How Does an MBA Fit into your Product Management Career? (2022)

If there’s one degree that is most beneficial to product management types, it’s likely a Masters in Business Administration. An MBA program, much like a product management job description, covers a broad swath of topics. Most people don’t go to school for product management—although there are a few graduate-level degrees andcertificate programs popping up these days. Instead, product managers come from many walks of life, including engineering, marketing, project management, or something completely unrelated.

The product management role entails such a wide range of skills and expertise. There’s no way to prepare for it in an educational environment. Most product managers combine what they’ve learned during their formal education with their real-world experience.

Getting your MBA doesn’t make you an expert in finance or economics, or organizational behavior. It does give you enough information to at least know what those things are, understand how they impact a business and provides you with some fundamental skills to engage with those disciplines.

Let’s start with why you might want an MBA, then get into when and how to get one.

5 Reasons a Product Manager Should Get an MBA

While it won’t hurt your career prospects, an MBA program is a significant time and financial commitment. Other than another diploma on your wall, why would a product management professional want to pursue one?

1. Being “CEO of the product” means knowing what a CEO knows

Product managers are sometimes referred to as CEO of their product (usually by themselves of other product managers). That’s because they are responsible for so many different aspects of the product’s strategy and execution. But being a CEO, a mini-CEO, or merely thinking you’re a CEO means you’ve got a whole lot on your plate.

CEOs are responsible for strategy, finance, sales, marketing, growth, customer satisfaction, and more. Most of them didn’t spend time working in each of those disciplines, but they need to know enough to manage them and deal with situations as they arise.

(Video) Do you need an MBA to break into Product Management?

While not all CEOs have an MBA, a lot of them do. That’s because an MBA rounds out a CEO’s knowledgebase, filling in those areas where they don’t have first-hand, on-the-job experience. It’s a sign that you’re knowledgeable about all the aspects of a business.

The same applies to a product manager. You may not have closed deals, crafted a marketing campaign, or created a profit and loss statement, but you at least know why it’s essential.

2. A Credential that speaks volumes

Completing your MBA doesn’t mean you’re suddenly a different person that’s now qualified to do something they couldn’t do before. Unlike passing the bar exam or the medical boards, you’re not instantly granted legal authority to perform tasks you previously could not.

Applying for a job with an MBA in your arsenal telegraphs that you’re knowledgeable about a broad spectrum of topics that might not otherwise be evident from your resume. It illustrates that you’re serious enough about your career that you were willing to spend the time and money to get that diploma.

Compared to a candidate that only boasts a Bachelor’s Degree or has a Masters in a technical field, an MBA shows that you mean business… literally. For some hiring managers, it’s a non-negotiable prerequisite for leadership positions. They want to know you have that scope of knowledge and expertise.

3. Changing how you’re perceived

Product management is rarely anyone’s first job. A product manager’s previous role can also define them. Whether they’re aformer engineer or project manager or marketeer, that legacy can be hard to shake.

An MBA signifies that you’re serious about taking on a roll that’s more about business and less about technology or scheduling. It reframes your skillset and capabilities to some who might be skeptical or can’t view you in a new, more strategic role.

4. Supercharging your capacity for empathy

Product managers have many different types of stakeholders to deal with and satisfy. Understanding their jobs, responsibilities, and interests is crucial, forging stronger relationships and anticipating their needs and concerns.

(Video) How to Use an MBA in a Product Management Career - Ramsey Pryor

With an MBA, you’ll understand the entire business, not just one piece of it. It makes it easier to relate to stakeholders’ mindsets in very different roles who have contrasting priorities.

5. Building a professional network

Equally important to the formal education you receive from an MBA program is the opportunity to connect with your classmates and program alumni. Each class, event, and casual interaction is a chance to get to know people who might eventually play a pivotal role in your career path.

Whether it’s finding a cofounder, a future boss, employee, or somebody who knows somebody, this component of the MBA experience cannot be undersold. Your network will grow via your classmates and your professors. Graduates can also tap an extensive alumni network for warm introductions to people and organizations you’d like to get to know better.

An MBA and Your Product Management Career Path

Unlike medical school, most MBA students don’t go straight from their undergraduate program into an MBA program. Most prestigious programs find it more desirable for applicants to have at least a few years of work experience under their belt, and it’s not unusual to see MBA students in their 30s, 40s, or 50s.

Types of MBA programs:

There are three main varieties of MBA programs:

1. Full-time MBA programs

These are usually one- or two-year programs attended by students that aren’t also holding down a full-time job.

2. Part-time MBA programs

Courses for these programs are held in the evening or on the weekends, and participants usually have a full-time job while they attend. Depending on how many classes they take per semester, it can take three-to-six years to complete a degree when attending part-time.

3. Executive MBA programs

These EMBA programs are usually reserved for more seasoned professionals. They combine intense in-person sessions with home-based work. Because they take work experience into account, they can often complete quicker than a typical part-time program.

(Video) Is Getting an MBA Really Worth It for Product Managers?

Of course, higher education is undergoing a considerable transformation. The requirements to get into an EMBA program have changed from their original intent of appealing to senior executives. It’s not unusual for a full-time MBA student to be in the same class as part-time students.

Finding the Right Time

An MBA can help aproduct management professional at any point in their career, but different benefits depend on when you take the plunge.

Transitioning into product management

For someone with no related experience, an MBA can provide the gateway to moving into the field. It can reposition you and make you a more attractive candidate for a position. Your expanded network can also help get you an entry point into different organizations.

Moving up the ranks

For product managers with a few years of experience, getting an MBA can be the impetus to move into a more senior position or get into a larger company. The networking aspect of the experience can also be a powerful door opener for other firms.

Taking a leadership role

Transitioning from an individual contributor to an executive can be difficult if the current company may not see you in that light. Other organizations may be wary of taking a flyer on you in an expanded role. An MBA adds some legitimacy to your upward trajectory, and the connections you make can get you on the radar of other workplaces.

All-In or Nice and Slow?

You can take a year or two off work and become a full-time student or pursue a degree in a part-time or EMBA program. There are pros and cons to both options.

A full-time MBA program is an immersive experience. You will make more connections, be more engaged with your work, and receive your diploma much faster. You can spend time on start-up ideas, business plan competitions, and internships that are unavailable to a part-timer.

The downside to going full-time is that you’re not going to be working. Do you have the financial flexibility to skip a year or two of income while paying tuition and living expenses? Do you have the flexibility to move to another part of the country if that program isn’t in your current area?

(Video) My Journey From MBA To Becoming A Senior Product Manager In USA

Part-time programs allow you to keep your job while working on your degree. You can start applying what you’re learning to real-world scenarios that much faster. Plus, tuition reimbursement is sometimes part of a company’s benefits package.

However, you are still working, and so are many of your classmates. After a long day of work, you may not have the same motivation to go to class and network to maximize your MBA experience and ROI. Plus, if you have a job where business travel is a regular occurrence, it can be tough to squeeze in multiple classes per semester. You may be limited to programs near your office for logistical reasons (although some EMBA programs can work out even when you don’t live near campus).

It’s important to note that some prestigious MBA programs don’t offer a part-time option at all. Full-time may be your only way to get that particular degree.

Takeaways: Is an MBA Worth it in Product Management?

Completing an MBA program will inevitably improve your writing and communication skills. It will help round out general business expertise that can come in handy when writing MRDs and PRDs, calculating addressable target markets, and sorting through pricing options.

But an MBA isn’t an instant ticket to success. You mostly get out of it what you put into it beyond the actual degree. At a certain point, for senior management positions, is often expected.

If yourcareer path wanders a bit into other domains or you have your eyes set on the corner office, the connections and gravitas that come with an MBA can prove invaluable.

How Does an MBA Fit into your Product Management Career? (1)

FAQs

How will an MBA fit in your career objective? ›

You will be glad to know that an MBA can help achieve all your career goals. Pursuing MBA boosts your self-confidence, improves your listening and communication skills, skyrockets your decision-making and analytical skills, and enhances your problem-solving skills, strategic thinking, and self-discipline.

Is MBA required for product management? ›

An MBA is not a requirement for landing a job as a product manager. However, due to current demand and high pay, more professionals will likely enter the field in the coming years, and employers may become more selective in their hiring processes.

How do you expect MBA to benefit you answer? ›

The benefits of an MBA are applicable regardless of your industry or area of professional focus.
...
These are just a few of the advantages of getting an MBA.
  • Greater Awareness of a Global Market. ...
  • Improving Communication Skills. ...
  • Expand Your Professional Network. ...
  • Increased Job Opportunities. ...
  • Better Time Management.

What is MBA Product Manager? ›

An MBA in product management is a degree course offered by several B-Schools with a concentration or specialization in product management. Therefore, the curriculum for MBA in product management is designed in such a way as to familiarize students with the various roles in the life cycle of a product.

How do you plan on using your MBA to impact your future career? ›

Studying for an MBA will give you the chance to enhance your skills and knowledge about your industry, and can offer additional benefits that will span the duration of your career. During the course, you will develop leadership proficiency and study in-depth management strategy and analysis.

How do you write your MBA goals essay? ›

Structure of a typical Why MBA Goals Essay:

Begin your essay with a story/ event/ life experience that reflects the passion for your chosen field e.g. marketing or finance or any other field. Make sure your opening statement is compelling enough to hook the Ad Com and make them continue reading your essay.

Do you need an MBA to be a product manager at Amazon? ›

To apply, for example, for a Product Manager job in Retail Operations & Initiatives in Amazon a candidate needs to hold Bachelor's degree either in business, engineering, marketing, design, or related field and be excellent at using Excel or Access.

Do product managers need a master's degree? ›

Product managers must complete appropriate education before they can be considered for hire. They typically must complete at least a bachelor's degree in business management, or a closely related field. A business background will help them be ready to step into entry-level business and product roles.

Which MBA specialization is best in future? ›

7 MBA Specializations to Enhance Your Professional Career
  • MBA in Accounting. An MBA in Accounting prepares graduates to measure, analyze, interpret, and communicate economic data. ...
  • MBA in Analytics Intelligence. ...
  • MBA in Healthcare Management. ...
  • MBA in Human Resources Management. ...
  • MBA in Finance. ...
  • MBA in Management. ...
  • MBA in Marketing.
24 Jan 2022

What skills do you gain from MBA? ›

Students can learn how to be a better manager and leader by gaining skills in leadership, strategy, analytics, change management, and more.
...
The Top 6 Skills You Learn in an MBA Program
  • Communication. ...
  • Gathering and Using Data. ...
  • Leadership/Management/Negotiation. ...
  • Networking. ...
  • Strategic Thinking. ...
  • Technology Savviness.
7 Jan 2022

What is your expectation from this MBA program? ›

Developing advanced and flexible management skills

Manage difficult situations. Network and create connections or partnerships. Improve leadership and people management skills. Make tough calls at the right time, and many more.

Why did you choose MBA Sample answer? ›

Here are some examples:

I need an MBA so I can understand how to use financial data and reports to make better decisions about marketing campaigns. I love working with people, but I want to learn more about leadership skills so I can become a better manager.

How does one become a product manager? ›

How to become a Product Manager in five steps:
  1. Learn product management fundamentals.
  2. Get familiar with the product management process.
  3. Study your line of business and industry.
  4. Develop your own projects to build product skills.
  5. Create a portfolio of projects to showcase your work.

What is the job description of product manager? ›

A product manager is the person who identifies the customer need and the larger business objectives that a product or feature will fulfill, articulates what success looks like for a product, and rallies a team to turn that vision into a reality.

Is product management a good field? ›

Product management can be an extremely lucrative and engaging career path for creative minds who want to play a critical role in the development of new consumer goods, business technologies, software platforms and anything else that people use every day.

How do you plan to achieve your career goals answer? ›

How to answer “How do you plan to achieve your career goals?”
  • Get clarity on your path. ...
  • Make sure it is in line with the job offered. ...
  • Divide goals into short-term and long-term. ...
  • Explain your plan of action to achieve it. ...
  • Make sure you are a cultural fit. ...
  • Do not mention salary. ...
  • Do not be vague.
21 Aug 2020

How do you think this graduate degree can help you achieve your career goals? ›

4 Ways a Master's Degree Helps to Advance Your Career
  • A master's degree helps lead to an increase in salary. ...
  • Possibility for promotion is greater with a graduate degree. ...
  • Continuing your education helps strengthen desirable professional skills. ...
  • A graduate degree will grow your professional and social network.
14 Feb 2022

Why do you want to get an MBA essay? ›

You can use the “Why do you want to pursue an MBA” essay to demonstrate your exposure to a wider world beyond your country's borders. Whether it's an educational or a professional experience, you can include it in this essay to show that you are serious about a global career.

What is your short term goal after MBA? ›

Short Term Career Goals for MBA Students:

As specific as possible, reflecting considerable research and thought related to: geography/industry/function/potential companies. Achievable and realistic. Focuses on building capacities, expertise, and experience. Displays an understanding of the MBA recruitment process.

What is your short term post MBA goal and why? ›

In the short term MBA goals, you share the career plan to explain why your skills, experience, and knowledge fit the company. Furthermore, you need to explain why the gained skills during the grad program are essential for your future career. This way, there will be a connection, between the past, present, and future.

What are your career goals Where do you see yourself in 5 years? ›

In five years, I want to complete the internal training program for my position. I've read about it on your website, and I think it's a fabulous program. Not only would I get all the training for my role, but I would be on the fast track to becoming a project manager. That's my top career goal.

Can I do product management after MBA? ›

Before you rush off to b-school thinking it's an easy path to your dream product job, remember that MBA programs were never designed to produce product managers. MBA programs are designed to train students for investment banking, consulting, marketing, and business operations.

Who can do product management course? ›

The post-graduation degree in product management is exclusively for freshers who completed their graduation and the diploma in product management is for experienced professionals who have a minimum of 2 years of experience in sales and marketing or any other relevant domain.

What is an Amazon MBA? ›

Merch by Amazon (or short “MBA”) is an on-demand platform by Amazon that allows sellers to create and list products with their own designs.

How do I break into product management with no experience? ›

6 Different Ways to Get a Product Manager Job With No Experience
  1. Study and Research. ...
  2. Internal Transition. ...
  3. Apply for Junior Product Manager Roles. ...
  4. Start a Company. ...
  5. Join a Startup. ...
  6. Get Product Management Career Coaching.
13 May 2021

What degree is best for product management? ›

The education level required to apply for many product manager positions is a bachelor's degree in business or a related field. Product manager degrees should include coursework in communications, marketing, economics, public relations, statistics, advertising and management.

Is being a product manager stressful? ›

With great responsibility, comes great stress. Due to its versatility, the role of a product manager is extremely challenging. Although this career is also very rewarding and fulfilling, it can often be frustrating for many reasons.

Which field in MBA has highest salary? ›

Listed below are the top 5 highest paying specializations of MBA:
  • Business Analytics.
  • Information Technology.
  • Finance.
  • Marketing.
  • Economics.
  • Entrepreneurship.
  • Data Analytics.
  • International Business.
23 Aug 2022

Which MBA specialization is toughest? ›

Here's five MBA specializations to consider for 2019:
  • Technology. One of the most difficult skills to recruit for this year is big data analysis, according to the Financial Times 2018 MBA Skills Gap survey. ...
  • Finance. ...
  • Entrepreneurship. ...
  • Marketing. ...
  • Healthcare Management.
13 May 2019

Which MBA is most in demand? ›

Most In-Demand MBA Specializations
  • International Management. ...
  • Strategy. ...
  • Consulting. ...
  • Finance Leadership. ...
  • Entrepreneurship. ...
  • Marketing. ...
  • Operations Management. ...
  • IT or Technology Management. A specialized MBA in IT or Technology Management puts MBA graduates at the cutting edge of UX, design, and the flow of information technology.

What employers look for in MBA graduates? ›

A recent Bloomberg Businessweek survey identified the top skills recruiters seek from MBA grads. Survey respondents rated these five qualities as most important: problem-solving skills, followed by communication skills, collaborative teamwork, leadership skills and entrepreneurial mindset — all soft skills.

What qualities should a MBA student have? ›

Key Characteristics of an MBA Student
  • They have “real-world” experience. ...
  • They're hard-working. ...
  • They can work well with others. ...
  • They know how to manage their time. ...
  • They are willing to take direction. ...
  • They're good communicators. ...
  • They're creative and innovative. ...
  • They're mature.
15 Jun 2017

Why studying MBA is important? ›

An MBA program can provide you with better career opportunities, specialization in diverse fields, and help in developing managerial skills. It can enhance your marketability as a professional and increase the quality and quantity of job opportunities.

Why did you do MBA interview questions? ›

How To Answer These Questions In Your Interview | MBA Interview Guide
  • Which specialization will you opt for? ...
  • Which specific skills are you looking to acquire from an MBA?
  • Tell me about the decision you regret the most.
  • How will your boss describe you? (if you have work experience)

Is MBA difficult for average students? ›

You should pass if you put in reasonable effort. You will learn during your MBA, your attitude makes up over 50% of your professional success. MBA is as difficult as you make it, and is as rewarding as you invest in it. In the business world, there is rarely any hand-holding.

Is MBA necessary for successful business? ›

You do not necessarily need an MBA or a university degree to be a successful business owner, but you can always return to school at any point in your career to earn a degree if you choose to.

What to say in Tell me about yourself in MBA interview? ›

How to Answer: When they ask “tell me about yourself”, your answer should be short, concise, and well-structured. In no longer than 2 to 3 minutes, touch upon your key personal, work, and academic experiences, extracurriculars, accomplishments, and career goals.

Why should we hire you answer best? ›

Show that you have skills and experience to do the job and deliver great results. You never know what other candidates offer to the company. But you know you: emphasize your key skills, strengths, talents, work experience, and professional achievements that are fundamental to getting great things done on this position.

What are the 3 major areas of product management? ›

It identifies the three primary areas of focus for product management, namely: Product discovery. Product Planning. Product Development.

What is product management MBA? ›

An MBA in product management is a degree course offered by several B-Schools with a concentration or specialization in product management. Therefore, the curriculum for MBA in product management is designed in such a way as to familiarize students with the various roles in the life cycle of a product.

Why are you interested in being a product manager? ›

In short, a product manager's job is all about solving problems for people. If your life has led you to creative thinking, problem-solving, and curiosity, it's quite possible product management is the perfect career choice and you'd be a perfect fit for a role where you can practice, learn and grow a ton.

What makes a product manager successful? ›

The easy answer to this question — “What makes a great product manager?” — would be a list of skills. A long list that would include: subject matter expertise, outstanding communication skills, market knowledge, leadership ability, innovativeness, strong researching skills, the ability to think strategically, etc.

What is the difference between a project manager and a product manager? ›

Product managers and project managers often work together, they have distinct roles. While a product manager sets the vision, goals, and business trajectory of a product, a project manager leads the many projects to make those goals a reality.

How old are most product managers? ›

Age Statistics in Product Management

54% were between the ages of 45 – 54. Interestingly, the same study conducted in 2019 showed that 34% of PMs were 30 – 39, and 34% were 40 – 49. 19% were in their fifties, and only 9% were in their twenties.

Which company pays highest for product manager? ›

The top-5 companies offering the highest median base salaries for Product Management jobs are Flipkart, Microsoft, Amazon, PayTM and Oyo Rooms.

Are product managers happy? ›

In general, product managers are happy at work and satisfied with their current position, rating their happiness at 3.8 on a 5-point scale. More significantly, only 9% of respondents ranked their happiness a “1” or “2,” indicating that very few product managers are unhappy.

What are your career plans after MBA? ›

Project Manager. Business Development Executive/ Manager. Product Manager. Marketing Manager.

What are the examples of career objectives? ›

General career objective examples

To secure a challenging position in a reputable organization to expand my learnings, knowledge, and skills. Secure a responsible career opportunity to fully utilize my training and skills, while making a significant contribution to the success of the company.

How do you write a career objective? ›

Here's how to write an objective for a resume:

Start with a strong trait, add 2–3 key skills, describe your professional goals, and say what you hope to do for the company. State the position to which you're applying and use the name of the company. Keep it short: 2–3 sentences or 30–50 words is the sweet spot.

What should be the summary in resume for MBA fresher? ›

Examples of Profile Summary for MBA freshers:

Eager to learn new technologies. Highly motivated fresher with an MBA degree with strong networking and leadership skills. MBA graduate with the great problem-solving ability and excellent communication skills. A quick learner and a hard worker.

What are your short term goals MBA? ›

Short Term Career Goals for MBA Students:

As specific as possible, reflecting considerable research and thought related to: geography/industry/function/potential companies. Achievable and realistic. Focuses on building capacities, expertise, and experience. Displays an understanding of the MBA recruitment process.

Which MBA has highest salary? ›

Listed below are the top 5 highest paying specializations of MBA:
  • Business Analytics.
  • Information Technology.
  • Finance.
  • Marketing.
  • Economics.
  • Entrepreneurship.
  • Data Analytics.
  • International Business.
23 Aug 2022

What are your short term goals MBA interview? ›

Key elements of your short-term goal:

As specific as possible, reflecting significant research and thought related to: industry/function/geography/potential companies. Realistic and achievable. Focuses on acquiring skills, expertise, and experience. Demonstrates an understanding of the MBA recruiting process.

What goals do you have in your career answer? ›

You will need a specific, to-the-point answer. So instead of saying things like, “I want to be better at my job”, or “My career goal is to outgrow myself!”, go for something specific like, “My career goal is to be a senior manager” or “I want to earn Rs. XXXXX while working in a QPR position.

What do I put on my resume if I have no experience? ›

Best Things to Put on a Resume When You Have No Experience
  • Professional summary (even if you have no experience in your resume)
  • Key skills you've learned in school and other experiences.
  • Education and academic achievements.
  • Classes, training and certifications.
  • Personal or academic projects relevant to the job.
16 May 2019

What are your career objectives interview question? ›

You should look into what positions in your industry make that kind of earning and set them as your goal instead. So, at the interview, instead of saying “My goal is to make $70,000 in salary by the time I'm 30”, go with “My goal is to be a content marketing director by the time I'm 30.”

What is career summary? ›

A career summary is a short introduction placed at the top of a resume. It highlights relevant experience, professional accomplishments, and skills. It's your career condensed into a few paragraphs. The purpose of a career summary statement is to make the hiring manger read on.

What is personal strength in resume? ›

Here are some examples of strengths to include in your resume:
  • Leadership. Leadership demonstrates to employers your ability to manage and supervise a team. ...
  • Self-motivated. ...
  • Active listening. ...
  • Communicating. ...
  • Honesty. ...
  • Strong work ethic. ...
  • Customer service. ...
  • Creative.

How do you describe MBA on resume? ›

You can opt to include the full name of the degrees, Master of Business Administration, or just the initials. The MBA can be written with periods – M.B.A., or without. However, you probably should include both so you encompass all keyword variations on your resume.

How do you list MBA concentration on resume? ›

Place it under the education header on your resume. Like work experience and job history, higher education degrees and certificates typically follow reverse-chronological order. You should list the MBA first, above your undergraduate degree.

What should I write in my MBA student resume? ›

By listing relevant skills, you can distinguish yourself from other candidates. Some skills MBA employers look for include interpersonal skills, entrepreneurial skills, strategic thinking, communication skills and leadership skills.

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