Grad needs career advice (Product Management)

Dec 18, 2019 8 Comments

Sorry for the long post. But I am really hoping that more experienced people could give me some advice:

I’m an MSc Computer Science student who will graduate in 2020.

I have done some Product Management internships during my studies, and am currently in the process of interviewing for the (very few and very competitive) entry level PM trainee programs that FAANG and other companies offer (APM Programs). Because these programs are so few and hard to get into, chances to get in are very low (<5%) which is why I don’t want to have high hopes.

Meanwhile, I was offered an L5 Program Manager role at Amazon. The role has not much to do with Product, it’s more like a glorified Project Manager role. Also, Amazon does not sound like a good company to work for, and this job would require a big relocation.

Another option could be to work as a junior PM at no-name companies, and then reapply to product roles at FAANG.

I’m not sure which route to take:

A) Accept Amazon, relocate and hope that I can switch to product after some time? (Can Amazonians confirm whether such a switch is possible?)

or

B) Product role at no-name company and try applying to FAANG again later (or might the non-FAANG name on my resume harm my chances against other applicants who are coming from the top tier companies?)

TC: 0
YOE: <1

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TOP 8 Comments
  • Instacart RzvU34
    Don’t do the Amazon thing ... I’ve never worked there but I’m guessing they’ll make you jump through a lot of hoops (and wait a bunch of time) before you can make switch to PM... meanwhile, are you holding a job and building a reputation in a role you don’t want. My suggestion would be to join an “up and coming” company as a PM — think companies that could be FAANG some day (some are very close, in fact, like say Stripe or AirBnB). No one will fault you for joining those firms in any scenario and you might even learn a lot more than FAANG.
    Dec 18, 2019 2
    • OP
      Thank you for the honest advice. The problem with the up and coming companies is that they don’t take junior/university grad product managers. All of them require at least 3-5 years of experience. Because of that, I would need to gain my first experience with either very early stage startups, or mid sized companies who aren’t necessarily famous/cutting edge. Would you still recommend to reject amazon in this case?
      Dec 18, 2019
    • Instacart RzvU34
      I just don’t think that’s true... they may say that you need 3-5 years on their job post and they may not come to campus to recruit... but you can definitely get a job there — it will just require some work. If all else fails, get a job at one of those companies (or FAANG) as an engineer and transition to PM after a few years . That’s a much more common transition and will make you a better PM long term (you’ll better understand the challenges your team faces, etc)
      Dec 18, 2019
  • AWIP riean
    Congrats! I would take the offer at Amazon.

    Few reasons:
    APM programs are very competitive and you’re right in not putting too high hopes on them.

    1. Start out your career in a good company or well known startup since you’re a new grad -gain the experience in working with stakeholders, developers, and show value/credibility. This will allow you to get your next job.

    2. Network with PMs within Amazon, ask them if you can help them on some projects, find PMs from diff teams, and eventually one might vouch for you. I have seen more success stories of internal transfers than applying to product roles on its own. (I’m part of pm organization and I have listened/spoke to many PMs about similar topic.

    3. You will get into PM eventually. Program Manager/Business Analyst/Project Management are similar to PM; it’s just the way you look and solve the problem slightly varies. But having those skillsets in those positions will make you a better PM.

    Good luck!
    Dec 18, 2019 1
    • OP
      Thank you very very much for this insight, this was extremely helpful!
      Dec 18, 2019
  • Amazon
    azmix

    Amazon

    BIO
    Here to share my experience and knowledge inspired by the support I got from minimsft.
    azmixmore
    Yes, you should be able to switch to PM at Amazon but that would take some work on your side and some luck with getting the right product area and supportive manager. You can also take time off after year 3, get MBA and come back as L6 PM.
    Dec 18, 2019 0
  • Microsoft $msft
    Doubt you’ll get a better offer than L5 Program Manager at Amazon. You can switch easily once you get some experience under your belt. And honestly there isn’t a ton of difference in scope between an APM and PgM at this stage... distinction will become more critical later in your career. Congrats on the offer.
    Dec 18, 2019 0
  • Microsoft flyingninj
    A)

    From what I know, I think you will learn a ton at Amazon
    Dec 18, 2019 0

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