My student experience


Graduate profile

Matt Buchanan

"The department (and University as a whole) has some really fantastic industry links"
Course
Music
Graduation year
2011

What attracted you to choose Surrey and to study your course here?

Before studying on the Masters course I took the four-year BMus music course at Surrey, so familiarity and prior knowledge of the staff and facilities was a big deciding factor for me. As well as the modules being suited to my interests, I studied part-time around work in London so knowing the department and area really helped on this front.

What is your strongest memory of your time at Surrey – what do you picture first when you think of being here?

The Cathedral - it does dominate the skyline from most places within the University, and whenever I came to the campus I'd walk up to and around it on my journey from the station. The department held some really fantastic concerts in there too – whilst I was an undergraduate it was great being in the choir as part of a concert of Mahler's Symphony No. 2.

View over the lake on campus
Matt Buchanan

What is the one thing you would say about Surrey (or your course) to someone who doesn’t know anything about it?

The department (and University as a whole) has some really fantastic industry links – the emphasis on building connections to the wider industry in combination with academic study really appealed to me, and with the music industry in particular connections like these are invaluable.

How did you change as a person during your time as a Surrey postgraduate, and how has your time here influenced your life and career since then?

Studying part-time proved to be quite an exercise in time-management for me, so I think I'm more organised now as a result of the course if nothing else! For the most part it's helped me to be more confident and proficient in continuing my own research and musical activities alongside record label work.

What has been your career highlight to date?

Working as a record label manager to create several award-winning albums with Signum Records. Also being flown to Los Angeles for a songwriting session!

What are your top tips for students aspiring to work in your profession?

Make the most of social and professional networks and keep up to date with what's going on in the wider industry, as you never really know who might be able to offer you work or an interesting opportunity in the future. Working in the Arts in London in particular, groups like YPIA offer networking evenings and events for people in entry-level positions which can be a great start to building your own network of contacts.

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