Successful Berklee Alumni #180: Michael San-Pascual

Michael San-Pascual

Left Berklee in 2009 (Tested out of his last course and officially graduated in 2010) with majors in Songwriting and Music Business. Principal Instrument: piano.

Position: Product Specialist (Operations Quality Engineer) at YouTube TV, part of Google. One of five Product Specialists on the 25-person Operations Team, Michael mostly focuses on keeping the product going, integrating new TV shows and related images, and making sure nothing is missing. He oversees subcontractors (“vendors”) who do much of the work, and experiments with new processes to improve efficiency.

Overview: Michael moved home to NYC after leaving Berklee in August 2009, and spent the next 7 months finishing an album and his last course requirement. With those done, he looked for a job in the music industry, but the economy was bad and the best he could find was a low-paying administrative job at a small sheet music publishing company in New Jersey. He didn’t like the work, and left after 6 months, spending 2011 and most of 2012 waiting tables and managing a small restaurant. Wanting to get back into music, Michael applied widely, and was hired by a wealthy woman who dabbled in music to publicize her new album. But after a bit over a year she started moving away from music, so everyone working for her was let go.

Michael applied widely for a new position, and was hired by a subcontractor (“vendor”) for Google, working for YouTube and in charge of tracking down the creators of songs to that YouTube could pay creators. Over the next two year he was promoted to team lead, then operations manager. Google them told his team that they would be launching YouTube TV soon, and the vendor sent Michael to the Bay Area in April, 2016 to be their liaison for that and set up a TV team. However, within a couple of months Google hired him as a direct employee on their TV operations team — a much more desirable position, which he has been doing ever since.

You can see Michael’s LinkedIn profile here.


Choice Quotes: I really enjoy creative problem-solving. Songwriting was like that — how do I get the chorus to transition into the next verse. A lot of my work, whether technical or tactical, is like that. I might have to decide what’s the best way to measure things, set up systems to measure it. There’s often no defined process on the problems I’m working through–the company is dealing with them for the first time, so there’s a lot of room to try things and it’s really rewarding when something is fixed. Also, digital TV is very new and exciting. Unlike music where the current big labels are dominant, digital TV is a very open market and anything could happen — it’s a very exciting time to be in TV.”

“I’ve learned that it’s a very big day-to-day lift to make the product work. It doesn’t just go on its own.”

“Good on you, Berklee students, for following your dreams! Being passionate on what you do is critical to being happy in the long run. But also be open to change–it’s not a bad thing. I took some risks. Remain open minded and you’ll find something that works for you.”

“In the songwriting major, I like to fuss around, but couldn’t do that on an assignment with a writing partner. That helped me learn to work with others and help get something off the ground, methods I continue to employ at my job.”

See the full index of successful Berklee alumni.