The Ultimate Associate Product Manager Guide

One of the best ways to break into the field of product management is to start as an associate product manager (APM).

After all, the associate product manager role is set up as an apprenticeship that leads into a future product manager role.

When I first started in product management, I had no idea what associate product managers were, and how they fit into the broader career trajectory for PMs. Therefore, I’ve put together this guide to dive deep into the associate product manager role.

I’ll cover the following:

  1. What is an associate product manager, and what do they do?
  2. Why do organizations even have associate product managers?
  3. How does the associate product manager fit into the broader PM career trajectory?
  4. How much does an associate product manager make?
  5. How can you best position yourself to get this role?
  6. When can you expect to be promoted to a full Product Manager?

Let’s dive in!

What is an associate product manager?

An associate product manager works with one or more product managers and enables them to do their work more effectively.

Associate product managers hold many of the same responsibilities that product managers do: collecting quantitative product data and metrics, synthesizing customer research, gathering requirements, and coordinating with stakeholders. Continue Reading

How I Became a Product Manager

In the PMHQ Slack community, we regularly get thought-provoking questions that we feel should be explored in-depth and documented for future reference. We’re starting a new set of Q&A posts called Highlights to dive into these kinds of questions, and enable everyone in the community to revisit the answers and contribute further!

Hi Clement –

I saw on your LinkedIn that you went into a Product Analyst role before being a PM. I’m curious why you started as an Analyst, if being an Analyst offered a great platform to being a PM and figure out if that’s what you wanted to do for a career.

I’m trying to figure out what the best way is for me to enter a PM role, if I’m qualified for one today (if so, how do I find one?), and if not, then whether a Product Analyst role offers the best way to become a PM.”  Continue Reading

Does a Product Manager Need an MBA?

Does a Product Manager Need an MBA?

Another age-old question in product management circles is whether PMs should have MBAs. At least today, an MBA can be a double-edged sword when it comes to recruiting for product management roles. In some cases, having an MBA can count against you, especially at startups where technical experience is valued more. In other cases,  companies with teams that have more of a business focus may look specifically for MBAs.

For the majority of cases, an MBA is not a hard requirement for a product manager. There are many product managers that excel at what they do without an MBA background, and there are many more important qualities that PMs should have and continue to develop. However, this post will focus on the potential benefits of an MBA, as well as action steps an aspiring PM can take in business school to make the best use of time and experience. Continue Reading

4 Recruiting Tips for Students Aspiring to be Product Managers

4 Recruiting Tips for Students Aspiring to be Product Managers

Last week I had the opportunity to return to my alma mater to help out with campus recruiting. It was both humbling and eye-opening to realize that I was now on the other side of things – I’d originally gotten my product management internship (which led to my full-time PM offer) at that same job fair!

While entry-level product management roles tend to be harder to find, in recent years more and more companies are offering these positions. Better yet, these PM opportunities are not just at college job fairs, they’re becoming more prevalent at other career fairs and recruiting events as well.

In this post I’ll go over some tips for aspiring product managers, based on my personal experience interacting with people at the job fair who were interested in my company’s PM role. My goal is to identify key factors that set the best candidates apart from the less memorable candidates. A lot of these tips are also best practice for job fairs and recruiting in general, so read on to make sure you have these in your job-hunting arsenal. Continue Reading