“Make In India”. “Startup India”. Phrases like these are quite the buzzwords in media nowadays. Hidden behind these phrases is the story of India’s evolution from a “body shopping haven” to a “product innovator’s home”.
The global delivery model is perhaps modern India’s first innovation that made an impact overseas. The technology industry is now growing beyond these outsourcing roots and is flexing its muscle by innovating products and services for markets around the world. Companies like inMobi are examples of such newly confident Indian ventures grabbing market share in foreign shores.
There are thousands of startups vying to think out of the box and deliver exciting solutions to problems. Not to be left behind, the “big guys” like Infosys, TCS and Cognizant are incubating innovation hubs and product ventures too.
The profile of the people required to nurture and launch these products and services is different. The Institute for Product Leadership was established to service this movement by creating the product leaders of tomorrow – people with an unerring focus on product innovation.
Is it necessary to get an MBA to become a product manager?
An MBA is almost always advertised as a prerequisite for many PM positions – with good reason, because it is vital for PMs to have a business mindset. But in fact, most people into PM roles from an engineering background. They evolve into product managers, by learning on the job, often through tortuous trial and error, and cost to their career and the company.
But a traditional MBA –with a decades-old curriculum - has little, if any, relevance to the requirements of a modern PM’s role. An EMBA with a focus on product can be a much-required professional development “shot in the arm” that will give you the necessary skills to confidently tackle the world of products and deliver value.
Here are the top 3 reasons why –
● Shift the focus from projects to products – Most senior engineers or mid-career managers in India have inevitably cultivated a “project focus” – on meeting the next release deadlines to the customer, on aligning resources and managing to create, test, deliver and support the release.
A product focus, on the other hand, requires one to take a step back and look beyond the tenure of a project. A project manager’s job is done after the release, but a product manager continues to look to improving the experience for the next release, continues to talk to customers to better understand their needs, and defines a coherent strategy and roadmap to maximize business success for the product.
IPL’s EMBA is India’s only mid-career program that equips participants with the essential skills and toolset to become effective product managers.
● Get the big picture – A product manager needs a gamut of skills besides engineering acumen, including in areas such as user experience, design, pricing, marketing and strategy to be able to deliver the product the market wants. Perhaps the most important skill a product manager should cultivate is the ability to exercise influence on different people and teams without authority.
It is difficult, almost impossible, to gain these skills on the job, without rotating through many domains in the organization.
This is where the EMBA delivers value – by delivering a curriculum of relevant courses and work experiences that a Product Manager role demands, and by having students working through live case studies and examples to build a portfolio in these domains.
Institute of Product Leadership students also focus on developing skills such as Executive Presence and Influencing without Authority – skills that are invaluable in the Product Manager’s role.
● Experience the role in the EMBA sandbox - IPL’s unique Product Labs offers participants the chance to take a product idea through the paces – from evaluating it for problem-solution fit, building the business model canvas, and gleaning customer insights, to designing prototypes and creating product strategies and marketing roadmaps as the product takes shape.
Throughout this journey, experienced industry mentors and IPL faculty guide you with their insights and provide consistent feedback to finesse the product. This is an industry-first initiative that gives you a solid grounding in the nuances of product development and management. At the end of the experience, you also own a portfolio that you can showcase during your job search.
Several IPL alumni have leveraged this mentorship to become entrepreneurs by they launching startups for the product ideas they developed during their Product Labs sessions.