A good number of our members come from Management Consulting. While consulting is an attractive career path for many recent college graduates, it’s not as popular after a couple of years…
As the idea of transitioning from Management Consulting to Product Management is trendy among many that think of making the transition, we decided to interview Neelesh Lalwani, a Product Gym member who previously worked in Consulting and made the career switch into Product Management with us.
He begins the discussion with what makes Management Consultants the best Product Managers.
For him, it’s all about stakeholder management. It’s the people that drive the strategy and the business forward and consulting is all about that.
Similarly, a Product Manager has to work with different stakeholders such as Engineering, Legal, Marketing, to build a Product that the market needs.
In addition to stakeholder management, both professions require one to make the best use of data. They should be able to assess relevant KPIs to understand how a particular business decision, strategy, or product is doing.
What about the things that Management Consultants fall short in Product Management?
Neelesh thinks that Management Consultants might not have enough tech knowledge required to push a product forward.
Many Product Management positions these days are centered around software products. Therefore, it is imperative for a Product Manager to be interested in tech and have a passion for spending some time on learning new things.
In addition to a potential lack of background in tech, Richard adds the flawed way many Management Consultants approach the Product Manager job hunt.
With years of coaching, Richard has observed that many Management Consultants are borderline hopeless about getting a Product Manager job. It’s is because they believe that they don’t have enough tech background, such as a degree in computer science or work experience at a tech company.
Many of them are forced into applying to Strategy roles in tech companies instead of Product Manager roles. And what is the cure to this problem?
Applying to as many PM roles and having as many interviews as possible. The more one interviews, the closer he/she is to land a Product Manager role.
Neelesh also points out that many Management Consultants make the mistake of using a Consultant resume to apply to Product Manager roles.
What they should be doing instead is to focus on their experiences that added to their skillset and write a Product Manager resume emphasizing those projects instead.
Richard also adds that many Management Consultants approach the problem with the wrong mindset. Instead of focusing on how to get a Product Manager job, they focus on how to do the Product Manager job.
Many Consultants have the mindset of landing a Product Manager job at a FAANG company instead of landing a Product Manager job first. Yes, in general, they do come from top schools, and they leverage their academic background to land consulting roles at top companies.
They expect the same trend for landing a Product Manager role; however, that’s not how it happens…
First, they should be focusing on landing as many Round 1 interviews, which would ultimately lead to Round 2 interviews, some of which will lead to Round 3/Round 4 interviews and finally a Product Manager role. They should be dominating the Product Manager interview first to even start thinking about the offer!
Richard also adds the importance of understanding and expressing what it is that one’s background has that can help the company they are interviewing with. Knowing your value and how it could be leveraged is the key to land the Product Manager offer.
The interview is loaded with essential points to help Management Consultants change the course of their careers. Make sure you watch the full video as well!
Neelesh has been working with us to help many aspiring Product Managers coming from Management Consultant backgrounds, and we will continue our discussion on crafting your story (for Management Consultants) for the Product Manager interview. Stay tuned for it!