Siri®, Tell Me About Berkeley Global Alumna Gabriela Guimarães

Brazilian alumna shares her experience on finding her dream job in Silicon Valley

Ever wonder who is behind the scenes discovering what new functions Siri® can do? Well, that just happens to be the job of Gabriela Guimarães, one of our Berkeley Global alumnae! 

After studying with Berkeley Global in 2013, Gabriela explored different careers in Silicon Valley. In 2018, through her network she found an opportunity that changed everything.

Official Apple employee
Official Apple employee

Gabriela was initially accepted as an intern with the department that works on Siri®. We’re happy to report that she is now the Siri® Engineering Program Manager at Apple. Her primary role is to be the bridge between the product marketing team and the Siri® engineers. As such, Gabriela listens to the consumer’s wants and needs and confirms with the engineering team that the new ideas are possible. All the while, she continues to brainstorm how to market these new functionalities to the public.

So the next time you are walking down the street and see a Siri® advertisement, think of Gabriela!

But how did she get this amazing position? Let’s take a walk down Gabriela’s memory lane.

Before Berkeley Global

In 2013, Gabriela completed her undergraduate degree in economics from the Universidade Federal de Uberlândia (UFU, Brazil). Originally thinking that a career in economics was her calling, Gabriela began to feel uncertain of this path.

After some research on her own for additional education that focused on professionals, she came across our Berkeley Global full-time certificates. She instantly knew that this was where she was meant to be. Although she had visited California before, she had never experienced Silicon Valley and was intrigued by what it had to offer. Of course, she wanted to experience Northern California weather, as well!

“I heard Berkeley students were very focused on their school work and that was something I was really looking for in a university,” explains Gabriela. She especially wanted a program that would better prepare her for the workplace, provide networking opportunities and help her learn more about the business world. And that’s exactly what she gained.

Professional Education In and Out of the Classroom

Apple Conference
Apple Conference

Benefit #1: Networking

By attending various events in the San Francisco Bay Area, Gabriela met all different types of people in the business field.“I feel that because I put myself out there and networked with people, I was able to get more interviews in the area,” Gabriela recalls.

Benefit #2: Global Community

She was also able to study with people from all over the world, each bringing their own perspective to the classroom. Outside of class, “my friends and I would love to travel together, go on hikes and visit San Francisco,” she says. “Seven years later, I still keep in touch with a friend from South Korea.”

Benefit #3: Instructors Are Working Professionals

“Berkeley faculty are very knowledgeable and great mentors,” Gabriela says. “The courses were always entertaining and relevant.”

Study Abroad to Silicon Valley

After completing two semesters of study, Gabriela applied for Optional Practical Training (OPT), which allowed her to remain in the United States to work for another full year.

Gabriela meets Oprah Winfrey!
Gabriela meets Oprah Winfrey!

With limited time to find a job after her studies, Gabriela landed the role as a Monetization Specialist with YouTube. There, she ensured highly viewed videos were being monetized within the South American region. She reached out to users and explained how the process works. She enjoyed this job as she had the opportunity to speak with well-known Brazilian “YouTubers.”

After her year in that position, Gabriela was offered a job as a Policy Specialist and continued her career at YouTube. With this intense job came a lot of eye-opening experiences.

She worked directly with a team in India who would review flagged video content. She enforced and created new policies as needed due to the ever-changing Internet. Seeing graphic content was difficult for Gabriela. However, she was the person stopping these videos from being publicly available. Thankfully, through her interventions, Gabriela was able to protect the public from viewing a lot of uncomfortable footage.

After her two years with YouTube, Gabriela felt it was time for the next step in her career and education. No time was wasted in pursuing her master’s degree in business administration at the International Technology University (San Jose, Calif.). After graduation, Gabriela re-entered the job market with an M.B.A. She landed jobs at an insurance company and at a startup but didn’t find these to be a fit for her professional goals.

Enter Apple.

The Big Apple

Now we come full circle, seeing Gabriela thrive as the Siri® Engineering Program Manager. And she brought Berkeley Global with her on this journey.

Gabriela and friends

Years later, she continues to practice skills she learned in class in her day-to-day work. “At my job, you are required to put together many presentations,” Gabriela explains. “Every time I present at work, I think of the skills I learned at Berkeley. I think about what the audience wants to learn and how to make it an engaging experience.”

When asked for advice for future students, Gabriela responds:

“In life you will get some rejections, but it is all about the learning experience. If you don't get the job, you learned something new and you can use that for your next interview.”