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Hema Narasimhan

Excited About Technology Product Management?

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Over the last couple of years, the OTM program has started to become a destination for MBA students interested in a career in technology product management. And more and more recruiters are starting to pay attention to our specialized program as they look for product managers for their companies.

Product Management is an awesome career choice if many of the following attributes hold true for you: 1) You get excited about how things work, 2) you are full of innovative ideas for creating a new product or enhancing an existing one, 3) you love observing how customers use a product and have a keen ear for what a customer is saying (or not saying), 4) you love working with cross-functional teams on projects around technology products, 5) you lead with passion and listen to feedback, 6) you are not afraid to declare failure so that you can quickly start afresh, and 7) you have a background in technology or engineering (not the most important criteria, but it helps).

All kinds of companies and industries—from software to pharmaceuticals, from electronics to web-based—are seeking product managers, making it a diverse and interesting hunting ground for OTM students. I got interested in product management when I was a business analyst at Nielsen and had to work closely with product leaders for Nielsen’s Media Analytics products. It seemed like a great fit with my background in computer science and my passion for improving customer experience around software products. When I started my MBA at Wisconsin, I got interested in a company called Intuit in California where some OTM students had landed PM roles in the past. Hailed as one of the best companies to work for in the United States and with a great emphasis on customer-driven product innovation, Intuit seemed like the perfect destination for me. I started channeling all my energy and resources into getting an internship opportunity at Intuit. My efforts and the awesome support of the school and its alumni paid off when I was offered an internship in product management for Intuit’s Payment Solutions business.

I joined Intuit in the summer of 2014 and the internship proved to be everything I had expected and more. It felt truly empowering to be given charge of a payments initiative that was a top quarterly priority for of the business unit. My team encouraged me to design the solution, get insights from Intuit’s customers, and continuously improve the product. I was also given the opportunity to lead a "scrum team," a cross-functional team of software developers, architects, and quality engineers, to build a minimum viable product. I was able to try out all of this within a short span of time to make the most of my internship experience. I was also able to use a lot of the skills acquired through my first year of MBA coursework at my internship, key concepts from marketing data to decisions and business strategy saw me through some interesting problems I encountered with my project.

Overall, the internship was the perfect way to wrap up my first year of MBA and a great training ground for a future career in product management. Many such opportunities exist for current and future OTM students as more and more of our alumni make a mark in technology product management and inspire companies to look at our specialized program for such roles.

Hema Narasimhan joins the Erdman Center for Operations and Technology Management with a Bachelor’s Degree in Computer Science and Engineering from the University of Calicut in India. After graduation, Hema joined Tata Consultancy Services, Asia's largest IT Consulting company, as a programmer in Mainframe technology. After graduating from the Wisconsin MBA, Hema expects to combine her technology and consulting experience with sharp business acumen to play a strategic leadership role in leveraging online media to promote business for product-based organizations. Outside of work, Hema loves travelling and spending time with her two daughters.