James Lau – Member Spotlight
I managed to secure three offers during my time at Product Gym. Thank you to Rich, Cody, and all of the instructors that helped me along the way!
What got you interested in Product Management?
Before I was a Product Manager, I was a mechanical engineer in the commercial LED lighting industry for about six years. Within the same job, I was very interested in knowing how well my products have been doing, why there are product complaints, what people like and don't like. Just more understanding of the business side of why certain things are the way they are, and also, why an executive would ask me to design a specific product, and where's their research coming from? The question and answer eventually led me to get a small product position in my old company.
Coming from a hardware product background, what were your job hunting challenges?
The challenge was mere quantity of hardware product positions. At first, I set a mindset to apply to anything and everything possible, so I casted my net real wide. As I started applying, I started finding trends in rejections and I started getting a couple of more interviews pertaining to interest in my hardware positions. Eventually, I realized that I was getting rejected from software companies that are looking for software people. Things started to click, and I started honing in and reaching out to Cody and some other mentors in Product Gym. I was advised to hone in on my job hunt more based on the trends I found, so I attacked the hardware trend a bit more. I started getting more success, more interests, such as medical device companies, connected device companies and so on, and started working from there.
On top of helping you land interviews, do you feel that Product Gym adequately prepared you for your job?
Definitely. I think Product Gym helped me in honing my interview skills, but the mentors and instructors helped a big deal. They had me ask the right questions when applying, and also the right types of questions to think about when doing case studies. Quite frankly, when I was applying to Juul, and I was given a case study, that was my first time ever doing a case study. I took a whiff of it myself, and then asked one of the mentors for advice. When he took closer look at it, he started asking me more critique questions that I would usually get asked from a Product Manager (like my supervisor at work at that time). As a result, it got me to think like a real Product Manager. I start answering the questions and long story short, Juul was very impressed and was something that they were really happy with. I think because of that case study that I did, I won a lot of thumbs up across the organization.