Interview | Candela Peña

Learn how our MA Music Business alumna's studies helped prepare her for an industry career. 



MA Music Business alumna Candela Peña might have only finished her studies in 2023 yet is already progressing her career quickly with a new role as an intern with Sony Music's sync team to start in January 2024.

Initially wanting to develop a career as a musician, Candela's ambitions turned to sync, then grew during her time studying with ICMP.

After achieving a high first with her degree, including a final research project delving into the 'Income Disparity at Coachella Festival: Examining the Contrast in Wealth during the Festival Period', she is now looking to the future with Sony Music.

We caught up with Candela to learn more about her studies, career and how ICMP's Masters programme helped elevate her career...

What led you to ICMP? 

I studied an undergraduate degree as a performer, but halfway through the second year, Covid happened and I decided I didn't want to pursue this. Instead, I was much more interested in the business side of the industry.

That was when I found my passion for music sync. After uni, I researched how to start a career in sync and found that the best way would be to learn all about copyright law and licensing. 

An MA in Music Business seemed like the best option - and that's how I ended up at ICMP. I investigated various universities and courses and ICMP felt like the best fit. 

How did you find your studies? 

I joined the course literally wanting to get purely into sync. There were a lot of people who wanted to get into marketing, who wanted to be a manager, then artists who wanted to work out how to navigate the business. 

The course and studying alongside my peers really helped me open my mind - and realise that there was more in the business that I could get to grips with. 

I left the course thinking sync is still what I wanted. However, if it didn't work out for any reason, then there were other avenues I learned during the course that I really enjoyed.

We did an entrepreneurship module - then my final dissertation was on live music. It really opened my mind to appreciate how the industry is multi-faceted."

I believe you worked during your studies - what did you do and how did you balance your degree with your job? 

At the same time as studying, I worked as a coordinator assistant for a Formula 1 exhibition that moved around Europe. 

Yannis Iliopoulos and the ICMP tutors were really willing for me to have this professional opportunity alongside my studies. As a coordinator, I helped with logistics and operations, I was the first contact for external companies who wanted to work with Formula 1. 

I moved to Madrid for a month and a half to open an exhibition there. Again, uni was super helpful in supporting me and I was still committed to getting my assignments ready and attending my online classes. I had regular one-to-ones each week with Yannis when I was in Madrid. 

They advised me to take the professional opportunity and said how they would adapt the course - which was amazing. It was challenging at times to balance both but it seemed to work out well in the end. I was thankful to both ICMP and Formula 1 for helping me pursue both opportunities at the same time.

Congratulations on this new opportunity with Sony! How did you find your way into the industry after your studies? 

I finished August 2023 and I still had my Formula 1 job. But as soon as I finished my MA, I knew I wanted to pursue music industry opportunities. Having the Formula 1 job released me from the initial stress of needing to find something else to pay the bills.

Before my MA, I applied to Sony for a sync internship and got to the very last round of applicants but wasn't successful. After I finished my MA, I thought I'd try again to get this opportunity alongside some other roles.

I also talked with Yannis a lot, he was so supportive and I contacted many different professionals, went for coffee with lots of people - then at the end of November, after a lot of interviews with Sony, they called me to offer me a job. It was the best phone call ever and I start in January. 

How important was the network you made at ICMP? 

My best friends from the course are the ones I spent all my time with when I first came to London. Then I think the most important connections came through the professionals that are your tutors. We'd meet a new industry guest every week or two - if I was to give any advice to future students, I would say get their contact details. 

The teachers are still willing to help after you leave. I emailed all of them to say how I was looking for a job, they would do introductions - they are there for you even after you have graduated."

How did you find studying an MA compared to your undergraduate studies? 

The biggest change is how you're considered to be more of an adult. No one is going to keep asking you to do an assignment. You are expected to be more independent, act like a grown up about your studies, and take responsibility. 

It was way more academic, that was the biggest thing - everyone expects you to do the minimum and study in your free time. 

I also found that people of all ages would study the MA - some had professional experiences in different sectors within the entertainment industry, some who had already had several jobs and degrees. It's definitely a different, exciting level of study. 

Do you have any advice for aspiring MA music business students on how to get the most from the course? 

People say this all the time, but your network is so important. If you have the right people around you, then that can go a long way in helping you. 

In terms of the course in general, fight for what you believe in too. There are obviously guidelines around assessments that you need to respect but if there are things you think might help you more professionally and personally, then you just fight for it, as long as you can justify them. 

I remember there was one module on marketing and entrepreneurship where you had to create a product and a brand to launch that would help solve an issue in the industry. I created something I really believed in and was proud of - and I wanted to expand that to make my marketing plan on the product rather than on an artist. I had to fight for that - but I thought I would gain learn more from doing that. 

How do you feel about the course now?

It all worked out perfectly - doing the Masters, then getting the opportunity at Sony now. My studies really helped me get the job. I've now finished Formula 1, and am really looking forward to starting this new job at Sony.

Congratulations again to Candela on securing this great opportunity!

Connect with her on LinkedIn.​

Equally focused on Music Business & Entrepreneurship

The music business is an incredibly competitive environment – and over the last 30 years, ICMP has developed and refined a cutting-edge degree that now focuses equally on entrepreneurship. We’re the first music school in the UK to recognise that you need to understand not just marketing, management, finance, digital, creativity and all the structures and quirks that make the industry unique, but also how to forge your own path, create your own job, and change the future for the better. With access to ICMP’s fully equipped music facilities, exclusive industry events, masterclasses and a peerless contact network, we have it all covered.

To completely immerse yourself in your music career, email our friendly Admissions Team at or call them on 020 7328 0222.

School of Music Business
by ICMP staff writer
December 30, 2023
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