Product Managers and MBA?

Yelp BDkP87
May 29, 2018 21 Comments

I am considering doing an MBA for getting into product management. I wanted to understand if there are specific courses in b school that helps with the jobs and cracking pm interviews? I have tried interviewing for PM roles and not been able to crack it. some of my swe friends who wanted to move to product did an MBA started to crack pm interviews post their MBA.

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TOP 21 Comments
  • Microsoft graphical
    Focusing on an MBA in order to specifically be able to pass PM interviews is like saying that you want to get a PhD in Machine Learning because you want to pass Python interviews.

    An MBA is a much more in-depth and holistic degree that will teach you a bunch of things that you have no idea about as a SWE. That's why it's so lengthy (2 years for full-time) and costly (around $150k all-in for tuition + cost of living, in addition to 2 years of lost salaries).

    There are a bunch of other solutions that have an immensely better cost/value ratio. Have you read decode and conquer or cracking the pm interview? Have you done any mock interviews with other PMs? Have you watched any videos or read any blogs posts where people analyze the PM interview questions?

    If you do want to get an MBA, then by all means go for it. After the program you will have knowledge on a huge number of topics that you don't even touch as a SWE, eg marketing, operations, finance, statistics, presentation skills, etc. You will have amazing opportunities to participate in business case competitions, consult nonprofits, work in corporate boards, etc. Just have in mind that the goal of an MBA is much wider than passing a PM interview. This would be like using a 787 airplane to hit a nail.
    May 29, 2018 1
  • This comment was deleted by original commenter.

    • Yelp BDkP87
      OP
      I have struggled way more with pm interviews and I feel like an MBA from a top 3 school can really help.
      May 29, 2018
    • Sirius XM Lhu24G
      Cw has good advice. Many PMs went from their current role to PM without an MBA. Get a good mentor and learn things outside an MBA program. You’ll save a ton of money.
      May 29, 2018
  • PayPal StrikeP
    What’s your current role at yelp ? I don’t think you need an MBA to be in product management.
    May 29, 2018 3
    • Yelp BDkP87
      OP
      I am a swe. I interviewed with some companies like FB and google but failed at their interviews. Pm interviews seem extremely subjective and it’s hard to understand what the right answer is.
      May 29, 2018
    • Sirius XM Lhu24G
      A lot of product management interview questions are subjective and there isn’t always one right answer. They want to see how you think and what things you’re considering when thinking about a problem.
      May 29, 2018
    • PayPal StrikeP
      I would suggest changing to PM role within Yelp before directly looking for it in a new company. First try do a switch within the same company and then look outside after you gain some experience.
      May 29, 2018
  • F5 Networks wait,what?
    Most engineers don’t have a business degree and most business degree holders don’t have an engineering degree. Each company’s PMs have a different balance of business and engineering. If you aren’t passing interviews, you need more business skills.

    An MBA won’t have a “class” that will make you ready for PM. Business school is finance, accounting, marketing, and strategy, all things most engineers don’t have experience with.

    You need to think about your career goals. PM has a lot of hype and popularity, but might not get you where you want to go.
    May 29, 2018 0
  • NIO Maemae
    You can check productschool in Santa Clara.
    May 29, 2018 1
    • Yelp BDkP87
      OP
      Product school is crap. They make a lot of false claims for example folks who are product analyst will be named as product managers. The instructor is also shit and has no solid pm experience
      May 29, 2018
  • If any of your local schools have a part time MBA program, I actually really recommend that. I earned my MBA while working full time (software engineer) and really loved it. I got to apply my learning each week on the job, then take the results back to class, in a nice feedback loop.

    Going full time at a top 10 business school is massive overkill unless you're trying to break into VC or hedge funds or management consulting. For software product management, understanding the principles and the *why* is way more important.

    An MBA can help with that, but so would just working for a few more years and taking new assignments in unfamiliar teams/technologies/sectors. My MBA gave me an incredible appreciation for the theory behind business, finance, etc - very similar to how a CS degree helps you learn foundational principles but won't actually get you a job by itself. Dev and product/business jobs aren't that different: you can have all the qualifications you want, but unless you can draw meaningful, contextual insights about the problems your employer cares about, and then take actions to make those things better, you aren't much use to them.
    Jun 12, 2018 0
  • PayPal vdAR66
    I agree, learn from a pm at yelp. Take small side projects from him/her if it is kosher. You should also make sure your current sw work is on a user facing product vs. infra or IT or whatever because you’ll learn a ton from the pm who runs that product - just show curiosity!
    May 29, 2018 0
  • LinkedIn nextplay
    Yes. Many of the top programs that feed into tech (hbs, GSB, Haas, etc) offer classes on product management.
    May 29, 2018 2
    • Yelp BDkP87
      OP
      Can you tell me specific courses that can help?
      May 29, 2018
    • LinkedIn nextplay
      I don't know the specific names for each program but I know they exist. Just Google it.
      May 29, 2018
  • Salesforce / Other 444444
    Innovation/entrepreneurship,
    consumer research if considering b2c,
    marketing strategy/research.
    May 29, 2018 2
    • Yelp BDkP87
      OP
      Can you tell me specific courses that can help?
      May 29, 2018
    • Salesforce / Other 444444
      Which schools are you applying to or have admit from? Course names vary from school to school.
      May 29, 2018
  • Google King Kai
    There are much more cost effective ways of becoming a PM, such as reading books, practicing and talking to people...
    May 29, 2018 0
  • Microsoft Hyad70
    MBA Is good, but do an internship too. Also, having a technical background as a PM today is almost a given for many positions.
    May 29, 2018 0

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