Manuel Castellanos Raboso doesn’t like to sit still.
Ten years ago Manuel lived in Spain, worked full-time as a blacksmith and welder and held a weekend job as a DJ. He met some people from Minnesota while they were studying abroad in his city, Toledo. He decided to visit them a few times and eventually decided he would move to Minneapolis to start a new life. “I had to sell my house in Spain, and at the time I didn’t speak any English,” said Manuel. “But I knew I was making the right move. When I arrived in the States, I realized it was time to make a 180 degree turn in my education.”
He entered the MCTC Graphic Design program, but Manuel, like many students, had to find his path. “At the beginning of my program I didn’t know exactly what I wanted to do with my career,” he said. “The teachers gave me direction and helped me figure out what I wanted to do. I decided I wanted to focus on user experience and development.”
“My professors always offered to help after class—probably more support than I would have gotten in a bigger college. MCTC felt like a second home,” he said.
During his years as an MCTC student, Manuel took classes full-time, held a work study position in the MCTC Marketing and Communications department and maintained a teaching assistant position in the Design program. Manuel also served as a student advisor on the AIGA Education Committee and pursued freelance work as a graphic designer and web developer outside of school. “I started looking for internships and freelance projects immediately,” said Manuel. “I didn’t make a lot of money at first, but I was doing something related to my field, and it paid the same amount as I would have made in a coffee shop.”
Partway through his program Manuel’s colleagues started calling him “The Spaniard.” This became an important milestone in his career development. “I decided that it wasn’t a bad thing, and that I had to own it,” he said. “‘The Spaniard’ became my professional identity—my branding.”
Manuel’s commitment to his schoolwork, freelance projects, advising and networking paid off: He graduated with two degrees in three years. On graduation day he was contacted by an employer for an interview, and he received five different job offers within the week. “It was then I realized each job has a different work culture, and you have to find the one that works for you.” For two years after graduation Manuel worked for Sevnthsin, a local interactive design agency, and simultaneously taught web development courses at MCTC.
Manuel continues to chase his dreams. In January of 2012, he was offered a position at Adobe in San Francisco, CA. He worked remotely for a year as a software developer, and in December of 2012 he was promoted to the position of computer scientist and decided to move.
“I like to keep busy. I don’t like to watch TV, although music is what drives my inspiration,” said Manuel. “I think everyone can do anything in life. If you really want something and you work hard enough, you will get it. That’s how I was raised.”
Manuel likes to quote Picasso, who was also from Spain: “Only put off until tomorrow what you are willing to die having left undone.”