Lately we have been thinking a lot about how Product Managers can grow their careers or how non Product Managers can get in to the profession. In this article we want to relate a success story about a Product Manager in New York who was being mentored by the Brainmates CEO, Adrienne Tan.
Michael Ayoola joined Adrienne in an international mentoring program run by The Product Guy – Jeremy Horn. Michael had just completed an MBA with experience starting and consulting for technology startups in the Greater NYC Area. He enjoys creating solutions for people and products to achieve their full potential.
We interviewed Michael to hear about his experience.
Q – How did you start your career in Product Management?
A – My career started without any acknowledgement of the importance of product management to a company’s success. But I do have experience with project management. After receiving my MBA, I decided to meet with business leaders to acquire their insight on career skill development. Product Management was introduced to me after someone evaluated my current skill set and proclaimed that it was a perfect fit.
Q – What made you decide to get a Product Management Mentor?
A – As a peer mentor for Big Brothers Big Sisters, I highly value learning and mentorship. Product Management is one of the few business roles that does not have a straight forward path. I felt I needed someone to help provide structure for success in the role.
Q – How did you meet your Product Management Mentor?
A – Building relationships is very important to me. So, I am a member of several business meetup communities in the NYC area. I was presented with the opportunity to gain a mentor through my favorite meetup “The Product Group” (over 5000 members). I seized the opportunity and interviewed for a position. I am now Adrienne Tan’s (CEO of Brainmates) mentee.
Q – What did you learn from having a Product Management Mentor?
A – Adrienne taught me to trust my instincts, to make an educated decision with the information (data) provided. Product leaders must be aware of how decisions affect the entire company from engineering to sales. But most importantly to treat my career as a product and continue to evolve. I am really grateful for her continued support.
Q – Do you have any advice for other Product Managers wanting to progress their careers?
A – Find a product mentor. If that is not available reach out toa senior product leader that you can gain insights from. Also as Adrienne, my mentor said, “Treat your career as a product”.
We are very excited when Michael landed his job as a a Product Manager for Dealertrack Technologies. Congratulations Michael!