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Berkeley Haas MBA Admissions & Related Blogs

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104% in 3 years: Haas FT Ranking Reflects Alumni Salary Boost [#permalink]

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New post 03 Feb 2018, 12:00
FROM Haas Admissions Blog: 104% in 3 years: Haas FT Ranking Reflects Alumni Salary Boost
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Haas alumni are among the highest paid MBAs in the world, with strong salary gains that helped Berkeley Haas rank #10 in the world and #7 among U.S. schools in the 2018 Financial Times Global MBA Ranking.

More than 50% of the ranking is based on career outcomes for the full-time class of 2014, who reported on current salary, career progression, and MBA satisfaction.

These alums reported a rise in salary of 104% between when they started in the Full-time Berkeley MBA Program and three years after graduation. In addition, the Financial Times reported an increase in current annual salaries three years post-MBA to $176,167, making these Haas alumni the 6th highest paid MBAs in the world.

Haas also ranked 9th worldwide for alumni who say they've achieved their aims and for the effectiveness of career services.

See the Haas news story or the full FT report along with details on the methodology.

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ForumBlogs - GMAT Club’s latest feature blends timely Blog entries with forum discussions. Now GMAT Club Forums incorporate all relevant information from Student, Admissions blogs, Twitter, and other sources in one place. You no longer have to check and follow dozens of blogs, just subscribe to the relevant topics and forums on GMAT club or follow the posters and you will get email notifications when something new is posted. Add your blog to the list! and be featured to over 300,000 unique monthly visitors

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This post has been originally posted on the Admissions Blog and re-posted here for convenience

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104% in 3 years: Haas FT Ranking Reflects Alumni Salary Boost [#permalink]

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New post 03 Feb 2018, 13:00
FROM Haas Admissions Blog: 104% in 3 years: Haas FT Ranking Reflects Alumni Salary Boost
Image

Haas alumni are among the highest paid MBAs in the world, with strong salary gains that helped Berkeley Haas rank #10 in the world and #7 among U.S. schools in the 2018 Financial Times Global MBA Ranking.

More than 50% of the ranking is based on career outcomes for the full-time class of 2014, who reported on current salary, career progression, and MBA satisfaction.

These alums reported a rise in salary of 104% between when they started in the Full-time Berkeley MBA Program and three years after graduation. In addition, the Financial Times reported an increase in current annual salaries three years post-MBA to $176,167, making these Haas alumni the 6th highest paid MBAs in the world.

Haas also ranked 9th worldwide for alumni who say they've achieved their aims and for the effectiveness of career services.

See the Haas news story or the full FT report along with details on the methodology.

Image

 

 

Image
ForumBlogs - GMAT Club’s latest feature blends timely Blog entries with forum discussions. Now GMAT Club Forums incorporate all relevant information from Student, Admissions blogs, Twitter, and other sources in one place. You no longer have to check and follow dozens of blogs, just subscribe to the relevant topics and forums on GMAT club or follow the posters and you will get email notifications when something new is posted. Add your blog to the list! and be featured to over 300,000 unique monthly visitors

_________________

This post has been originally posted on the Admissions Blog and re-posted here for convenience

Senior Manager
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Posts: 422
104% in 3 years: Haas FT Ranking Reflects Alumni Salary Boost [#permalink]

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New post 03 Feb 2018, 14:00
FROM Haas Admissions Blog: 104% in 3 years: Haas FT Ranking Reflects Alumni Salary Boost
Image

Haas alumni are among the highest paid MBAs in the world, with strong salary gains that helped Berkeley Haas rank #10 in the world and #7 among U.S. schools in the 2018 Financial Times Global MBA Ranking.

More than 50% of the ranking is based on career outcomes for the full-time class of 2014, who reported on current salary, career progression, and MBA satisfaction.

These alums reported a rise in salary of 104% between when they started in the Full-time Berkeley MBA Program and three years after graduation. In addition, the Financial Times reported an increase in current annual salaries three years post-MBA to $176,167, making these Haas alumni the 6th highest paid MBAs in the world.

Haas also ranked 9th worldwide for alumni who say they've achieved their aims and for the effectiveness of career services.

See the Haas news story or the full FT report along with details on the methodology.

Image

 

 

Image
ForumBlogs - GMAT Club’s latest feature blends timely Blog entries with forum discussions. Now GMAT Club Forums incorporate all relevant information from Student, Admissions blogs, Twitter, and other sources in one place. You no longer have to check and follow dozens of blogs, just subscribe to the relevant topics and forums on GMAT club or follow the posters and you will get email notifications when something new is posted. Add your blog to the list! and be featured to over 300,000 unique monthly visitors

_________________

This post has been originally posted on the Admissions Blog and re-posted here for convenience

Senior Manager
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Joined: 13 Nov 2013
Posts: 422
104% in 3 years: Haas FT Ranking Reflects Alumni Salary Boost [#permalink]

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New post 03 Feb 2018, 15:00
FROM Haas Admissions Blog: 104% in 3 years: Haas FT Ranking Reflects Alumni Salary Boost
Image

Haas alumni are among the highest paid MBAs in the world, with strong salary gains that helped Berkeley Haas rank #10 in the world and #7 among U.S. schools in the 2018 Financial Times Global MBA Ranking.

More than 50% of the ranking is based on career outcomes for the full-time class of 2014, who reported on current salary, career progression, and MBA satisfaction.

These alums reported a rise in salary of 104% between when they started in the Full-time Berkeley MBA Program and three years after graduation. In addition, the Financial Times reported an increase in current annual salaries three years post-MBA to $176,167, making these Haas alumni the 6th highest paid MBAs in the world.

Haas also ranked 9th worldwide for alumni who say they've achieved their aims and for the effectiveness of career services.

See the Haas news story or the full FT report along with details on the methodology.

Image

 

 

Image
ForumBlogs - GMAT Club’s latest feature blends timely Blog entries with forum discussions. Now GMAT Club Forums incorporate all relevant information from Student, Admissions blogs, Twitter, and other sources in one place. You no longer have to check and follow dozens of blogs, just subscribe to the relevant topics and forums on GMAT club or follow the posters and you will get email notifications when something new is posted. Add your blog to the list! and be featured to over 300,000 unique monthly visitors

_________________

This post has been originally posted on the Admissions Blog and re-posted here for convenience

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From the Berkeley MBA to new careers in tech: Meet three MBA 17 grads [#permalink]

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New post 07 Feb 2018, 17:00
FROM Haas Admissions Blog: From the Berkeley MBA to new careers in tech: Meet three MBA 17 grads
Top employers for graduates of the Full-time Berkeley MBA class of 17 include Adobe, Amazon, Google, and Microsoft—not surprising for a class that saw nearly 37 percent of students go to work in technology. For quite a few of those students, this meant a career change; meet three such grads who used their Berkeley MBA knowledge and network to launch MBA careers in tech:

Moving from London for a Bay Area MBA

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Cynthia Song, product specialist, Airbnb
"I wanted to work on products that influence people’s life in a positive and scalable way," says Cynthia Song of her interest in tech. She also wanted to be part of connecting people and "making the world a bit smaller than it seems." 

Cynthia was not sure exactly how she would make this shift, especially since she was looking to change career geography, industry, and job function. " I was working in consulting in London," she says, "where a lot of companies focused on traditional sectors such as finance. I felt I was missing out on the latest innovations happening in Silicon Valley."

That meant the location of her MBA education mattered. At Haas she was able to do a good deal of face-to-face networking through school-organized treks and to attend conferences such as Techcrunch Disrupt SF and Startup Grind. "And being in the Bay Area made it easy to reach out to folks and get to know their roles/companies over a coffee."

Haas has one of the most extensive networks in tech among all business schools." 

Ultimately, she checked in at Airbnb as a product specialist. "I love traveling, and the experiences I’ve had opened my mind in ways I could not have imagined," Cynthia says. "Working for a travel company whose mission is to make anyone belong anywhere–is an ideal fit for me."

From financial analyst to Amazon merchant manager
ImageRachel Adams, senior category merchant manager, Amazon
Rachel Adams brought expertise in financial modeling and investment decisions to Haas, skills she honed as a senior financial analyst for Sempra Energy in San Diego. 

Now a senior category merchant manager for Amazon, she describes her new role as cross-functional and says the Berkeley MBA core curriculum allowed her to build marketing, quantitative, operational, and leadership skills. These, she says, "are  fundamental to my position, as well as to my development as a business leader at Amazon.”

Rachel already sees how her new skills will serve her going forward. "People often rotate through different positions every two years, and Haas prepared me to take on the next opportunity, no matter the function or area of the company," she says. She also prepared in school by striking a balance between choosing class project roles that played to her strengths and those that would develop her in new ways. "This constant readiness to both teach and learn has helped me have confidence as a leader in any role," she says.

Her Berkeley Haas network played a role as well. “My classmates were happy to help me with my job search, so when I finalized my list of dream retail-tech companies, they helped me land coffee chats that led to formal interviews with all 5 organizations I targeted."

"I'm very impact driven, so I love setting goals, meeting them, and feeling their impact," says Rachel. "My team of four owns the strategy for a large portion of the apparel business, so it’s exciting to know that my ideas, the bets I make, and the risks I take will legitimately impact the bottom line.”

Bringing finance experience and entrepreneurship together
ImageRicky Tan, account manager, Adyen
"From a career perspective, I wanted to press ‘reset’ and become more fluent technically," says Ricky Tan, who worked in banking and finance for six years before he came to Berkeley Haas. "While this was analytically rigorous work, I wanted to learn about technology in an entrepreneurial environment." 

Ricky previously worked in commodities sales and trading for J.P. Morgan in London and chose the Berkeley MBA for its entrepreneurial spirit and proximity to Silicon Valley. "The biggest advantage I had at Haas was a connection to the tech industry. My mentors from Haas helped me navigate the industry here.

Fellow students also sparked his interest in entrepreneurship. "I spent time with classmates who have experience in entrepreneurship. They made me realize that I can do what they can do. Ultimately, I want to launch my own fintech venture or startup," he says. 

I got to interact with people working at exciting local companies on an almost-daily basis."

"On a higher level, what I want to do is build something from scratch, or help someone else do this. Whether it’s a happy customer or a great product, the process of building something yourself is the most rewarding." Ricky got the chance to do this while still in school, partnering with his roommate and a computer science student to build a website on cryptocurrencies. "We built it from scratch, and it got great reception. It made me realize that someone one the other side of the world could be using my product.”

In the end, Ricky not only attended school in the Bay Area, but chose to stay here. "Professionally, if I set out to do my own venture, this is the most innovative part of the world, with diversity unlike what I've experienced anywhere else. Personally, I love the access to the outdoors and culture—and I met my girlfriend, who is from the Bay Area, at Haas."

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ForumBlogs - GMAT Club’s latest feature blends timely Blog entries with forum discussions. Now GMAT Club Forums incorporate all relevant information from Student, Admissions blogs, Twitter, and other sources in one place. You no longer have to check and follow dozens of blogs, just subscribe to the relevant topics and forums on GMAT club or follow the posters and you will get email notifications when something new is posted. Add your blog to the list! and be featured to over 300,000 unique monthly visitors

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An EMBA love story: Hallie and Shawn Higbee [#permalink]

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New post 14 Feb 2018, 14:00
FROM Haas Admissions Blog: An EMBA love story: Hallie and Shawn Higbee
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Hallie and Shawn Higbee, both EMBA 17s, fell for each other during the first months in the program, while running the trails above campus in the mornings with their classmates.

“When the group didn’t go, we ran together,” says Hallie, an account relationship manager at healthcare startup Welltok, Inc. “We were the same pace.”

This is a fact that Shawn disputes. “She is faster than me,” says Shawn, an associate program leader in flight systems at Lawrence Livermore Labs.

Those morning runs and the classes they took together, including Jennifer Caleshu’s Building Trust-based Relationships, drew the couple closer. By the time the EMBAs headed to Napa Valley for a leadership immersion at the end of the first block, they were dating, a relationship that led to marriage at the Alameda County Courthouse in Oakland on Oct. 13, 2017.

“We had so much shared experience from running and being in class together,” Hallie says. “We became better friends through that process—learning the same things, knowing the same classmates, feeling connected to Haas, and having social engagements together.”

Shawn says he fell for Hallie, mom to Lucy, 5, and Caroline, 3, because she’s a combination of “an amazing person as well as an amazing mom of two kids. Getting to see all of those things together really drew me to her.”

“I think, really, it’s just the way she approaches life with this really generous spirit and trying to bring love and celebration of the people around her. This is the person I wanted in my life and fell in love with.”

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When they finished the Berkeley MBA for Executives Program last year, the couple bought a house in Albany. While tackling the paperwork, and contemplating why they were still single, Shawn proposed, sort of, at Fieldwork Brewing Co. in Berkeley.

“We make all of our life decisions at Fieldwork,” Hallie says. “We grabbed a beer and were talking about why weren’t we married. Should we be? It was like ‘OK….We already made this massive commitment to the house and were buying a house. There’s no reason to not be married.’ We decided to elope. That was a Wednesday. I called my parents and I said: ‘How about Friday?’ ”

Hallie donned a dress and headed to the courthouse for a civil ceremony with Shawn. After lunch, they headed to Haas in time for their 4:30 class.

They celebrated on campus, where a program event for the EMBA class was underway. “Between Game Theory and our Executive Leadership class we had our honeymoon at the Durant Hotel with our classmates.”

Hallie says they wanted to subtly let people know they’d married, so she changed her name on Facebook. But their classmate, Tansy Brook, had another idea: She announced their marriage to the Game Theory class.

“Everyone was super lovely about it,” Hallie says. “We call ourselves a family.”

In June, the couple plans a grander marriage celebration at their new house, including their EMBA friends. “Our classmates have been super great about us,” Hallie says. “This group really draws people together.”

 

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ForumBlogs - GMAT Club’s latest feature blends timely Blog entries with forum discussions. Now GMAT Club Forums incorporate all relevant information from Student, Admissions blogs, Twitter, and other sources in one place. You no longer have to check and follow dozens of blogs, just subscribe to the relevant topics and forums on GMAT club or follow the posters and you will get email notifications when something new is posted. Add your blog to the list! and be featured to over 300,000 unique monthly visitors

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An EMBA Paves the Way from Consulting to Product Management [#permalink]

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New post 23 Feb 2018, 20:00
FROM Haas Admissions Blog: An EMBA Paves the Way from Consulting to Product Management
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Ask Berkeley MBA Ashok Sundararajan about how an executive MBA (EMBA) can take you from consulting to startups – the degree enabled him to make that jump while pursuing a lifelong passion for transportation.

It was the 36-hour train trips Ashok took to New Delhi for university that deepened his interest in more efficient transportation options. With the advent of ride-sharing services such as Uber and Lyft as well as the development of autonomous vehicles, he became even more curious about the next generation of urban mobility.

Now with his degree from the Berkeley MBA for Executives Program, he’s become a senior product manager at San Francisco-based Ridecell, making a desired switch from consulting to product management in a startup environment. Ridecell produces a technology platform to launch, operate, and scale new mobility services. “Rich or poor, regardless of our backgrounds, billions of us need to get from one place to another,” he says.

Since he was a child, Ashok had been fascinated with planes, trains, and automobiles. He grew up in Chennai, India where the overcrowded buses would be late or might not arrive at all. On those days, he would walk the two miles each way to school, carrying a heavy book bag in sweltering, subtropical heat. His long trips to New Delhi earned him an undergraduate degree in civil engineering from the National Institute of Technology Kurukshetra after which he pursued an MS in transportation from Penn State University.

Ashok’s career grew in this direction with associate and management positions at such consultancy firms as AECOM, Booz Allen, and CH2M. But after about 12 years as a consultant, he felt something was missing. “I would deliver a client presentation, make some recommendations, and walk away, with no idea of what would happen after that,” he remembers. “I lacked real ownership and wasn’t challenged enough.” He also felt that he was still asking the question, What do I want to be when I grow up?

A powerful network in the tech base
Ashok graduated from the Berkeley EMBA Program in 2017 and says, “It helped me to define my course, address my skill gaps, and build up a strong network of colleagues and friends.” Paramount was the reach of the Berkeley Haas network and its alumni accomplishments in the tech base. “Once I got into the EMBA program, every single thing that’s happened to me professionally is because of people I’ve met through Haas.”

As he followed his curiosity into new career directions, the area of product management struck a chord. His colleagues helped him to grow a strong network in the field. One fellow student, Aileen Nguyen, even arranged for him to shadow her for a day at her job as product manager at Neustar, Inc. and gave him the chance to work on a real-world problem with her company.

In his new position at Ridecell, Ashok is putting into practice much of what he learned in the Haas classroom. From his Applied Innovation course he acquired skills to identify the products and features that his clients will need. From his Data Analytics course he learned how to create and drive value using data-powered business strategies. And in his Executive Leadership course he garnered the skills to inspire his team to perform at its highest level.

Ashok had heard that the hardest career maneuver is a double-pivot, changing both industry and function. With his newly minted Berkeley EMBA he did both. Now he’s working toward agnostic solutions that will improve the global transportation outlook – possibly even for schoolchildren in Chennai, India.

Want to learn about how you might make a career change to product management? Get our free ebook.

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ForumBlogs - GMAT Club’s latest feature blends timely Blog entries with forum discussions. Now GMAT Club Forums incorporate all relevant information from Student, Admissions blogs, Twitter, and other sources in one place. You no longer have to check and follow dozens of blogs, just subscribe to the relevant topics and forums on GMAT club or follow the posters and you will get email notifications when something new is posted. Add your blog to the list! and be featured to over 300,000 unique monthly visitors

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The best MBA programs for women? FT ranks Berkeley MBA #2 in the US [#permalink]

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New post 05 Mar 2018, 16:00
FROM Haas Admissions Blog: The best MBA programs for women? FT ranks Berkeley MBA #2 in the US
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The Full-time Berkeley MBA Program is #2 in the US and #3 in the world in a 2018 Financial Times (FT) ranking of Best MBA programs for women, the publication's first ever look at MBA outcomes for women.

Berkeley MBA alumnae from the surveyed class (2014) earn, on average, $179,930--the second highest post-MBA salary for women in the world.

And, rather than lagging behind their male counterparts in pay, they earn, on average, 3 percent more, placing their outcomes 3rd worldwide in this category.

The article accompanying the ranking reports that, in general, a gender pay gap persists, even widens post-MBA. Forté Foundation Executive Director Elissa Ellis Sangster, quoted in the article, notes that even though women often realize a lower MBA return on investment than men, "the return will still be high."

Berkeley Haas alumnae, for example, realized an average 110 percent increase in salary from pre-MBA to three years post-MBA. Haas also ranked #2 (tied with U Michigan-Ross) in “aims achieved,” a measure of how well the MBA fulfilled alumnae’s stated goals. 

We invite you to read more about the Financial Times ranking and Haas gender equity initiatives in this Haas News story, and learn more about the Full-time Berkeley MBA Program.

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ForumBlogs - GMAT Club’s latest feature blends timely Blog entries with forum discussions. Now GMAT Club Forums incorporate all relevant information from Student, Admissions blogs, Twitter, and other sources in one place. You no longer have to check and follow dozens of blogs, just subscribe to the relevant topics and forums on GMAT club or follow the posters and you will get email notifications when something new is posted. Add your blog to the list! and be featured to over 300,000 unique monthly visitors

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Closing the gender gap: Female CEOs from Gap Inc. share wisdom [#permalink]

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New post 07 Mar 2018, 10:00
FROM Haas Admissions Blog: Closing the gender gap: Female CEOs from Gap Inc. share wisdom
When we pulled together a room full of women at Gap Inc. headquarters, recently, it was an opener to what we intend to be an ongoing conversation about gender equity and leadership. More than 150 women joined us to glean wisdom from two female CEOs: Nancy Green, president and CEO of Athleta, and Sonia Syngal, president and CEO of Old Navy.

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"We so appreciate leaders from Gap Inc., a model for gender and pay equity, sharing their insights with our community," says Jamie Breen, assistant dean of MBA Programs for Working Professionals at Berkeley Haas (our Evening & Weekend MBA and MBA for Executives programs), which hosted the event.

"Women need to see themselves reflected in the boardroom, in the C-suite, and in leadership roles across sectors," says Jamie. "They need to see themselves in the MBA programs that can build their business skills and surround them with the inspiration and support of other successful women. We want to start conversations that help make this happen." 

At Berkeley Haas, these kinds of conversations are a regular occurrence, with women in student leadership positions, a pioneering and thriving annual conference, and our newCenter For Gender, Equity and Leadership (CGEL).

Leading the Gap Inc. discussion was CGEL Founding Director Kellie McElhaney, associate adjunct professor, who kicked things off with a couple of statistics:

  • In the S&P 500 companies, only 5.4 percent of CEOs are women. Of those, 2 are women of color.
  • Women account for only 20 percent of board seats and 20 percent of C-suite positions in these companies.
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She shared CGEL's vision for a fair and equitable business world where all have equal opportunity, and about Berkeley Haas initiatives, such as classes on the business case for women, managing a diverse workforce, and having difficult conversations around race.

"Companies with women in leadership launch more new products, and teams are more productive when diverse and equitable," Kellie noted. But, she pointed out,  when women don't see themselves reflected around the table, they may not be interested in joining a firm, even if they've been actively recruited—concerned about fitting in or being able to be effective.

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At Gap Inc., three women sit on the board, 69 percent of store managers are women, and three of the company's brands (Old Navy, Intermix, and Athleta).have women at the helm. 

Though both had career detours along the way, an interest in clothes, fashion, and retail sparked early for both Sonia and Nancy. For Old Navy's Sonia Sygnal, it began when an aunt taught her how to sew and make clothes for her Barbie™. She soon began designing, making, and selling clothes for humans and notes that, "Half the girls at my prom were wearing my dresses."

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Athleta's Nancy Green also learned to sew young and applied her love for clothes and fashion to retail work in stores, including at NAME on Telegraph Ave. while an undergrad at Berkeley, where, she says, "I got to lead a team and run and grow a business."

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From reframing failure to actively seeking out big challenges and spending NO time or energy on guilt, find some of the wisdom shared by Nancy and Sonia over at Gap Inc.'s careers blog.

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 Want to know about future Berkeley Haas Women Leadership Conversations and other Admissions events?

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Sign up to receive invites from our Evening & Weekend MBA or invites from our MBA for Executives Program

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ForumBlogs - GMAT Club’s latest feature blends timely Blog entries with forum discussions. Now GMAT Club Forums incorporate all relevant information from Student, Admissions blogs, Twitter, and other sources in one place. You no longer have to check and follow dozens of blogs, just subscribe to the relevant topics and forums on GMAT club or follow the posters and you will get email notifications when something new is posted. Add your blog to the list! and be featured to over 300,000 unique monthly visitors

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P&Q profiles Berkeley Haas director of inclusion and diversity [#permalink]

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New post 08 Mar 2018, 09:00
FROM Haas Admissions Blog: P&Q profiles Berkeley Haas director of inclusion and diversity
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Business School news site .

In the story, Élida discusses her decision to join Berkeley Haas in this newly created role, following work with UCSF in the departments of Psychiatry and Diversity and Outreach. “It was clear that there was a real commitment here to this work,” she told P&Q.

She talks about her childhood growing up in Chicago's Logan Square neighborhood and being bused to another neighborhood for school, an early experience that fed into her love of learning about different cultures. As a teenager, she told P&Q, she was part of a rural farm community in Southern California and the first in her family to go to college. She studied at Claremont McKenna College, then earned her Ph.D. at the University of Michigan.

While in a post-doctoral position with UCSF and what is now the Zuckerberg San Francisco General Hospital, Élida became a staff psychologist and co-director of clinical training, with a focus on multicultural clinical training, and later, an associate clinical professor and director of clinical training.

Élida told P&Q that she found Berkeley Haas to be a natural fit, saying, “Haas is interested in preparing leaders to be able to work with anybody, anywhere in the world, from a variety of identities.”

Her initial focus is on climate and on supporting student-led initiatives that include a Gender Equity Initiative, Manbassadors club, and Race Inclusion Initiative. “I’ve seen similar job descriptions posted before," she told P&Q, “but here it really felt like they were really serious about it.”

We invite you to learn more about Élida Bautista and about diversity and inclusion at Berkeley Haas.

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ForumBlogs - GMAT Club’s latest feature blends timely Blog entries with forum discussions. Now GMAT Club Forums incorporate all relevant information from Student, Admissions blogs, Twitter, and other sources in one place. You no longer have to check and follow dozens of blogs, just subscribe to the relevant topics and forums on GMAT club or follow the posters and you will get email notifications when something new is posted. Add your blog to the list! and be featured to over 300,000 unique monthly visitors

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From building product to building business, an MBA career move [#permalink]

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New post 09 Mar 2018, 09:00
FROM Haas Admissions Blog: From building product to building business, an MBA career move
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When Manasi Jagannatha began her first year as a student in the Evening & Weekend Berkeley MBA Program, she was working in engineering and product for Salesforce. "It was a lot of tech product development and very little business," she recalls. While she didn't solely view her MBA as an avenue to change industries, her first year at Haas exposed her to a whole new world —and she couldn't help but be interested in spreading her wings.

"At Salesforce I focused on how to build product from the ground up," she says. "I realized I wanted to work in a role that asks more questions about the product. 'Why should we build this product? How do we sell it to the customer? How do we get feedback? How do we generate value?' I knew I wanted to shift and work at the crossroads of tech and business so I could learn to build both a company and its products. I also wanted to lead partnerships, form important relationships, and drive enterprise."

Manasi began her career transition by leaning on Haas resources, from the alumni network to the Career Management Group. "I did multiple informational interviews with Haas Alums and hiring managers. They gave me a clear idea of all the roles that would be suitable for my next move. Then I found a job posting through the EWMBA alumni group for a role at Amazon, leading business development within web services."

Immediately interested, Manasi reached out to the hiring manager, a Haas alum. Even though the role required 5 or 6 more years of experience than Manasi had, her Haas connection opened the door for an initial interview. "Because this Haas alum thought I had the right attitude for the role, I got my foot in the door for the hiring process."  After 6 more rigorous interviews, Manasi was offered the position.

Today at Amazon, Manasi manages a portfolio of strategic Amazon Web Services (AWS) technology partners, leading them to help deliver on AWS’ strategy to drive enterprise adoption of the AWS cloud computing platform. Having made this switch while still in school, she is also finishing her last year in the Berkeley MBA Program.

"My responsibilities include: driving C-level and field relationships with partners and with the AWS sales field, guiding the development and launch of joint solutions in the public cloud space, and executing joint go-to-market plans globally. By establishing and growing business and technical relationships while managing the day-to-day partner interactions, I am responsible for driving top line revenue growth and overall market adoption."

In addition to the Haas resources that helped Manasi land her job, she says her MBA has also helped her to think more long term and to be more structured in the way she thinks about business. She's also become a stronger leader. "My Turnarounds class gave me the confidence to go and talk to a CTO or CMO, ask the right questions, and navigate unknown territories. "

Manasi's confidence is especially valuable to her in a role and an industry where she could understandably be viewed as newcomer. "People on my team are generally experts in their areas with 35 years of experience. I'm an outlier in that I come from the tech product side, and haven't taken a traditional path to get here. But I have to have the confidence to ask the right questions and know I have the skills to do business with important partners."

Her ability to build such strong professional relationships also reflects what she's learned about leadership. "I believe in the importance of building trust, and putting people first. This leadership style is one of the greatest value-adds for me from Haas."

While the Berkeley MBA curriculum, alumni network, and leadership focus have all served Manasi in her career at Amazon, she cites professional diversity as the biggest advantage of the Haas EWMBA. "You're surrounded by lawyers, doctors, and experts from every field, and they are all bar-raisers. We are working full-time jobs, raising kids, and bringing our A-game to Haas every weekend. I see my peers achieve career success and it inspires me to do better myself."  

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Choosing management consulting to prepare for social sector leadership [#permalink]

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New post 12 Mar 2018, 08:00
FROM Haas Admissions Blog: Choosing management consulting to prepare for social sector leadership
For the past three years, 20-26 percent of Berkeley MBA graduates have gone to work in consulting, with companies such as Bain, Boston Consulting Group, Deloitte, and McKinsey making regular appearances as top employers of Berkeley MBA students. Some students choose consulting as a way of preparing to launch or lead in other sectors; meet Hady Barry and Farah Dilber, two students  from the Berkeley MBA class of 2017 who are preparing for careers in social impact:

Working in consulting to build the skills for launching a social venture

ImageHady Barry grew up in Côte d’Ivoire and Senegal and saw that there are parts of the world that still struggle with ensuring access to education. "I fared better," she says, "but it also came with a lot of sacrifices from my parents."

This experience shaped her career goals and her desire to ensure "that more girls are able to live their fullest life and have the same education opportunities that I had," she says of her interest in starting a social enterprise in the education space.

She chose Haas as an incubator for developing her ideas to solve the challenges of girls’ education in Africa, but realized after her first year that she would need to develop additional skills and decided to do so in consulting. "Consulting teaches how to think through and solve problems, and working in social impact consulting, in particular, allows me to working on challenges in the spaces that interest me most, like education or financial inclusion."

Now a senior consultant with FSG in San Francisco, Hady says she gained valuable preparation opportunities at Berkeley Haas. "I had many of ways of learning and replicating the type of work I wanted to do," she says. "With classes like IBD (International Business Development), I gained exposure to consulting —and the challenges—I can expect in this industry. My team partnered with a Peruvian social enterprise that works with highland populations to collect, process, and sell sphagnum moss."

Hady also sat on the board of the Daraja Education Fund throughthe Berkeley Board Fellows Program. Daraja is a secondary boarding school in Kenya for girls who otherwise wouldn’t be able to complete high school.

"What transformed me most was the chance to stretch myself in leadership roles," she says. "There were many opportunities to identify something I thought would be helpful to the community and partner with my classmates to make it happen." These included starting a Humans of Haas podcast, leading and organizing the 2017 Africa Business Forum, and leading the admissions committee for the Berkeley Haas Gender Equity Initiative.

"For me, rewarding work is work that ultimately adds value to the world or rights something that's wrong," says Hady. "I gained from Haas the confidence and knowledge that there's nothing I can't do."

Preparing for senior-level nonprofit work through consulting
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Prior to Haas, Farah Dilber worked in the education sector, first as a teacher and later in a variety of program management positions, including as a leader of an internal consulting department within a charter school network. "When I started to seek out opportunities outside of that organization, and I found that other employers were looking for a more professionalized skillset," she says. "If I wanted an entire career in one place, my track record might be enough to help me advance, but I knew I needed an MBA if I wanted more optionality."

"I wanted a school where my nonprofit experience would be valued, where there would be others with similar experiences and aspirations," she says of her decision to choose Haas.

In the long-term, Farah wants to return to her non-profit roots, doing non-profit M&A and integration. "The nonprofit world is full of many small-scale shops trying to achieve the same goals and fighting for the same resources. I want to help non-profits deepen impact and make better use of limited government and philanthropic dollars through strategic joint ventures and consolidation," she says.

To get there, her short-term priority is to build on the skills she has developed in business school and to diversity her industry and functional experience. To so so, she has joined McKinsey & Company as an Associate. "I see it as the best way to get the most business experience in the shortest amount of time, to develop the structured problem solving skills and top management exposure that would prepare me to reenter the nonprofit world at a more senior level," she says.

While she knew she wanted to recruit for management consulting, she had some apprehension that consulting firms would be skeptical of her ability to work outside of nonprofit or education. "Connecting with Haas alumni in consulting disabused me of this assumption," she says. " I was warmed by the number of 'Haasies' with “nontraditional" profiles like mine who were quite happy and successful in their consulting roles. This made my aspirations seem far more achievable and let me go for it with abandon."

See how Berkeley Haas can help you make your social impact aspirations more achievable; get our free ebook on the Berkeley MBA and social impact.

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Five Skills Every Product Manager Needs—and Why [#permalink]

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New post 13 Mar 2018, 12:00
FROM Haas Admissions Blog: Five Skills Every Product Manager Needs—and Why
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On the road to developing the next new thing, product managers need to be able to communicate strategy, negotiate scope and trade-offs, excel at working with constrained resources, speak in technical terms, and competently use data to guide and justify decisions.

If you're wondering how to become a product manager (PM), you could start by considering the five skills every product manager needs to succeed:

For product managers, communication is key
You’ll need to keep lots of people in the loop and adjust your language to each audience.
Product managers must coordinate with multiple teams to provide something of value to customers. This means talking to both internal and external stakeholders throughout the product life cycle.

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"Communication is the starting and ending point when you are building something meaningful," says Vince Law, former head of product management at General Assembly, who now consults and instructs individuals as well as organizations on product management and leadership. "Your ability to talk to customers, let your team know the overall strategy, and get into the details of exactly how the product works is necessary in delivering the best product to your market."

Product managers work closely with diverse teams within an organization—including engineering, marketing, business development, and sales teams. They have to be able to speak the language that each team understands.

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"As a PM, you need to adjust the language you use so for each audience," says Berkeley MBA alum Max Wesman, VP of product at GoodHire. "If someone is technically oriented, they may be great at talking to the engineers, but they may not have the business vocabulary to communicate with the marketing and sales team. If you're not able to talk in a way that allows the audience to understand, then you have failed as a communicator." 

Additionally, product managers communicate externally when they interface with customers. They may be required to share information about a new product or collect feedback in relation to a customer's needs or experiences with a product.

"Communicating effectively, clearly, and confidently with customers helps them feel that they have a voice and are being heard. It also helps them understand why you are investing in certain enhancements or are going down a certain path," says Max.

"Every product lives and dies by its customers,” says Vince. "The best product managers I know spend an inordinate amount of time speaking with customers as a way of understanding their problems, their pain points, their overall desires, and what outcomes they expect out of a product experience. PMs must use that information to understand why they are building the product as well as synthesize insights on what to build and how to build it."

Wondering if you need an MBA to be a product manager?
(Almost) everything is a negotiation
You’ll build cooperation and manage customer requests at almost every turn
Product managers are constantly building cooperation and negotiating trade-offs with customers, the sales team, and the engineering team to achieve strategy-supporting outcomes.

"Customers are going to request enhancements, new features, or fixes,” says GoodHire's Max Wesman. “If they say, ‘we need to have this feature by next month, or we are going to leave your company,’ you need to be able to help them understand that there are trade-offs and get them to be okay with maybe waiting to ultimately get what they want vs. incurring the costs of moving off of your product and onto a competitor's."

"There is also a certain level of negotiation with the sales team," Max points out. "Because they are trying close deals, they will sometimes ask for multiple product features on a short time frame. As a product manager, you are also trying to protect your team, because you need to manage their priorities."

"With engineers, the classic negotiation is always around scope," says Max. "As a PM, you are always going to deal with scope creep: an engineer telling you something will take x number of weeks, and then having things pop up that push out the timeline. PMs need to negotiate trade-offs and ways to break down a really big project into smaller pieces of work and possibly launch things along the way without having to wait until the end."

Jay Dave, a manager of product management with Amazon Home Innovation and a graduate of the Berkeley MBA for Executives Program, negotiates with management and internal engineering teams about what needs to be built early on in the product life cycle. Negotiations also come into play in the execution stage, when key micro-decisions need to be made about the product. Jay says that in either case, negotiations start with empathy.

"Being aware of where the other person may be coming from and their priorities is super important. It not only helps you build better long term relations, but also helps you tailor your message to your audience and increase your chances of success. It's not something I knew right out of the gate, but something I learned with experience," says Jay.

Part adventure, part venture
Making the most of constrained resources requires entrepreneurial thinking
Product managers not only need to understand how a product is launched and adapted, but also to figure out ways to meet business objectives with limited resources. This makes entrepreneurial thinking is an important skill.

"As a PM, you are always working with constrained resources,” says Max Wesman. "You need to think like an entrepreneur who doesn’t have a lot of resources and be very careful in deploying the resources you do have."

Promeet Mansata, A Berkeley MBA alum whose role is in growth, operations, and product management at Zently, observes that the holistic thinking PMs engage in is also entrepreneurial. "A lot of a product manager's role—at small start-ups as well as larger companies like Google, LinkedIn, and Facebook—is thinking through the whole problem before deciding to build anything,” he says. “You also need quick ways of finding the right things to do without spending a ton of time and money."

Product managers typically work with several teams, but they often have to take the lead when it comes to making decisions about which ideas will be pursued.

"In a lot of cases, nobody is going to give you a direction to go in," Promeet says. "You have to think about the problem you are solving and try to figure it out. If you have five different ideas, you have decide which one you are going to do and then find a way to do it while saving time and money for the company."

"As a PM, you are not only constantly solving problems, but finding problems," says Vince Law. "Like an entrepreneur, you need to be able to see potential for a product where a product has never existed before. Your ability to find opportunities is in large part enabled by your knack for looking at problems in a way that is devoid of assumptions about what potential solutions might be."

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Product managers know how to think with numbers
Analyzing data is how you’ll justify decisions and make your case
You don't have to be a data scientist to be a successful product manager, but you do have to be able to collect and measure the right data points to analyze market trends and justify decisions about product features. You need to be able to communicate with data science teams and share data with internal and external stakeholders as well.

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"The main role of a product manager is to prioritize which problems the business needs to solve," Swetha Tupelly, a senior product manager at Le Tote and graduate of the Evening & Weekend Berkeley MBA Program. "You must be able to make a case based on data rather than opinions. Data also helps you measure the impact of the product or feature you are building."

"As a foundation, product managers should have enough exposure that they know how to think with numbers and how to make decisions based on numbers," says Greg LaBlanc, a lecturer at Haas School of Business.

Greg suggests learning how to do data visualization to better understand the numbers you’re analyzing and to be able to better communicate them to other people in the organization.

"You can think of a product manager as someone who sits at the intersection of the technical data oriented stuff and the less technical business oriented stuff," says Greg. “Being able to communicate with both of those groups is where product managers have their sweet spot.”

Data skills are especially important when it comes to justifying decisions about product features and measuring impact once a feature has been implemented.

"Product managers work with two types of data," says Swetha "The first is qualitative data, which comes from customer feedback through NPS surveys or polls that are running within mobile applications. The second is quantitative data, which can come from things like an A/B test. Product managers should have both an understanding of how A/B tests work and should be able to compare metrics from these tests and recognize statistical differences in things like page views, session times and conversion rates."

"Being data-oriented and finding irregularities or opportunities in the data to impact a product's numbers by investing in a certain area and then being able to quantify the impact of the investment is important for a PM. This is where quant skills come into play," says Max.

Do you talk Tech?
Engineers will thank you for understanding feasibility
Product managers are business and customer subject matter experts, not tech experts. However, they need a certain level of understanding of how technology works so they can communicate in technical terms with engineers and understand what is and isn't feasible from an engineering perspective.

Stephanie Curran, a manager of product management for Amazon’s Customer and Brand Protection Team, speaks frequently with managers and engineers on the development team in the course of her job.

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"One of a product manager’s main roles is driving the road map of the products they’re working on," says Stephanie, a graduate of the Full-time Berkeley MBA Program. "The people I interact with most are development managers, but I often talk with individual engineers to make sure that the right decisions and trade-offs are being made.”

"Development managers and engineering teams don’t expect PMs to be 100 percent fluent in technology," says Stephanie. "However, PMs need to be able to drive requirements and fluidly communicate those requirements to the tech team so that the tech team can drive implementation and decide how to build the product."

Stephanie outlines four main things that almost every product managers should be able to speak about, or at least have a high-level understanding of, so that they can communicate with tech teams:

  • Tech architecture: A high-level understanding of the tech architecture will help you comprehend where certain features sit in the pipeline and help you negotiate the right trade-offs
  • APIs: A high-level understanding of the types of services and application programming interfaces (APIs) the team is working on will help you get to the right solution for the problem you are trying to solve
  • The product: A high-level understanding of what is being built will help you ask the right questions and push the thinking of engineers when necessary
  • The roadmap: Knowing what the roadmap looks like will help you can break out the requirements and features based on priority and engineering scope
Preparing for a PM career  
Product managers need a diverse set of skills to juggle the many priorities associated with bringing a product to market and ensuring its success. Understanding these skills and the reasons why they are important can help you determine whether or not a PM role is right for you.

Want additional insights? Download our free ebook on breaking into product management, or read what these product managers have to say about whether you need an MBA to be a product manager.

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An EMBA takes marketer from design thinking to systems thinking [#permalink]

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New post 14 Mar 2018, 08:00
FROM Haas Admissions Blog: An EMBA takes marketer from design thinking to systems thinking
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Tansy Brook has always been passionate about business as a vehicle for positive change. After more than a decade of experience designing and executing marketing strategies for technology startups, she pursued an MBA from the Berkeley MBA for Executives Program to learn how to significantly scale innovation by merging design thinking with systems thinking. Now, as a product marketing director for the Cloud Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) and Enterprise Performance Management (EMP) team at Oracle Corporation, she helps lead companies through digital transformations, empowering them with emerging technologies.

Tansy’s interest in entrepreneurial impact began early. By the age of 12 she would already have created her first company, leading a team of six friends selling hand-made bookmarks door-to-door to benefit their local animal shelter. At the University of Colorado Denver, she created her own undergraduate degree in social marketing. She spent much of her early career developing marketing strategy, mostly for internet-of-things startups in the fields of big data and wearable tech. “I became fascinated with the intersection of tech and positive social change,” she remembers. “I’ve also learned that technology marketing can quickly direct behavioral change and empower both people and businesses.”

“Questioning the Status Quo”comes naturally to Tansy. She was eager to create solution frameworks that could be rapidly adopted across an organization. “I wanted to move beyond design thinking (how do you creatively see the problem, find the solution, build it?) to systems thinking (how do you scale solutions for maximum impact?).” She also wanted the credibility of an MBA. She chose Berkeley Haas because of its collaborative culture and legacy of driving change in Silicon Valley.

During her 19-month EMBA program, Tansy found several courses especially helpful. Opportunity Recognition, taught by Drew Isaacs, taught her not to think of herself as a problem-solver, but as an opportunity-recognizer. Game Theory with Shacar Kariv and Data Analytics with Donatella Taurasi provided models to quantify human behavior and scale them through data, respectively. Executive Leadership with Jenny Chatman taught her the value of not just stepping forward as a leader, but also stepping back to recognize the potential of the people around her.

Leveraging the best of humans and technology
Perhaps most important of all, she says, was her cohort of 68 classmates, whose friendship, insights, and networking have proved invaluable. Not surprisingly, at graduation she received awards for embodying not one but two of Berkeley Haas’ Defining Principles: Question the Status Quo and Confidence Without Attitude.

While in the program, Tansy searched for her next career move, seeking a large technology company that would support her entrepreneurial perspective and provide opportunities for large-scale impact. She landed at Redwood-City-based Oracle – a globally renowned technology company with more than 300,000 employees worldwide. She currently develops thought leadership for Oracle’s financial cloud SaaS applications and provides clients access to such emerging technologies as artificial intelligence, machine learning, robotic process automation, and block-chain. “We’re leveraging the best of humans and technology,” she explains.

Tansy advises that a Berkeley Haas EMBA will totally disrupt your life, your relationships, and your thinking. But the disruption is well worth it, she says. “I now have a front-row seat to the many ways that innovation and technology are changing the world.”

For Tansy, this front row seat is her MBA ROI. What could yours be? Learn more about the Berkeley MBA for Executives Program.

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A Berkeley EMBA takes marketing from design thinking to systems thinki [#permalink]

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New post 14 Mar 2018, 10:00
FROM Haas Admissions Blog: A Berkeley EMBA takes marketing from design thinking to systems thinking
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Tansy Brook has always been passionate about business as a vehicle for positive change. After more than a decade of experience designing and executing marketing strategies for technology startups, she pursued an MBA from the Berkeley MBA for Executives Program to learn how to significantly scale innovation by merging design thinking with systems thinking. Now, as a product marketing director for the Cloud Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) and Enterprise Performance Management (EMP) team at Oracle Corporation, she helps lead companies through digital transformations, empowering them with emerging technologies.

Tansy’s interest in entrepreneurial impact began early. By the age of 12 she would already have created her first company, leading a team of six friends selling hand-made bookmarks door-to-door to benefit their local animal shelter. At the University of Colorado Denver, she created her own undergraduate degree in social marketing. She spent much of her early career developing marketing strategy, mostly for internet-of-things startups in the fields of big data and wearable tech. “I became fascinated with the intersection of tech and positive social change,” she remembers. “I’ve also learned that technology marketing can quickly direct behavioral change and empower both people and businesses.”

“Questioning the Status Quo”comes naturally to Tansy. She was eager to create solution frameworks that could be rapidly adopted across an organization. “I wanted to move beyond design thinking (how do you creatively see the problem, find the solution, build it?) to systems thinking (how do you scale solutions for maximum impact?).” She also wanted the credibility of an MBA. She chose Berkeley Haas because of its collaborative culture and legacy of driving change in Silicon Valley.

During her 19-month EMBA program, Tansy found several courses especially helpful. Opportunity Recognition, taught by Drew Isaacs, taught her not to think of herself as a problem-solver, but as an opportunity-recognizer. Game Theory with Shacar Kariv and Data Analytics with Donatella Taurasi provided models to quantify human behavior and scale them through data, respectively. Executive Leadership with Jenny Chatman taught her the value of not just stepping forward as a leader, but also stepping back to recognize the potential of the people around her.

Leveraging the best of humans and technology
Perhaps most important of all, she says, was her cohort of 68 classmates, whose friendship, insights, and networking have proved invaluable. Not surprisingly, at graduation she received awards for embodying not one but two of Berkeley Haas’ Defining Principles: Question the Status Quo and Confidence Without Attitude.

While in the program, Tansy searched for her next career move, seeking a large technology company that would support her entrepreneurial perspective and provide opportunities for large-scale impact. She landed at Redwood-City-based Oracle – a globally renowned technology company with more than 300,000 employees worldwide. She currently develops thought leadership for Oracle’s financial cloud SaaS applications and provides clients access to such emerging technologies as artificial intelligence, machine learning, robotic process automation, and block-chain. “We’re leveraging the best of humans and technology,” she explains.

Tansy advises that a Berkeley Haas EMBA will totally disrupt your life, your relationships, and your thinking. But the disruption is well worth it, she says. “I now have a front-row seat to the many ways that innovation and technology are changing the world.”

For Tansy, this front row seat is her MBA ROI. What could yours be? Learn more about the Berkeley MBA for Executives Program.

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Strategies for Building Product Management Skills [#permalink]

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New post 20 Mar 2018, 12:00
FROM Haas Admissions Blog: Strategies for Building Product Management Skills
 

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The most successful product managers (PMs) rely on a diverse skill set to develop in-demand products that solve real problems. Building product management skills before you assume a PM role will help you acquire the knowledge and experience you need to communicate and negotiate with internal and external stakeholders, work with constrained resources, collect and analyze data, and speak fluently about technical topics.

You can build PM skills inside and outside of the classroom.  

Learning to communicate with diverse audiences
Product managers must be able to communicate effectively with customers and with multi-disciplinary and multi-cultural teams

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Vince Law, former head of product management at General Assembly who now consults and instructs individuals as well as organizations on product management and leadership, says a great way to understand and better speak to customers is to study customer development concepts.

"Understanding techniques such as ethnographic interviews and problem hypothesis definition will improve your ability to get people to speak up about their pain points and to stay objective so you don’t lead customers down a particular path," says Vince.

Max Wesman, a Berkeley MBA alum and VP of Product at GoodHire, advises using an MBA internship or seeking another real-world experience, such as a consulting opportunity, to build skills.

"Companies sometimes come to MBA students with part-time work," says Max. "Offering your assistance will help you understand how they organize and how PMs work with engineers."

Outside of an MBA program, Max suggests working independently on developing a website, app, or using the Alexa Skills Kit to teach Alexa a new capability to show you are resourceful, somewhat technical, and can identify customer and market needs.

Additionally, says Max, PMs often work with developers outside the U.S.in Eastern Europe, India, and China., "Aspiring PMs should try building something on their own and working with an out-of-country developer. Getting experience defining requirements and communicating with people in different cultures will help you simplify your communication and be very careful about your word choice."

Within an MBA program, you can build your communication skills by getting involved in extracurricular activities such as taking on a club leadership role. You can also take courses in leadership communication or leading people.

Building negotiation and conflict management skills
Figuring out how people think and what they want helps PMs resolve conflicts and negotiate trade-offs.

MBA courses that focus on negotiations, conflict resolution, and game theory can help you learn how to negotiate trade-offs with internal and external stakeholders.

"The classes that I took at Berkeley, like Negotiations and Power in Politics, were very helpful in understanding what the other person wants and how to bridge that gap," says Promeet Mansata, Head of Growth and Operations at Zently.

Vince Law suggests practicing a method of problem solving called root cause analysis (also called the 5 Whys).

"Most negotiations start with a need or demand," says Vince. "If you can understand someone's key pain points, it will help you get to the core of the problem rather than addressing the assumed solution. This will enable you to craft negotiation packages and final solutions that are substantially more optimal for both you and your stakeholders."

Jay Dave, who is a senior product manager at Qualtrics, is a proponent of observation and networking.

"Before I got into product management, I sought out opportunities to participate in meetings where I could closely observe experienced product managers and peers communicate and negotiate. I treated every audience with senior leaders as an opportunity to learn."

"There are also circles-informal groups of people-who work in the same function who come together to share tips and discuss best practices," says Jay. "Even if you aren't a product manager, those groups tend to be very open to having people in the audience and can let you observe how people think."

Learning to think like an entrepreneur
PMs often launch new products with limited resources.

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“There really is no substitute for experience”, observes Max. "When I speak with MBA students interested in product management, I tell them to seek out experience in any way they can," says Max. "It doesn't necessarily need to be in a PM role. It could be in a related experience, such as an MBA class project or case competition."

"Build an app; learn how to do a little bit of coding, or work with an outsourced developer," Max says. "There are a lot of tools and services that have made it affordable for someone to try to be a PM on their own."

In an MBA program, taking classes that are designed specifically for entrepreneurs, such as Lean Launchpad and Business Model Innovation & Entrepreneurial Strategy will help you learn how to launch products with limited resources. Networking with seasoned entrepreneurs through extracurricular activities like the Berkeley Entrepreneurs Forum will also help you build your entrepreneurial skills.

Zently’s Promeet Mansata recommends looking for classes and projects that will help you acquire the skills that PMs use on a day-to-day basis.

"In the second year of my MBA, I reached out to several product managers who graduated from Berkeley and asked which classes would be valuable for an aspiring product manager," says Promeet. "They recommended Market Research, Brand Management, Consumer Insights, Pricing, and Entrepreneurship which were all very helpful."

"I also worked on my own project while I was still in school," says Promeet. "I did a lot of experimenting and product work around it. I ultimately decided not to pursue it, but it helped me understand the product role."

Building data analysis skills
PMs collect, apply, and communicate data to prioritize and solve problems.

MBA students considering a career in product management should look for courses that have the words "data" or "analytics" in their titles. This includes courses that fall into that sweet spot between tech and business as well as more complicated tech courses related to computer science and data science. Even a basic statistics class is useful.

"The core Berkeley MBA program mandates everyone to take a basic statistics class," says Swetha Tupelly, a senior product manager at Le Tote and graduate of the Evening & Weekend Berkeley MBA Program. "That lays a good foundation for understanding A/B tests, correlation, causation, and data-based decision making."

"There are also courses that go deeper into certain disciplines," says Swetha. "When I was at Haas, I took Marketing Analytics, which let us go further into how to apply those statistics and run different models to understand customer churn and predict what the customer is going to buy next."

Getting hands-on experience can also help you understand how to use data to make decisions  
"If you reach out to small companies who need a hand because they have too much to do and not enough resources, they often take on a student or someone who has a full-time job and wants extracurricular experience," says Max. "If you can offer to do analysis for them, offer to crunch some numbers, or research a market, you can get in and get some experience."

Learning to speak fluently about technical topics
Product managers need to be able to ask the right questions and understand technical constraints and limitations.

If you want to learn how to speak tech, Vince Law suggests learning and practicing key vocabulary.

"If you're expecting to work with designers and engineers, the first step is doing a little bit of reading on design and engineering just to pick up on their language," says Vince. "Step number two is reaching out to a friend, co-worker, or acquaintance from those fields and asking them any questions you have about the reading. This will give you practice speaking the lingo in a safe environment, and in the process, you'll learn more about how designers and engineers think."

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Stephanie Curran, a graduate of the Full-time Berkeley MBA Program and a manager of product management for Amazon’s Customer and Brand Protection Team, took classes that gave her practice communicating with diverse teams.

"I took New Product Development, a class that integrated engineers with business students." says Stephanie. Stephanie says that you could also consider taking tech-focused courses online or in a classroom to improve your tech vocabulary, but suggests your time may be better spent getting real-world experience.

"If I was still at Haas, I would go back and spend some more time working with projects in a technical space," she says.

Building your PM skill set
PMs need to acquire a diverse set of skills to bring a lasting product to the market. Taking the right classes, gaining experience, and networking with people who work in product management is a good way to start building skills in communication, negotiation, entrepreneurship, data analysis, and tech speak.

Want more information on building PM skills? Download our free ebook on breaking into product management.

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Consulting as a path to social sector leadership, entrepreneurship [#permalink]

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New post 23 Mar 2018, 12:00
FROM Haas Admissions Blog: Consulting as a path to social sector leadership, entrepreneurship
For the past three years, 20-26 percent of Berkeley MBA graduates have gone to work in consulting, with companies such as Bain, Boston Consulting Group, Deloitte, and McKinsey making regular appearances as top employers of Berkeley MBA students. In addition to enjoying consulting, students find the work to be great preparation for future career opportunities—including launching or leading in the social sector.

Meet Hady Barry, working with social impact consultancy FSG, and Farah Dilber, building skills at McKinsey to prepare for nonprofit M&A integration work:

Working in consulting to build the skills for launching a social venture
ImageHady Barry grew up in Côte d’Ivoire and Senegal and saw that there are parts of the world that still struggle with ensuring access to education. "I fared better," she says, "but it also came with a lot of sacrifices from my parents."

This experience shaped her career goals and her desire to ensure "that more girls are able to live their fullest life and have the same education opportunities that I had," she says of her interest in starting a social enterprise in the education space.

She chose Haas as an incubator for developing her ideas to solve the challenges of girls’ education in Africa, but realized after her first year that she would need to develop additional skills and decided to do so in consulting. "Consulting teaches how to think through and solve problems, and working in social impact consulting, in particular, allows me to working on challenges in the spaces that interest me most, like education or financial inclusion."

Now a senior consultant with FSG in San Francisco, Hady says she gained valuable preparation opportunities at Berkeley Haas. "I had many of ways of learning and replicating the type of work I wanted to do," she says. "With classes like IBD (International Business Development), I gained exposure to consulting —and the challenges—I can expect in this industry. My team partnered with a Peruvian social enterprise that works with highland populations to collect, process, and sell sphagnum moss."

Hady also sat on the board of the Daraja Education Fund throughthe Berkeley Board Fellows Program. Daraja is a secondary boarding school in Kenya for girls who otherwise wouldn’t be able to complete high school.

"What transformed me most was the chance to stretch myself in leadership roles," she says. "There were many opportunities to identify something I thought would be helpful to the community and partner with my classmates to make it happen." These included starting a Humans of Haas podcast, leading and organizing the 2017 Africa Business Forum, and leading the admissions committee for the Berkeley Haas Gender Equity Initiative.

"For me, rewarding work is work that ultimately adds value to the world or rights something that's wrong," says Hady. "I gained from Haas the confidence and knowledge that there's nothing I can't do."

Preparing for senior-level nonprofit work through consulting
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Prior to Haas, Farah Dilber worked in the education sector, first as a teacher and later in a variety of program management positions, including as a leader of an internal consulting department within a charter school network. "When I started to seek out opportunities outside of that organization, and I found that other employers were looking for a more professionalized skillset," she says. "If I wanted an entire career in one place, my track record might be enough to help me advance, but I knew I needed an MBA if I wanted more optionality."

"I wanted a school where my nonprofit experience would be valued, where there would be others with similar experiences and aspirations," she says of her decision to choose Haas.

In the long-term, Farah wants to return to her nonprofit roots, doing nonprofit M&A and integration. "The nonprofit world is full of many small-scale shops trying to achieve the same goals and fighting for the same resources. I want to help nonprofits deepen impact and make better use of limited government and philanthropic dollars through strategic joint ventures and consolidation," she says.

To get there, her short-term priority is to build on the skills she has developed in business school and to diversity her industry and functional experience. To do so, she has joined McKinsey & Company as an Associate. "I see it as the best way to get the most business experience in the shortest amount of time, to develop the structured problem solving skills and top management exposure that would prepare me to reenter the nonprofit world at a more senior level," says Farah, who shares more about being at McKinsey in this Poets & Quants profile.

While she knew she wanted to recruit for management consulting, she had some apprehension that consulting firms would be skeptical of her ability to work outside of nonprofit or education. "Connecting with Haas alumni in consulting disabused me of this assumption," she says. " I was warmed by the number of 'Haasies' with “nontraditional" profiles like mine who were quite happy and successful in their consulting roles. This made my aspirations seem far more achievable and let me go for it with abandon."

See how Berkeley Haas can help you make your social impact aspirations more achievable; get our free ebook on the Berkeley MBA and social impact.

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From Wall Street to Google with a Berkeley MBA [#permalink]

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New post 04 Apr 2018, 08:00
FROM Haas Admissions Blog: From Wall Street to Google with a Berkeley MBA
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When Christopher Jones joined the Evening & Weekend Berkeley MBA (EWMBA) Program, his hoped for MBA ROI was to transition from a long career in banking to a new career in tech. His plan was to finish the program and then pivot to an established tech company like Google, but by activating his Haas network, things moved a bit more quickly.

Within the first few months of starting the program, Christopher found a sales role in Google Cloud Platform that was focused on financial services in banking as a vertical—exactly where he came from. “I reached out to Haas alumni working in the business areas I was interested in and, after some great conversations and an in-person lunch, one of them submitted a referral on my behalf."

Today he covers Google Cloud Platform's San Francisco customers, managing B2B relationships. His path to this role and to the tech industry in general has been notably unconventional; he began his career on Wall Street. Starting as an investment analyst at CitiGroup's private bank in 2007, he had only been there for 6 months when the recession hit, a period he calls “unfortunate but a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to learn a lot." Christopher spent another 6 years at CitiGroup working as an operations analyst as well as in sales, but in 2013 he was offered the opportunity to switch jobs—and coastlines.

Using an MBA to explore career possibilities outside finance
In CitiGroup’s Bay Area office, he found a closer-knit community—which sparked an interest in managing and developing relationships. He also became intrigued by San Francisco's thriving tech scene. "I was inspired by the innovation I saw and by a culture that seemed to foster employee happiness. I thought an MBA would be the best way to explore career possibilities outside finance, specifically tech," he says.

Now at Google, Christopher thrives on the innovative work of his clients, and he enjoys his unique exposure to and partial involvement in their ever-changing creative projects. "The customers I work with are leading really incredible work and they're always changing,” he says. “It feels good to help them save money and to work more efficiently and to be part of helping them accomplish their mission."

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While Christopher's deep background in relationship management at CitiGroup has served him at Google, he's also used his Haas experience to strengthen other essentials skills. "I took Sales Force Management & Channel Strategy at Haas, and the class was literally a guidebook in terms of running a sales organization; I use what I learned in this class everyday at work."

Although he's found fulfilling work in his current role, Christopher also has his sights on non-sales roles at Google, and he's confident that his Haas experience will help him get there.

"Sales was my way into tech but I don’t think I'll be there forever. There are classes at Haas that have given me skills to move to a role in other areas within Google's cloud platform like business development or marketing." Strengthening his technical skills is just one piece of his Haas experience; now in his final year of the program, he says he’s also learning important soft skills “like how to keep employees motivated and how to become an effective leader."

"Early on you understand that one of the biggest resources you're gaining at Haas is the network."

In addition to using the Haas network and education to transition to tech, Christopher says the best part of his Haas experience has been the variety of classes and people.

"I wanted a broad sampling of classes. Last year I went to Brazil with Haas through a seminar in international business, and it had nothing to do with my direct job search. I've also never worked in Human Resources, but I really enjoyed my Diversity in the Work Place class, where we learned about the financial cost or reward of a diverse work place, and how to quantify diversity. It gave me a new appreciation for the importance of this field."

He says the most valuable part of Berkeley Haas has been the community. “Early on you understand that one of the biggest resources you're gaining at Haas is the network. I was fortunate to leverage that very quickly and find my current job.”

Fellow classmates are also a valuable resource. “Everyone offers different insight and expertise, and you can explore career opportunities through your peers." And Christopher plans to be part of this. "I've also paid my experience forward to other Haas students, helping them explore career options or offering some guidance."  

Looking for a community that could help launch you in a new direction? Learn more about the Evening & Weekend Berkeley MBA Program.

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A Glimpse at Lean In at Berkeley Haas [#permalink]

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New post 11 Apr 2018, 17:00
FROM Haas Admissions Blog: A Glimpse at Lean In at Berkeley Haas
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We've previously introduced you to Nancy Hoque, a student in the Evening & Weekend Berkeley MBA Program with a passion for gender equity. She has extended that passion to launching Lean In circles at various organizations, including at Berkeley Haas.

Recently, gleaned from a Lean In session she led with fellow evening and weekend MBA student Tess Peppers. Joining in were Haas Director of Diversity and Inclusion Élida Bautista, Dean Rich Lyons, Haas Lecturer and film producer Adam Leipzig, and students from the full-time and part-time MBA programs.

The group discussed making diversity actionable through allyship and, says Nancy, shared "an incredible hour full of candid conversations, powerful stories, and plenty of 'A-ha!' moments."

Nancy shared some of those "A-ha!" moments in a post on Medium, in this list of five approaches to making diversity actionable through allyship:

  • Allyship isn't only about speaking for others; sometimes it's about knowing when it's your job to take up less space.
  • Naming your intention can strengthen it. One example? the Manbassadors connected to Women in Leadership at Berkeley Haas.
  • Remember that power is not so much given as taken. That means a moment of genuine presence can shift the power dynamic.
  • Focus when working in intersectional causes can enhance impact, as with the Gender Equity Initiative at Berkeley Haas.
  • It's important to recognize when you have a podium—and can be a voice for those that do not.
 I invite you to read Nancy's post on Medium.

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Product Management vs. Product Marketing [#permalink]

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New post 18 Apr 2018, 08:00
FROM Haas Admissions Blog: Product Management vs. Product Marketing
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Imagine that your job is to champion projects that bring life-changing products to the market. Would you describe yourself as a product manager or a product marketer? Both answers are technically correct, but if you want to work in product, you should know that there are clear differences between product management vs. product marketing.

Product Marketing and Product Management: What’s the difference?
The exact definitions of product management and product marketing can vary from company to company and often depend on how a company organizes itself and how it views these two roles, so it's important to note that there are no absolutes in terms of roles and responsibilities. However, each job does have defining characteristics. Understanding these characteristics will help you determine which product role might be best for you.

Product managers (also known as PMs) are responsible for the overall success of a product. They shepherd products through the entire development process, giving engineers and designers daily guidance on how things should work and what to build next. Product managers define a product’s functions and workflows and communicate key information to internal and external stakeholders.

Product marketing, or product marketing management (PMM) as it is sometimes known, is typically very focused on the customer. The product marketer is responsible for making sure that the company fully understands customer needs and builds products to meet those needs.

Product marketing managers also communicate with customers after a product becomes available, promoting the product so that customers understand how it fits into their lives and helps them to address a problem or issue.

Product Marketing Models and Responsibilities
David Riemer, a Haas Executive in Residence and seasoned marketer who works with Berkeley MBA students interested in product marketing, says that most companies use two different models of product marketing.

"In the first model, the product marketer is like a subcontractor who becomes an expert in first understanding the user and then communicating a differentiated value proposition to the right customer,," says David. "The product marketer supports the product manager in deciding where to take the product strategically based on customer input gathered and analyzed by the product marketer."

"In the second model, the product marketer is mainly responsible for communicating withthe customers but doesn't play as active a role in informing the product strategy," says David.

In both models, product marketers work with a wide range of people on a daily basis.

"Product marketers work with researchers, customer experience designers, and other customer-facing resources in the company to understand the customers as well as possible," says David. "They may also work with engineers and data scientists to use feedback tools to get customer insights based on how people use the product. Once they have aggregated all of that data on how customers behave, they then work with the product management team to share what they have learned about the customers and what they think the product team might do in terms of setting product priorities to meet customer needs."

On the customer-facing side, product marketers work with communications professionals, including brand marketing, marketing communications, and growth teams.

"They work with those teams to develop the marketing communications and the access points where customers engage with the company or where they try to convert customers," says David. "The goal is to make sure the marketing team is coming up with the most optimal way of acquiring and retaining customers."

Skills every product marketer should have
David identifies several specific skills that will help product marketers succeed in their role. They should to be able to:

  • Listen and talk to customers to understand their functional and emotional needs.
  • Comb through large amounts of data to understand how a product is being used.
  • Distill competitive information, customer information, and company capabilities to plot a strategic course for how a product will be positioned.
  • Communicate well so that they can write a product story or give direction to others who will write a product story.
Product management responsibilities
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Vince Law, former head of product management at General Assembly who now consults and instructs individuals as well as organizations on product management and leadership, says that the primary responsibility of a product manager is to build a product that solves a customer problem.

"This involves knowing who your customers are, discovering why they are having problems, determining what you need to build to solve those problems, and deciding how to go about getting it built," says Vince.

The activities and responsibilities involved in understanding the customer is where product management and product marketing typically overlap. Both PMs and PMMs commonly work on conducting market research, market analysis, market sizing, customer interviews (also known as user interviews of customer development), and ethnographic research to find out who their customers are and to understand customer problems.

But figuring out what to build and how to build it typically falls squarely in the area of product management.

"There are a lot of different ways to find a solution to a problem and a lot of reasons why one solution might be better than another," says Vince. "Product managers need to brainstorm various ways to solve a problem in the most optimal way and prioritize the things that matter most. This may involve making trade-off on building something that is faster, more efficient, or more effective, but it may also involve other things, such as assessing market risk and determining how to mitigate those risks."

"Product managers might work with a team of engineers and designers as well as people in marketing, sales, and operations to come up with the best solution," says Vince.

Behaviors of successful product managers
Vince identifies several actions that will help product managers succeed in their role. They should to be able to:

  • Conduct research and find the right pieces of data to understand customers and the market.
  • Listen to customers and empathize with their pain points to fully understand the problems they are having.
  • Stay objective through the process instead of making assumptions about which potential solutions might be the most useful.
  • Use business acumen to make analytical decisions about trade-offs and risks.
  • Lead cross-functional teams toward a goal and help them overcome any potential timeline and tactical issues that arise.
Which role is right for you?
Product management and product marketing overlap in many ways, but there are key differences. The PM works to create and define new products and features, while the PMM focuses more heavily on bringing those things to market. The core skills and required qualities for each role also vary and should be considered before determining which role is right for you.

Want to learn more about product roles? Download our free ebook on breaking into product management.

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Product Management vs. Product Marketing   [#permalink] 18 Apr 2018, 08:00

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