Product Management is a right brain activity

A report on the second Career Day in April 2017

Following the success of the first Career Day held this year in February , the second edition was held on April 15th in the IPL Koramangala campus. It was a packed house at the IPL campus with 62+ IPLites attending the event. Several industry leaders and hiring managers took the time to connect with them and share their insights about what makes for hireable candidates and successful product managers today.

Personal branding using resume - Coaching Session

Leading up to Career Day, the Career Management Cell (CMC) held a Resume Writing masterclass online, sharing best practices for effective resume writing. As a follow up to the masterclass, Prof. Vasudev Murthy led a live coaching session with a randomly chosen set of participants from a fishbowl and coached them on how to present themselves in an interview with an aim to create an impactful personal brands.

The key takeaways of the session were:

● Start working on a resume from scratch and provide a strong goal/mission that will be the driving force in the profile
● Create separate versions of your resume for each job/role you are targeting and tweak the summary and skills sections accordingly.
● Highlight skills and keywords at the top of the resume
● Identify social styles correctly. Build Social media presence like writing blogs and use Twitter effectively
● Use whiteboard and write diagrams while answering some interview questions
● Always be ready to do impromptu pitch of your resume

Masterclass on Effective Networking Skills

A skill most desired in the market in the current times is most definitely networking skills. Industry veteran and Entrepreneur Vinod Podar took the baton to conduct a masterclass on Effective Networking Skills, touching upon what is required to create a strong and valuable network. The goal of the masterclass was to enable IPLites to become fearless while networking and make networking a natural instinctive skill. The session covered tips for both offline networking and online networking. Mr. Podar highlighted that networking helped identify and connect with people who would add value to you and vice versa.

Some highlights from the session were -

● Mr. Podar provided an insight on how to create an impression with your introduction being about how you could add value to the other person, instead of it mentioning just yourself.
● He elaborated on the etiquette of sharing your business card and pulled attention to the advice to never share a business card unless asked for it, thereby adding more value to yourself. As an add-on tip, Mr. Podar suggested that when ask for two business cards from anyone we meet, so that one could be used for your purpose and the other could be used to give to others in your network, thereby helping in promoting them.
● The session also covered ways to gracefully exit a conversation by creating a positive impression and also on how not to network.

Panel Discussion on Product Managers

A Q&A session on hiring the right product manager and the general roles being a product manager, with an elite panel of hiring managers of the bigwigs in the industry was one of the highlight sessions of the day, being moderated by Prof. Vasudev Murthy. The panel consisted of Mr. Balaji Kaisetty ( Founder of NayaGaddi.com), Mr. Rajesh Vorkady (CEO and CoFounder of Veeville), K Nageshwara Rao(VP Engineering at Unisys), Mr.Saravana Mani (Deputy Director at Product Council Nasscom) and Mr. Suresh Prabhu (VP & MD at Epicor india).

The Q & A session brought out interesting information and insights on what product management is all about.
Here are a few snippets:

What has changed from ten years back in the process of hiring in the product management space?
Suresh Prabhu: A few years ago, it was not relevant to look for domain expertise since India did not have enough people in the product management space at that point in time. Today, what we look for in the candidate is if he has the curiosity to identify the pain areas in the customer's portfolio, his ability to monetize the product plan and his ability to collaborate, network and negotiate.

How do different timezones and spread out teams simplify or complicate the life of a product manager ?

K Nageshwara Rao: It does not make any difference. A Product manager should be capable of doing multiple things. It’s no longer about writing efficient code alone. It’s about understanding what the market is looking at and being able to collaborate, network and negotiate.

How does technology background help in becoming a product manager?

Balaji Kaisetty: Technology knowledge is not as important to be a good product manager as is the ability to identify the kind of technology to be used to build a successful product.

What is the importance of risk appetite in a product manager’s frame of mind?

Rajesh Vorkady: It is imperative to be enterprising and to have an entrepreneurial mindset to drive the product to it’s successful completion.

What are the main skills that a product manager needs to have?
Saravana Mani: Product management is a right brain activity. Technology is a mere enabler. Understanding the pulse of the customer is what is most important in a Product Manager.

The obvious consensus of all the hiring managers is the fact that Product Managers need to have outstanding networking and collaborative skills to be able to understand the pulse of the customer and to be able to drive the product idea to the market!

The general feedback from the IPLites was overwhelming with 75% of attendees rating their overall career day experience at 4 or 5 on a scale of 5 and many looking forward to similar events to further improve their skills and network. At the end of the panel session, the career management cell announced the 15+ companies who are looking to hire right now. CMC team will be immediately pursuing hiring managers of these companies by sharing profiles of all the interested IPLites. Career Day event concluded with a networking session wherein the IPLites were seen engaging with all the panel session speakers.

For information about future career events or questions regarding CMC, drop in a note on the newly launched community portal designed exclusively for the IPL alumni - iplite.productleadership.com. Signup with Google account using your IPL.EDU e-mail Id and tag the question as CMC.

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