Manu Neelekandhan

Director, Ideaculture

Q. What are the most essential skills that a product manager should possess?

The most important skill for a Product Manager is to maintain the balance between his professional expertise and the requirements of the outside world or market. He has to understand the needs of people and match them with his technical knowledge to provide solutions. This balancing act is the biggest asset for a Product Manager.

Q. What is the scope for Product Management in India?

The IT Industry in India is still in its infancy stages. There is still two generations’ worth of Product Development work waiting to happen. We are in a pretty good spot as compared to the rest of the world as we have just started creating and consuming products.

Q. Who do you think can get into Product Management?

Anyone with a comprehensive knowledge in their professional domain, a strong sense of empathy and a sharp eye for the outside world can get into Product Management.

Q. What are your views on Institute of Product Leadership and its Programs?

From what I have seen, IPL is in a different space for Product Management.  The assortment of people, Courses and the internal work that goes on over there is very interesting. We will have to wait for a few years to see what sort of impact this differentiation will have on the Product Industry.  

Q. What are the 3 best products to come out of the IT Industry?

Zoho, Cleartrip and Zomato.

Cleartrip is my personal favourite. There are many tech products out there but developers still need to match all the expectations of customers in the competitive space.

Q. How does IPL differentiate itself from other B-schools?

In India every Institution differentiates itself based on specific skills as it is impossible to have a philosophy that caters to all. In due course of time I see the role of a Product Manager going beyond just the technological aspect. IPL has made a sweet spot for itself by focusing on Product Innovation and Development. Hence IPL has a bright future, and India needs 50 more such schools to cater to the demand for Product Management.

Q. How does IPL differentiate itself from other B-schools?

In India every Institution differentiates itself based on specific skills as it is impossible to have a philosophy that caters to all. In due course of time I see the role of a Product Manager going beyond just the technological aspect. IPL has made a sweet spot for itself by focusing on Product Innovation and Development. Hence IPL has a bright future, and India needs 50 more such schools to cater to the demand for Product Management.

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