Skip to main content
11 answers
11
Asked 653 views

What is the job description like for an entry level product manager? Is it advisable to get a masters in product management right after bachelor’s degree?

#business #management #productmanager#leadership

+25 Karma if successful
From: You
To: Friend
Subject: Career question for you

11

11 answers


2
Updated
Share a link to this answer
Share a link to this answer

Dean’s Answer

I don't think you could ever maximize a post graduate education without having experience to apply to the instruction. I personally worked for several years before completing my masters degree.

2
1
Updated
Share a link to this answer
Share a link to this answer

Robin’s Answer

I did not get my master's degree until 20 years into my career and I will never regret it.  I do wish I had gotten it earlier, although it was not required.

Thank you comment icon Thank you very much Precious
1
1
Updated
Share a link to this answer
Share a link to this answer

Ismail’s Answer

I'm currently a new grad PM in San Francisco, and definitely don't have a masters degree, nor a technical degree. Becoming a product manager is very difficult to do straight out of college though because they have so few positions and such high demand, but it is doable. Your focus should be learning how to build great products by asking "why" often when solving problems. Instead of focusing on the solution first, focus on the problem. In addition, being great at communication, teamwork, empathy, and product intuition are all very helpful.

My best advice is to start your own project - even if it's a simple product you want to build. It'll really help you understand how products can/should be built and what a PM might do on an average day.
1
1
Updated
Share a link to this answer
Share a link to this answer

Quy’s Answer

If you are interested in an actual Master's Degree in Product Management, I know that Carnegie Mellon University offer's a special degree in Product Management that you can check out:

https://ms-product-management.cmu.edu/

In general, you can also just get an MBA but an MBA is NOT required these days to become a product manager. If you have enough work experience, have a product mindset, able to understand user problems and/or good with data, then you have the right skills/tools to become an entry level product manager.

Quy recommends the following next steps:

Check out this other article: https://www.mbacrystalball.com/blog/2016/11/21/best-mba-masters-programs-product-management/
1
0
Updated
Share a link to this answer
Share a link to this answer

Daniel’s Answer

I personally would recommend having some work experience before getting a masters. I got my bachelors and worked for 3 years before going back to get my MBA. I think that 3 years in between were critical in helping me land my PM job. During those 3 years I did financial consulting so not related to PM but I think having real world experience goes a long ways even if it's in a different field.
0
0
Updated
Share a link to this answer
Share a link to this answer

Margaret’s Answer

Hi Precious,

For an entry level position, you will like do alot of work to support a more senior product develoment manager . Generally you would perform work and analysis to understand the market from profiling your customer segments and personas, benchmarking the competitors, learning about the distribution channels, market history and trends. You will also need to learn the product development cycle, processes, systems and vendors.

You do not need a masters degree to be a product manager. Like many of the previous respondents, I agree having a few years experience is helpful both in pursuing further study and choosing your concentration.
0
0
Updated
Share a link to this answer
Share a link to this answer

Varun’s Answer

The link below has a good description of different levels of PM.
https://www.productplan.com/product-manager-career-path/

I'd say as an entry level PM, your main focus would be to understand about the product/industry, technology , customer use case and collaborate with cross-functional teams (engineering, marketing, finance, support etc.) to help the team achieve their goals.
0
0
Updated
Share a link to this answer
Share a link to this answer

Pamela’s Answer

I would go get real life experience, and work for a company that will pay for a masters. You do not need a master in PM, you will be better served to get an MBA.

You have to be willing to start out somewhere first doing grunt work, doing any and everything that it thrown your way. Sit in on meetings, learn how planning is done, how backlogs are built, how user testing is accomplished. Ask to participate and help in as much as you can. Do not sit back and expect that you are above the entry level work. Every single meeting and experience will be a lesson for you. Be a go getter, a self-starter, someone who takes initiative. A boss will see that and reward you with responsibility that will help you grow into product owner. A great way to really get after it is to start working for a start up.

Thank you comment icon Thank you Pamela! Precious
0
0
Updated
Share a link to this answer
Share a link to this answer

Heidi’s Answer

Precious, I cannot speak directly to the job description of a product manager. However, I would like to address the second part of your question in regards to getting your Master's right after your Bachelor's Degree.

If you have the means and ability to move directly into a Master's program, I highly recommend it! No matter what career field you choose, many companies will take your educational background into consideration when choosing an applicant. Having a Master's degree will typically put you at the front of the line over individuals who posses a Bachelor's Degree. I do recommend choosing a broad field of study for your Master's degree that can be used in a multitude of careers (ie: Business Management). However, if you know that you absolutely want to pursue product management, do not hesitate to gain all of the relevant knowledge specific to that field.

I will tell you that it becomes much more difficult to go back to school to obtain your Master's Degree once you start your career. Some companies offer Tuition Assistance, which does help, but finding the time is typically the largest hurdle. I personally wish that I would have enrolled in a Master's program right after I graduated with my Bachelor's Degree. There are some companies that will only hire employees with a Master's Degree once they get to a certain level.

I wish you the best of luck in your decision and your future career path!

Heidi recommends the following next steps:

Research Product Management Careers via platforms like Indeed.com and look at the descriptions and requirements to see what level of education they typically look for.
Thank you comment icon Very insightful! Thank you Heidi. Precious
0
0
Updated
Share a link to this answer
Share a link to this answer

Janie’s Answer

Hi Precious,

I'm currently a product manager at a tech company in SF. From my personal experience, you don't need to get a masters in product management in order to get a job or be successful in your field (in fact, most my co-workers don't have their masters!).

Product Management, especially when you're first starting out, is about understanding a couple main things:

  1. What product do your customers actually want? What features does this product have (for example, for a product like Google Home, features would include, speaker, wifi-enabled, small size, etc)? Which ones are most important? Which ones are only nice-to-haves?
  2. How does your product make money or contribute back to the business?
  3. What's the path to building this product? What kind of time and money investment will it require? How long will it take?
  4. How do you explain this product to your customers in a way that's exciting and easy-to-understand?

As a product manager, you'll work closely with engineers, designers, user researchers, data analysts and many functions (or at smaller companies, you'll even work in these roles!). A lot of your job will be making sure you're focused on building the right things and you're on track to deliver it. You'll learn a ton of this on the job (life/experience is a great teacher!), and in the future, if you do decide to get a Masters, it might even be in a more specialized field that applies to a specific area/type of product you want to work on (e.g. artificial intelligence, hardware, social networks, etc).

Hope that helps!

0
0
Updated
Share a link to this answer
Share a link to this answer

Chao’s Answer

Hi Precious,

The real world Product Management experience would matter more than an academic degree. People working as a Product Manager come from difference majors, you do not have to have a Master degree.

There are multiple ways to prepare yourself for Product Management:
1. In some tech companies, they offer PM internship, Associate Product Manager position, PM rotation program or Product Specialist, those would be the program you can apply for to begin with.
2. On the job training and transition, many people transition from Engineers, Designers, Analyst, Teacher, Journalist to become a PM, so you are empowered to bring your unique experience and views into this discipline.
3. Online study or in-person training, there are some pretty good programs out there for Product Management, e.g. Coursera, Edx, Udacity, Udemy, Product School, etc, which you can start to prep for your career planning as well.

Hope that helps!
0