45 days ago; I made a post on LinkedIn. Calling those who seek to pursue a career in Product Management and are finding it difficult to break it. It got 6500+ views, 300+ professionals reached out to me, I spoke to 116 of you and exchanged messages with another 100.

You might recollect a list of questions that I has asked in our conversation. Below is the result of that survey (total count = 220)

Survey Results
1. Have you applied for a Product Manager position?

70% never applied for a PM position outside of their current company. They did try to move into a PM role in their current organization (called as Career Transition); however due to various reasons; did not get a positive response.

30% applied for a PM position outside of their current company.

2. Did you get a call for an interview?

From those who applied only 30% got a call for an interview. 70% never heard back from the company. The top assumption; as to why they might not have got a reply was “I’m not from IIT or IIM college”. This was surprising for me and a new learning about perceptions. More on this later.

3. Did you go for the interview?

Everyone who were called for the interview; went for their Interview. (some were reluctant to tell me if they skipped but I’m ignoring those few individuals here)

4. Did you hear back after the interview?

Astounding 85% people never heard back from the company. This was also the most frustrating experience of the interview.

Remaining 15% heard back. Most of these 15% got a positive response but their compensation was not lucrative enough to peruse. Others got a negative response stating that they did not qualify in the interview round.

5. Did you consider formal training in Product Management?

Almost everyone said they considered but no more than 12 – 15 individuals actively pursued professional training online or offline.

6. What did you consider?

Of those who considered. 90% considered Udemy and/or Coursera. 10% considered diplomas and private short term courses. 2 People considered full time post-graduation.

7. How much time do you think it is worth training for to get into Product Management?

On an average most people are willing to spend 2 hours/day and 8 hours/weekend.

They are willing to do this for up to 6 months and then hope to get a job as a Product Manager.

8. How much cost are you willing to incur to get into Product Management?

There was a huge variance here. Range was Rs. 10K/month to Rs. 1L/month (for max up to 6 months). However, most of you mentioned that you can spend more and it depends on training and more specifically practical training and value you get out of the training.

9. If you have a full time job, then when would you train for PM role?
Most suggested offline training on weekdays and online (in person or on video channel) training on weekends.

That’s the summary of all the answers you gave to me.

Some of you might be wondering what is the use of this data?

Two Takeaways

1. You are not alone with this challenge. So stop feeling under confident and/or undermining yourself as not good enough. There is a methodical way to break in.

2. Many of you have already decided; that you might not get a PM Job. You have never applied (70% of you) and given a PM interview and for those who applied and were rejected; you now have more experience that everyone else. I congratulate you. Each failed interview brings you closer to success. We will talk about this point later.
Going forward I will try to do one mail a week.

Each week we will pick up an aspect of Product Management and dive deep.

How best to use these emails to your advantage?

1. There are various roles, responsibilities and job descriptions for a product manager; depending on company’s culture, needs and structure. Do not use these emails as default “the only right way”. Instead use these emails to build a framework for Product thinking.

2. Most of the material I will send will apply to someone who wants a career in a B2C company. (Business to Customers). I do not have personal experience in B2B. However, most principles will apply in B2B as well.

3. Use the email to understand core concepts and what is expected or required by a PM. Then use the links provided to go online and dive deep into each of the concepts.

4. Practice! Practice! There will be some practice challenges I will post each week, do find time to Practice.

5. Be regular! If you are one of those; who star mark emails to be read later but then never get time for it. You would not find much value.

Fundamental Framework of Product Management

So with no further delay here are the 3 things to train on:

PART 1 – I can solve problems?
PART 2 – I can identify the right problems?
PART 3 – I can make business value while solving these problems?

Hence IAMAPM

Next week we will dive deep into the fascinating world of Product Management.

Regards
Sumit