How to Succeed as a Product Gym Student

Rich, Founder of Product Gym, gives us an insight on what it takes to become a successful Product Gym student. He discusses what holds students back from getting Product Manager roles and tells us what to do to be successful in Product Manager interviews.

Hey, this is Rich founder of Product Gym and I wanted to go ahead and wish everybody here a very Happy New Year for 2019. I hope everybody is getting started in the absolute right way possible towards sort of striving themselves not just to the Product Manager job of their dreams but towards every other endeavor that they also have in their life as well. Today I got asked this question and it was actually pretty, pretty interesting. Why do you think certain Product Gym students fail or for whatever reason, I think the email said. So, what has been the reason why some people have failed before in the past? Let’s take a look at it.

Legally speaking, we cannot say we have a 100% placement rate. In fact, the term placement rate itself as a little bit misleading because training organizations and placement agencies, which is what I used to do when I was a tech recruiter back in California, instead of actually placing people. But this is definitely not placement because we do not negotiate with the company that you’re currently interviewing with, but we’re coaching you how to go ahead and negotiate with with a company that’s making the offer to you,when you get to that point, but we don’t serve as a intermediary at all.

But to break down that problem, I also thought about it like why do Products or Product students fail? Well, I mean, we we haven’t given up on any one of our students just yet. So saying that they fail means Candyland, a Product Manager job in six weeks, we’ve had plenty of people that have done it. But we’ve also had plenty of people that averaged about two and a half months to three months in and we’re still supporting them up to 12 months when they’re here. In fact, even when Product Gym students are not happy with the Product Management job that they landed, we put them back into the program for free at no additional cost. For now, that might be subject to change. But moving on from that even when students are unhappy about their job months and months and months later, or they’re getting ready to make their transition a year, year and a half later, we’ve still been here to support them as best as we can. Because we believe that we’re really building community here.

So having said that, it’s a little bit ambiguous and is a bit of a loaded question on why Product Gym students fail. I haven’t seen any, any any person fail just yet. But I can talk a little bit about why Product Gym students struggle and if we can go ahead and tackle some of the mental challenges that they’re going through, which is one of the biggest reasons why certain Product Gym students struggle and they’re finding this process very challenging. I find that, reason number one, they focus on things that they cannot control. It’s by far one of the biggest reasons why people struggle here they focus on all of the advantages that they don’t have rather than betting on their shrinks and they feel that other people have it better than they do and what other people are getting Product Manager jobs, so they wan to know, so what is their background? And where did they land a job? They’re always trying to tie some kind of knot, that’s okay, well, you know, this person came out of the bank or a FinTech company right now.

And I said to myself, well, that’s not exactly the case all the time. I mean, I have students that are ending up at companies and industries that they’ve never even thought of. The truth is, 92% of our students are landing Product Manager jobs at companies where they never even imagined being at. But it just so happens that a Product Manager just quit. And this company now has a huge urgency to go ahead and fill this role. That’s one of the biggest risks, they focus on all these different things that they can’t control. I think it stems into every other reason because Reason number two, they think also they have it the worse and they never look at the people that are landing jobs. And, they can choose to think that way. That’s what they focus on. I take a look at the number of students that we work with that are over 40 years old that are over 50 years old. So people say age, okay, that’ll be tough in landing Product Manager jobs with us. Okay, the second thing is, I take a look at the people that have just graduated, I’ve taken a look at the people that just started a brand new job they absolutely hated. We were just working with this girl who recently started job for about 30 days that she knew was not right for her prior to meeting us and nothing to do with us.

But she realized that this isn’t Product Management and I should be, I want to be a real Product Manager and that is taking action about it, right. We’ve had students that said that they stayed at a company for way too long, and all of a sudden, they feel like they’re being penalized by the world. We’ve worked with people that have been at their company for over eight years, close to 10 years, some over 10 years. We have people that are looking like job hoppers on their resume. We have people that are international students that come here to our campuses in the US where they say, you know, visa support issue, you know, I’m on I’m on 36 months visa, or H1. I know English is not my first language. I do not understand American business culture. Nobody wants to go ahead and provide sponsorship, I took a look at all those students that think either they’re too young, they think they’re too old to do the job, who need sponsorship, or they’re from another country. And then, you know, it gets the last reason which is having technical experience.

I don’t have the technical experience or code experience you know, at any given time, if you don’t have this job, there’s a number of reasons why you don’t have this job. But interviewing less is never, ever going to help and they choose to go ahead. I find that the successful students, they choose to go ahead and build on their strengths. No, I’m not technical, but I am very analytical. And I’m going to bet on that strength. 100% Yeah, I’m very technical, I do not have really soft skills on it’s very difficult for me to give a presentation, I don’t know how to go out there and make it highly impactful call presentation, you know, which a lot of my finance and a lot of my management consulting, and a lot of my sales and marketing people have do very well.

They said, Hey, I’m gonna go ahead and bet on my strength of being the technical person, right. And they feel like, hey, for our San Francisco students to focus on to technical, I don’t have enough the business skills and they choose their strengths. So at any given time, you can choose to focus on your weaknesses, where you can go ahead and choose to bet on your strengths. And I think a really good book to start reading off of the year as costs Strengths Finder, 2.0, and you can go ahead and find it, go ahead and purchase the book at the end of it. There’s skills assessment that really determines your strengths and who you are as a person and I think it takes like an exam to to make it to three levels up.

Plenty of authors like this, have really proven you cannot be somebody that you’re talking to, you can only be a better version of who you already are. So whatever strengths you have, you have to bet on that, you know, you cannot feel like you have the worst, I can talk to you about all kinds of sob stories. So it does a been a victim, right? It is one of the things also take a look at the people how they come to class, how prepared are they, when they come to class, how seriously they take the class that my students that are taking this class versus they become class early, they never, ever leave early.

I take a look at the students that don’t come to class or come to class late and it’s amazing to me that some of the people living, regardless of which location they’re taking the class, some of the people that were living closest to the campus, where we usually have our classes, pretty centralized locations, they’re the ones coming in late versus the people that are coming from really far away. It’s amazing to me why they’re early. Okay. It’s also amazing to me, the number of people that leave early, you know how ready they are help diligent they are about taking notes, the kind of questions that they’re asking how focused they are in class, I take a look at some of the students that are on Facebook and Instagram, during class, why would you pay close to four grand for classes to go on social media when you could be doing anything with your nights and weekends. You know, I thought this was a job, they say you want it. But again, you know, the unsuccessful ones will blame Product Gym and the successful ones are always trying to find ways to make it work. Right. You know, the other thing is also the etiquette that they have towards the coaching staff and the instructors here that we have here, people that are successful, they don’t update us on the application, their interview status, people that are successful, they do update us on the application and the interviews, which has been between a very strong line of communication with us.

You know, as we’re growing bigger and bigger, it’s harder for us as we’re onboarding more and more. It’s harder for us always keep track of all the students, but the students that that really fight for our time, always go ahead and do that. I mean, I had two students, one that came out as a financial analyst background and one that came out systems engineering background, they decided that they were going to meet up throughout the week to go ahead and grab coffee and talk about stuff, you can do this, you know, people said, Well, I didn’t properly encourage us to go ahead and do so. And I said, Well, you know, the thought never really crossed my mind because I have a million things I’m thinking about every single minute. But winners focus on winning.

And the losers focus on winners as Conor McGregor is to say, so when you’re winning, you’re focusing on what are all the things that I could do? What are all the things that I can do to control my destiny right now? What can I do more of what can I do better when you’re losing, you’re always thinking about what somebody else’s not doing for you. Okay? also take a look at how people view challenges are phenomenal. Our Rockstar students, they look at the interview process as a challenge. And they want to tackle that challenge our less successful students, they want to look at the interview process as it sucks, they can play this word, they curse, they despise it, you know, they think it’s the bane of their existence. Well, the real Product Manager is interested in solving all types of problems and their paid very well to go out there and be solving problems every single day, you’re going to be dealing with bigger problems almost all the time. So they look at it as like, I’m going out there to prove my problem solving skills versus some people feel that they just hate this process so much.

Some say If I could just get the job I would be good. Now, that’s not how it works. There’s, there’s there’s a line of other challenges that presents itself even after you get the job. Okay, coachability which the successful students are great at, they listen to what the coaches have to say. They don’t always agree with it. Or they don’t always see the logic but they want they listen to the coaches, and unsuccessful students here, they don’t listen to the coaches. But they want the coaches to go ahead and prove a concept for them, which is all I need is this if I just knew this, and I said, you know, we’ve been doing this for a very long time, I have three years technical recruiting experience, half of my staff are working Product Managers, or veteran Product Managers, the other half of my staff, we have actual former engineer at Uber here. So between getting the job and doing the job at our team knows more about getting a Product Manager job than any other team alive right now.

And yet successful students, they choose to go ahead and follow a proven track that’s proven that other students have balanced assessment to it. Unsuccessful students come out and they want to carve out their own track to get that they can hack the game. And then what ends up happening is they start finding themselves in positions that is very unfavorable. They start fighting, they start running into trouble. And it says what you didn’t see that far ahead of the game, because you haven’t had that much time to go ahead and walk this road that we’ve done it over 120 times over. So they feel that, hey, all I need is this and I’m going to get this and I’m going to be able to do this and then they start running control. Okay, and then they come back and apparently it’s our problem. Okay. I think, lastly, is I think successful students work with the resources that they have, they started with where they are right now.

And they have a very agile mindset, they start with where they are and what they’ve got. And they bet 100% of their skills, you know, unsuccessful students here, they take a look at, they always feel that we don’t give them enough resources. And the truth is, I find that to be hilariously laughable, we have more resources right now, the people that were doing this before the and we’re always adding more resources, more Product lines, giving you guys more Product Managers to talk to. And of course, there can always be more resources. But you know what people think about it this way, when you’re on the job, you’re likely going to have to go out there and do things without all the resources that you want. You know, one of the top three complaints in actual working in the business is I don’t have enough time, I don’t have enough resources, I don’t have enough people. And you asked me to make this happen. The truth is, you’re never ever, you’re never, ever going to get the unlimited resources on limited time, and limited people. So you got to go ahead and work with what you’ve got.

So getting the Product Manager job right now, is one of the hardest things that you can do. And I’ve worked with everybody from Stanford MBAs to I think some of the most impressive people out there. But the demands of the job of increase that does not stay the same. I feel that Product Managers right now, or do we 10 times more work than what Product Managers were doing even three or four years ago, the demands on the market have also been a lot more competitive. So, Product teams have to be a lot more on point, they also have to be more competitive to meet the demands of the market, which means recruiting for these jobs cannot be the same way that it was done 10 years ago. It has also changed so whoever it is that I’ve talked to, they always told me that getting this was the hardest thing that they’ve ever had to do. I said, yeah, I made a business out of it along with my whole team. So getting a Product Manager job is really, really hard work that’s going to push you towards the limit.

If you really want to do it, you have to really embrace the mindset. I think I’m a true winner, true champion. And I really do believe all of my entire team at all of hard parts that we’re here to help you gain the confidence during the Product Management interview process. We’re here to teach you how to win and pretty much anything that you got attack a lot. So for those of you interested. I know a lot of people out there really struggling, they’re really stuck they’re frustrated, they’re not getting the feedback that they want, so please please please go ahead. Reach out to us. Send me an email, add me directly add me on LinkedIn, subscribe to our social media channels. This is Rich rich at Product Gym. You are is not to get an automated response email template, you’re actually going to be talking to the founder himself. So, I wish everybody a Happy New Year. This is a time when a lot of people are thinking about making career transitions. There’s no better time to do it. It’s always the best right now. It’s always going to be the best time So reach out. Let’s see how we can help. Let’s get you through this and everybody have a great first week of the year. This is Rich founder of Product Gym signing off.

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