A Spaniard born and raised, Carlos Gonzalez de Villaumbrosia grew up with a big dream of becoming a successful entrepreneur in Silicon Valley. After years of determination and perseverance, he made this dream a reality in 2014 by creating his very own educational platform.
But it wasn’t all sunshine and rainbows getting there. His journey included many job applications, visa denials, limited income and additional studies to become the CEO he is today. With a bachelor’s degree in both Computer Science and Industrial Engineering from Complutense University of Madrid, Carlos decided to supplement his technical background with further education in order to reach his dream of entrepreneurial success. And so he began his search for a professional program where he could learn more practical skills.
Starting With His Own Education
Carlos had always had an interest in attending a program with UC Berkeley. After some online research, it didn’t take long for him to find Berkeley Global’s full-time professional certificates.
This one-year program fit the bill: a curriculum focused in both global management and marketing, taught by top instructors and with a culturally diverse cohort. Carlos was thrilled to receive an acceptance letter and hopped on a plane to begin his professional studies—getting one step closer to becoming a Silicon Valley entrepreneur.
“I showed up to Berkeley excited about what it had to offer, along with a backpack full of dreams!” Carlos enthuses.
As an entrepreneur in the making, Carlos was both impressed and inspired by his instructors because of their real-world experience directly in the field. His Business Strategy course instructors, Gene Hendricks and Brandon Peele, greatly impacted his experience.
“It was more about the people, instructors and the environment than the actual courses themselves,” Carlos says. “In fact I am still in contact with many of my professors and classmates today.”
Riding His Way to Silicon Valley
Outside of the classroom, Carlos did not stop reaching for his goals.
He was involved with entrepreneurial groups on campus and within his cohort throughout the semester. But Carlos was always curious about what went on over the Bay Bridge—into San Francisco and Silicon Valley, the heart of the startup culture.
“I made sure to attend startup pitch competitions, TED Talks and hackathons,” he recalls. “If you are hungry to learn and not afraid to dream big, the San Francisco Bay Area is a perfect place to connect with like-minded individuals and unlock unexpected opportunities,” Carlos shares.
Throughout these events, Carlos was able to build his network with startup founders and learned the ins and outs of starting a business. Years later, this motivation would pay off in the form of starting his own company.
A Stand-Out Intern
Upon completing his last semester of Berkeley Global studies, Carlos wasn’t quite ready to depart. So he took advantage of our internship program.
After a few weeks of going through the application and interview process, Carlos landed a marketing internship with a social media startup company called Involver—which has since been acquired by Oracle! At that time, Involver was a fledgling startup itself and the perfect place for an entrepreneur-to-be. Carlos experienced a startup’s entire life cycle and learned the importance of having a strong team culture along the way.
Imagine. It’s 2010 and Carlos is interning at a company that would one day become part of Oracle’s cloud marketing suite. In 2010, iPhones were only three years old. Instagram and Twitter were just being released. “I loved working with Involver because I was literally able to live a ‘startup experience,’” Carlos recalls of his time there. “It was an accelerated process, so I watched all the steps it takes to build a successful company.”
Carlos translated all of his Berkeley Global knowledge straight into work at Involver, practicing his business and marketing skills, and even his personal coding know-how. At the same time, he brought a fresh international perspective to the company. Although an intern, Carlos instantly impressed his CEO, Ramhim Fazal, and other colleagues. So much so that they took an interest in his new ideas, skills and all of the amazing work he brought to the table. This interest turned into an opportunity to apply—and be accepted—for a one-year, full-time position as Product Marketing Manager.
Carlos explains, “I wouldn’t be where I am today without the support of my mentors; they introduced me to product management, which would eventually turn into my passion behind starting my own company.”
Mixing Education and Product Management
Fast-forward to 2014—Carlos decided to depart the U.S. to pursue his dream of finally starting his own company. He began an online education marketplace—Floqq. Less than one year later Floqq was invested in by top-notch venture capitalists in Europe. This quickly caught the eye of 500 Startups, an early-stage investment firm. With that, Carlos made his way back to the Bay Area to begin his next adventure.
During this time, Carlos reflected on his education opportunities with Berkeley Global and wanted to pay that amazing experience forward. He was determined to make his educational platform a reality.
Second time’s a charm, as you may now find Carlos as CEO of Product School, which boasts more than 1 million members! Looking towards 2021—Product School has become a global leader in Product Management training with a lineup of instructors who work at top Silicon Valley companies, including Google, Facebook, Netflix, Airbnb, PayPal, Uber and Amazon.
For Carlos, it is important that incoming students in his program learn from people working in the real world—just like his experience learning from industry leaders in his program.
He says, “My experience at Berkeley Global changed my life. I’ve been fortunate enough to pay it forward by hiring multiple alumni from my same program. I was in their shoes not so long ago!”