ISB MBA Career Options - Product Manager

What does an MBA education have to do with becoming a product manager? The role of a product manager has evolved largely over the last few years. The broad term product management now has specificities attached to it. Let's explore some product manager roles, what they involve and how does the ISB MBA fit.


Hiring for the Product management is approximately 12% in the functional recruitment at ISB placements 2022.

Top seven traits to identify if you are made for Product Management:

  1. Do you want to be a mini CEO?

  2. Do you possess a growth mindset?

  3. Can you imagine a new future and deliver it?

  4. Can you identify opportunities?

  5. Are you comfortable interacting with customers?

  6. Are you a problem solver? Are you creative and an innovator?

  7. Do you understand the EQ parts of of your product?

What are the different kind of Product Management Roles?

There are largely three categories of Product Manager roles today:

  1. Growth Product Manager

  2. Technical Product Manager

  3. Core Product Manager

If you are considering to shift to a product manager role, consider the ISB application process.


What does a Product Management interview include?

A product management interview is designed to delve into understanding how the candidate understands the important aspects of being a product manager.

Following are 10 important aspects of a Product Management Interview:

  1. Problem Solving: A case study is usually asked to gauge the problem solving skills of the candidate.

  2. Questions may be asked around improving a certain existing product. This again is an aspect of problem solving but also involves the aspect whether the candidates ask the right questions.

  3. Expect Guesstimates in a Product Manager interview.

  4. Since Product Management is largely a post MBA role especially the Growth Product Manager role, pricing and customer behaviour problems are very commonly asked.

  5. It is very important that Product Managers use the right and relevant metrics to analyse their products. Being able to specify the right metrics to measure the impact of any change or feature is also tested in the product manager interview.

  6. Product manager roles post MBA are expected to delve into market entry and a go - to - market strategy. Problems based on these aspects of the role are very common.

  7. Like every other profession, Product Managers have favourites. In depth analysis of a few products you appreciate as a candidate shows your professional inclination and motivations. Products that you like and why also show what are the driving factors in your decision making as a product manager. This is a counterintuitive question in a Product Manager interview.

  8. Technology is a part and parcel of what a product manager does. Expect technology based questions in your product management interview.

  9. Behavioural interviews have replaced the regular interview formats. Most companies have a behavioural interview section where past instances are reflected upon to predict the candidate's future behaviour.

  10. Lastly, definitely expect the HR interview towards the last round.


What are some companies which offer Product Manager roles at ISB?

  1. Jio

  2. Deloitte USI

  3. Honeywell

  4. Microsoft

  5. Razorpay

  6. Cisco

  7. Flipkart

  8. Innovacer

  9. Amazon

  10. Myntra

Get in touch with an MBA admission consultant at GOALisB for assistance on your ISB application.


What are the different Product Manager roles offered to MBA graduates?

  1. Product Analyst

  2. Product Manager

  3. Consultant Product Manager

  4. Senior Product Manager

  5. Head of Product


1. Product Management Role: Product Analyst


Usual Entry level: A professional with around two years of experience in a data analytics role and strong working knowledge of analytics technologies like Google Analytics, Clevertap, Adobe analytics.


In addition to having great analytical skills to work as a product analyst one must posses Advanced Excel knowledge, shortcuts, lookups, pivot table, macros, and be well versed with SQL queries, R Python, SPSS, Excel at the least.


2. Product Management Role: Product Manager

Usual Entry Level: 5 - 8 years of work experience depending on the organisation with atleast 1-3 years of software engineering work experience. To become a successful product manager experience with Agile and lean processes is a plus.

A product manager is expected to demonstrate traits of a good leader and be efficient in stakeholder management. Great interpersonal skills are essential tools for a product manager to achieve shared goals. A great product manager must have excellent quantitative and business analysis skills along with the ability to excel in an ambiguous decision making environment. These are skills that you gain at an impactful ISB MBA program.


3. Product Management Role: Consultant Product Manager


Usual Entry Level: This is a relatively more prevalent role in the International scenario than Indian. Dell Technologies internationally is currently hiring for multiple positions for this role.


Who is a consultant product manager? Someone with 5 to 8 years' experience in technical product management with a strong entrepreneurial mindset. A consultant product manager is someone who can handle product strategy, vision, implementation end to end in different client scenarios. This is a role for which a top tier MBA like the ISB MBA is almost a must.


4. Product Management Role: Senior Product Manager


Usual Entry Level: Depending on the recruiting organisation the senior product manager role is offered to professionals with 3- 5 years of product management experience and overall work experience of 5 - 10 years. This is a role essentially offered to management graduates so a program like the ISB MBA is definitely helpful.


Software engineering, agile development, strong domain knowledge and leadership skills are an absolute must to professionals seeking this role.


5. Role: Head of Product


Usual Entry Level: This is a role for a professional who has the ability to lead the growth of the organisation through amplifying existing products to introducing new products. Knowledge of the domain, experience in software development environments, excellent business skills, team management, stakeholder management, business strategy are all key to this role. Organisations look for professionals with 8 - 15 years of product management experience to hire for this role. Top tier MBA program graduates with the potential to steer business growth are the best fit.


Get in touch with an ISB admission consultant at Goalisb to chart out your plan for career growth.


Who is a Product Manager?

You almost qualify for being a product manager if you are someone who is:

  1. Entrepreneurial,

  2. Innovator,

  3. Collaborator,

  4. Manager,

  5. Have deep operations knowledge

  6. Combined with a technical product development background


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.


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.


What does a Product Manager do?

  1. Undertaking core product activities such as making sound Product Requirement Documents (PRD), and contribute to the vision, ideation, and usability testing.

  2. Colluding with the design, engineering, and cross-functional teams.

  3. Resolving conflicts and disagreements between different teams working on a product.

  4. Strong relationship management with the customer and customer support teams.

  5. Working with multiple teams.

  6. Extensive insights on industry trends, competitor intelligence, and academics.

6 skills you require to become a product manager?

  1. For most organisations you qualify to become a product manager is you have 5-10 years of experience in the specific domain.

  2. Prior work experience as a project manager adds value to the product manager role.

  3. Clear and strong sense of ownership and excellent communication skills are a must for being a successful product manager.

  4. 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.

  5. The role of a product manager requires one to have a good understanding of technology.

  6. These are closely followed by the expertise you develop through an MBA course like an ISB MBA.


How do you build the right profile for a product management career path?

There are online courses and certifications which can help you build the necessary skills like:

  1. Upgrad - Duke Corporate Education - Product Management Certification Program

  2. IIM Lucknow - Wiley - Product Management Certificate

  3. IIM Bangalore Online - Creating Successful New Products

  4. SCRUM Certification

Full time MBA Courses that can help you become a product manager in India are:

  1. ISB PGP MBA

  2. Executive MBA from IIM - the one year MBA

  3. ISB PGPpro

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 like the ISB MBA can help to develop.



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.


INNOVATION MANAGEMENT

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.


STRATEGY MANAGEMENT

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.


DATA ANALYTICS

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.


ENTREPRNEURSHIP

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.


ENVIRONMENT

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.


REALITY CHECK

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:

  1. Carnegie Mellon University - Technology Strategy and Product Management MBA Track (Formerly Technology Leadership)

  2. INSEAD - Product Management Executive Programme

  3. Berkeley MBA for Executives Program

  4. NYU Stern - Tech Product Management

  5. Wisconsin MBA - MBA in Brand and Product Management

  6. Kellogg - Technology Management Pathway

  7. Carnegie Mellon University - Masters in Product Management

  8. Northwestern - Segal Design Institute - Master of Product Design and Development Management

  9. Management of Product Development (MSc, Executive) at the HECTOR School of Engineering & Management - Technology Business School

  10. Brand and Product Management - Victoria School, Australia

  11. Software Product Management Specialization - University of Alberta, online

  12. Global Product Development and Management MSc - Cranfield University UK


Share your profile with us for application assistance for the best MBA and Masters programs for a product management career path.

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