas.

MP: Hello and welcome to PCSB and Beyond, where we talk with Providence College students whose studies take place both inside and outside the Ryan Center for Business Studies and discuss how this has impacted them both inside and outside the classroom. We’re here today with current student Jack Downey. Thanks for joining us today, Jack. To kick things off, can you tell us a bit about yourself?

JD: Sure, I’d be happy to. So, my name is Jack Downey. I’m a current junior at Providence College. I’m about to enter my second semester of this year, and I’m very excited about it. I’m from Hingham, Massachusetts. I graduated from Hingham High School back in 2019. Here at PC, I am a music technology and production major with a marketing minor, and I’m involved in various extracurriculars, including The Cowl and WDOM. I intend to keep joining clubs as long as I’m at school, until I physically can’t anymore. So, we’ll see what the future holds. 

MP: Awesome. So how did your combination of majors and minors come about? What made you decide on it?

JD: Well, originally, I wanted to double major in marketing and music, and I found out that I would have to stick around for extra semesters to do so. So, I ended up picking the marketing minor, and then I transitioned from the regular music major to the music technology and production major. The reason that I combined the marketing minor with the music technology production major is because I’m in a lot of bands outside of PC, some back home, some in Rhode Island. Ever since high school, since I started playing in bands, I’ve had to learn how to market my music, market my bands, and market the shows that I’m playing. Marketing is very heavily intertwined with the world of music. I figured that if I was going to make the most of my major, I was going to have to add that extra level of business knowledge to my degree. 

MP: Yeah, definitely. So I know you just touched upon this a bit, but would you like to elaborate any more on what you like about this combination?

JD: I love music. Music has been my passion ever since, probably, middle school. Once PC began offering a music technology and production major, that was a no-brainer for me to take on because it has a practical use in the real world. I mean, technology is such a huge buzzword, really, no matter where you go. Even though music technology is very specific, it teaches you how to use computers in all sorts of ways, and how to use different technologies. You kind of have to learn how to do that on the fly, so it’s a very useful skill to have. Marketing is something that I’ve always been interested in. When I first started the minor, I was under the impression that it was a lot of campaigns, commercials, flyers, and things like that. I’ve only taken two courses for the minor so far, but through those courses, I’ve learned that there’s a lot more to marketing than what I previously thought. It’s about how to read people, how to read shifts in society, and how to read trends. I think that’s always really cool and it’s also very important, particularly as a musician, to stay on top of those things. 

MP: Yeah, definitely. So what has studying both inside and outside the business school taught you? Do your business classes help you with your non business classes, and vice versa?

JD: Looking at the business courses, especially, I took Buyer Behavior, or Consumer Behavior, last semester, and I would say that that helped “even things out” because I’m a junior, so I’m starting to take a lot of courses associated with my major: I took a lot of music courses, and I think taking the marketing course kind of helped keep me grounded. Having these business courses not only gave me a break from all the music, but it also gave me information that I can use anywhere, no matter what I choose to do, whether it be for the major or for any extracurriculars that I do or anything going forward, really. It helped add an extra dimension to my schedule that I wouldn’t have had otherwise. 

MP: Yeah. Awesome. So how has this combination helped you outside the classroom? How has your program of study led you to any unique experiences or to consider a particular career?

JD: The first class I ever took was Intro to Marketing, and I took that with professor DeFanti, and I guess I did well enough in this class because he and I have actually stayed in touch. He gives me contacts both in the music industry and in other industries, as well. He, two other students, and I were actually talking about working on an entertainment marketing club. Having Professor DeFanti as a contact has been very useful, and he’s someone that I intend to keep talking to. 

MP: Awesome. So looking forward to the future, how do you think studying both marketing and music might help with internships, careers, et cetera.?

JD: For music, on the one hand, having a marketing background, as I mentioned, with my bands, it helps promote things. Promotion is such a huge buzzword in music because it’s something that very few people actually know anything about. Knowing how to market and knowing how to promote really anything, whether it be a music business or a band or a venue, anything, it’s a very useful skill to have. It’s just a matter of knowing what you’re doing. I think if venues or booking agents or really anybody in the music industry sees that I have this business experience, it gives me an extra leg up on top of my passion for music because, again, a lot of passionate people in music don’t really know a lot about business completely. And on the other hand, having a music degree, I think, gives me an advantage in a business sense or really in any other industry because it’s a unique perspective. It teaches you a different way to think. I went into the music program at PC not actually knowing that much about music. I went in just enjoying playing guitar and making music and all that, which is great, but what college has taught me is how to read music, how to write music, to understand music, which I knew nothing about going into freshman year. By the end of freshman year, I had a pretty solid grasp on these skills. It was almost like learning another language, and I was able to understand it in less than a year, which just indicates, I think, a certain capacity for learning that I think can translate into any industry, really. Trying to work business into my music has given me a unique perspective in terms of how to market things, how to deal with money, and how to make connections. Music, and just being in a band in general, has given me a lot of business experience. So hopefully, again, I can convey that in an interview because there will probably be some people—if I don’t go into a music-related job—who will ask, “oh, you studied music? How is that going to translate to this job?” because music seems, on the surface, to be a very niche interest. But, you know, as I just said, there’s a lot of criteria that go into being a successful musician, the skills of which can be translated into really any job. 

MP: Yeah. Definitely. So one final question for today. What do you think are the benefits of combining business and non-business studies?

JD: So much of the modern world deals with business that I think you need to have a little bit of knowledge on how that works. Specific to PC, you have all these amazing programs, and if you’re only choosing to study one, I think there’s so much else you could add to that. It’s very useful to study other things. If you go out of school, you have business experience, but you also have experience with something else, that makes you stand out. So, I think business is a very important thing to learn, but it also needs to be somewhat tempered with something else. If somebody has a more well-rounded education, it opens so many more doors.

MP: Yeah, definitely. Well, thank you so much for joining us today, Jack.

JD: Thank you so much for having me.