ISB MBA Career Options - Product Manager
Updated: Feb 10
The dream job for MBA students across the world is becoming a Product Manager. It is one of the most preferred jobs according to Glassdoor. Why not! It is one of the most coveted jobs which lands you great packages.
Who is a Product Manager: If you are someone who is entrepreneurial, innovator, collaborator, manager, have deep operations knowledge combined with a technical background you almost qualify for being a product manager.
Life of a Product Manager
Speaking about a day in the life of a Product Manager, let us tell you it’s never the same as the previous one – Every single day is filled with unique challenges and progresses. Their day-to-day responsibilities encompass intense interactions with engineers, tech leads, customers, designers, legal experts, finance people, and the marketing/sales team.
No wonder many of us struggle to understand what product managers do. A Product Manager’s role displays a wide level of variance depending on the size of the company, size of the product, stage in the lifecycle of the product, and also the level of seniority.
However, ultimately, the basic and crucial role of all PMs encompasses a collaborative interaction with several development teams to accomplish pre-set goals of product design, development, and customer satisfaction.
Some major functions of a Product Manager include:
Undertaking core product activities such as making sound Product Requirement Documents (PRD), and contribute to the vision, ideation, and usability testing.
Colluding with the design, engineering, and cross-functional teams.
Resolving conflicts and disagreements between different teams working on a product.
Sustaining a rapport with the customer and customer support teams.
Inducing motivation among team members.
Performing intensive research on industry trends, competitor intelligence, and academics.
What else do you require to become a product manager?
For most organisations you qualify to become a product manager is you have 5-10 years of experience in the specific domain. Prior work experience as a project manager adds value to the product manager role. Clear and strong sense of ownership and excellent communication skills are a must for being a successful product manager. It is a role which requires you to extensively communicate your ideas and work across the organisation not only the specific department that you deal with.
The role of a product manager requires one to have a good understanding of technology. These are closely followed by the expertise you develop through an MBA course like an ISB MBA.
Some courses that help you build the right profile for a product management career path are:
Upgrad - Duke Corporate Education - Product Management Certification Program
IIM Lucknow - Wiley - Product Management Certificate
IIM Bangalore Online - Creating Successful New Products
Courses that can help you become a product manager in India are:
We will also discuss below the International courses that are suitable for aspirants on the product manager career path later in this article.
What knowledge that you can acquire during an ISB MBA to become a successful product manager?
NEW PRODUCT DEVELOPMENT
New product development includes conceptualising new ideas, evaluation of new ideas with respect to financial and marketing basics and finally, implementation and integration of products with technology and other vendors. Through specific courses during an ISB MBA you learn how to lead the ideation, technical development, and launch of innovative products.
A product manager is required to establish consensus throughout the company on priorities resulting in product execution. Equally important are project management skills and team management skills which a good MBA course as an ISB MBA can evolve.
Courses on new product development elaborate on product management life cycle, design, development, release cycle, and delivering products to market.
MARKETING & FINANCE MANAGEMENT
Understanding markets, price fluctuations, analysing competition, and user requirements in depth is a primary function of a product manager role. A product manager should be competent to integrate usability studies, research and incorporate market analysis into product requirements to enhance user satisfaction. It is also important to define and analyse metrics that inform the success of the product in question and competitive products. A major in marketing in an ISB MBA covers the spectrum of these topics crucial to a product manager role.
One of the key skills that is taught in the MBA course is innovation management. A product manager should be seasoned in developing innovative solutions using business logic and creative problem solving for some of the hardest problems by collaborating as required with teams and vendors across regions, product areas, and functions.
To understand the organisation's strategic and competitive position and deliver products that are recognised as best in industry is a product manager's key role. With his independence and flexibility a product manger should be capable of· accomplishing a high-level strategic thinking, creative problem solving and orchestrate the team to maintain the organisation's competitive advantage. Leveraging knowledge and experience driving the product vision, go-to-market strategy, and design discussions is a key responsibility of a product manager. Ability to influence multiple stakeholders, creative problem solving, organisational, and analytical skills are subtle talents you develop during an MBA course especially an ISB MBA.
LEAD THE LEADERS MBA courses are the perfect training ground to build leadership skills. A product manager needs to be seasoned in driving product development with a team of world's best players like engineers and designers. The success of a product manager is measured by his ability to achieve maximum efficiency in a continually evolving environment with formative process and creative solutions are the tenets of operating.
ISB MBA primes the student's collaborative interpersonal communication style and excellent presentation skills are imperative to qualify as a product manager. The number of years one has demonstrated the orchestration of delivering results with a different set of clients and teams add to their qualification as a product manager.
Another key skill that one develops in the MBA course is the ability to undertake contract negotiations, build superior organisation behaviour skills in exception handling and escalation, and work with various stakeholders to work out the best possible resolutions for both short term and long term. As a product manager you have to build cohesive relationships with team members across the organisation and ensure smooth information flow and project collaboration. Any prior work experience of managing external clients and internal teams to build the organisation and implement projects would add value.
A product manager uses data to solve business problems utilising Six Sigma and Lean practices to optimise the operations processes. If you aspire to become a product manager after your MBA course, pay attention to data analytics be it any sector that you are involved in. Proficiently collecting data on existing processes, analysing it statistically to model decisions and discover inefficiencies is a key responsibility of a product manager. Decisions driven by analytics are a way of life for a successful product manager.
This seems to be an odd addition to the list of skills you acquire during an MBA course that add to your qualification as a product manager. Leading companies appreciate extremely entrepreneurial Product Managers to help innovate and execute product initiatives across the company. An entrepreneur skilled at leveraging resources with a willingness to get their hands dirty to get the job done is an excellent product manager. The ownership perspective and balancing act of an entrepreneur works wonders to get great products to the market. Experience as an entrepreneur makes one comfortable with ambiguity and change which gives the organisation a composed and poised product manager.
Business school environment like that of ISB MBA gives exposure to an engaging peer network which is a close simulation of what you need to do as a product manager. Deftly managing deliveries for deadlines, collaborating across diverse teams, ability to judge capabilities and working in a high pressure environment is the grooming that the best MBA courses provide. These are innate capabilities that make MBA graduates suitable as product managers.
A lot of aspirants ask us if doing an MBA course from a particular business school will land them a job as a product manager. A one year program gives the structured knowledge of
the subject areas involved to function as an efficient product manager. At the same time the MBA course can not overwrite the years of work experience one has acquired. If you aspire a career as a product manager a good MBA course will prepare you to get there, but the trajectory will also be largely marked by your previous work experience.
Optimising the learning curve and corporate interactions in the MBA course can set the ball rolling for you to achieve this career goal. A close look at your resume will help to earmark transferable skills for the goals you aspire.
International Programs for Product Manager Career Track:
Carnegie Mellon University - Technology Strategy and Product Management MBA Track (Formerly Technology Leadership)
INSEAD - Product Management Executive Programme
Berkeley MBA for Executives Program
NYU Stern - Tech Product Management
Wisconsin MBA - MBA in Brand and Product Management
Kellogg - Technology Management Pathway
Carnegie Mellon University - Masters in Product Management
Northwestern - Segal Design Institute - Master of Product Design and Development Management
Management of Product Development (MSc, Executive) at the HECTOR School of Engineering & Management - Technology Business School
Brand and Product Management - Victoria School, Australia
Software Product Management Specialization - University of Alberta, online
Global Product Development and Management MSc - Cranfield University UK
Share your profile with us to evaluate which is the right course for your profile, years of work experience and career track and application assistance for the same.