Product Management Internships | Thinkful

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Landing an internship can be stressful, we get it. But it doesn’t always have to be.

If you’re ready to look for an internship in product management, but you’re not sure where to start, we’ve got you covered. Our goal is to help as many people as possible land their dream jobs, and so far we’ve had a solid success rate. But before we get into the details of how you can land a product management internship, let’s talk about what product management is and why Product Managers are so beneficial for business.

What is Product Management?

Product management can be defined as an organizational function that dictates every step of a product lifecycle. This cycle goes from market research, to business justification, planning, verification, forecasting, development, product launch, pricing, as well as the marketing of the product at all stages.  The focus is on the product and the customers. The entire Product Lifecycle Management (PLM) mechanism integrates people, data, processes, supply chain, and other business systems.  

Product Managers can be found at organizations that build products and technologies for external customers like consumers, end-users, partners, and internal customers–i.e. employees. Product Managers are responsible for defining the product strategy, roadmap, and features for a product or a product line. Often, Product Managers work closely with other functions like engineering, sales, support, and marketing to provide the best possible customer experience.  

Product management is known to be one of the most coveted career paths these days.  Glassdoor rated product management as one of the top ten best jobs in  the United States based on the type of work, job satisfaction, monetary compensation, and growth avenues. On the financial front, Product Managers  can typically earn anywhere from $63,000 to over $200,000 a year. Of  course, the salaries vary according to the experience and seniority  levels, geographic location, type of industry, educational background, and specific skillsets.  

Product Management Internships

If you’re in the middle of your college degree and aspire to become a Product Manager one day, it would be a great choice to apply for an internship in the field. Select organizations that match your skills, area of expertise, product, or technology line when you apply for an internship position. In addition to helping you out financially–as most of the positions are paid, you’ll gain tons of experience and a practical  understanding of how product management functions in an organization.  Depending on the company, you may be offered specialized roles in  departments with well-defined processes; or in the case of smaller organizations, be involved in all product management avenues from start to finish.  

When you decide to go for an internship, choose organizations that are relevant to your business interests and abilities, educational background, or where you see a prospective career in Product Management. You can select a technical organization, a fashion company, or an FMCG venture for your internship. If you’re not sure which field you’d like to work in yet, your internship will help you determine if a certain area’s a good fit or not.

Companies That Hire Product Management Interns

With so many companies in the world, it can be hard to know where to look. Here are companies that are currently offering open product management internship positions:  

Cloudflare in Austin, Texas: The product management team at Cloudfare encompasses software development, product design, and business strategy. Cloudflare uses a variety of products to make their sites and applications faster and more secure. Their customers range from individuals to large multinational corporations. Cloudflare expects its product management interns to understand the needs of their clients and stakeholders, and offer insights that can influence business strategy and feature specifications. As an intern, you’d likely work with Cloudfare’s core engineering department and help develop their software.  

Roblox in San Mateo, California: Roblox is a rapidly growing platform that allows users to teach themselves how to code, publish, and monetize entertainment experiences across any device. Roblox allows users to share these experiences with millions of other users across the globe. As discussed, they work on cutting edge user-immersive technologies. They’ve also been rated as one of the Top 100 Internship programs in the US in 2020, in addition to being included in the ‘Great Places to Work for’ ranking.  

Accolade in Plymouth, Pennsylvania: Accolade is a personalized health and benefits solution that improves the healthcare outcomes, experiences, and cost for employers, health plans and their members. Accolade is recognized as one of the nation’s 25 most promising companies by Forbes, and is consistently ranked as one of the ‘Great Places to Work for’ too. A product management intern at Accolade is expected to work with the larger Solutions Management team to decide on the next features of their product called InView. Also, as an intern, you’ll analyze business problems and assist in the development of requirements to deliver enhancements, upgrades, and new features for the InView product roadmap.  

Atelier in New York: Atelier is a rising fashion start-up focused on creating a luxury brand of handcrafted bags, and it’s touted as one of the rising stars in the fashion industry. Product management interns at Atelier will work in tandem with Product Managers, supporting the CEO and creative directors, organizing raw materials and production supplies, market analysis, and managing production charts.  

Thermo fisher in Pittsburg, Pennsylvania: The Fisher Science Education summer business intern’s expected to support the product management team. You’d focus mainly on portfolio maintenance and supplier relations in addition to all other aspects of the product life cycle.  

Adobe in San Francisco, California: Adobe offers great opportunities for product management internship positions for their diverse Creative Cloud applications. As an intern, you’d be expected to be involved in day-to-day operations. You’d interact with designers, engineers, and product managers. You’d also deal with customer and competitor insights while offering innovative solutions to the team.  

Tesla: The tech giant Tesla offers product management internship opportunities at three locations:Fremont, California; Bellevue, Washington; and remote positions. The internships are with a start-up team where you’d work with engineering, UX, finance, and business stakeholders. Duties include defining Key Performance  Indicators (KPIs), working on new features, architectural improvements, operational excellence, and using qualitative and quantitative testing approaches for the product roadmap.  

Other reputed organizations that hire Product Managers are Nestle, JPMorgan Chase & Co., Facebook, Walmart, Amazon, Microsoft, Nike, Bose Corporation, American Express, Hewlett Packard, Formulatrix, SandCreak Post and Beam, Uline, DR Product Equipment, and Enerco Group Inc.  

How to Secure an Internship

If you’re serious about securing an internship, it’s important to prepare early so you don’t miss out on good opportunities.  

Career Fairs: Your school or university career fair is a great way to learn about internships with different companies. You can also upload your resume to your school database so that companies can contact you if they think you’re a good fit.  

Networking: Don’t hesitate to ask for help. Connect with alumni, peers, or professors with links in the industry, who can help you in your internship search.  

LinkedIn and Job Portals: LinkedIn’s one of the most popular job search portals. You can look up all major internship openings on LinkedIn and other platforms like Glassdoor, Indeed.com, and Monster.com. You can also see the employee culture, work, employee ratings, and salary scale for the organization that you’re applying to on these websites.  

Social Media: Put social media to good use. There are several groups and discussion threads on social media forums like Facebook, Twitter, Medium, etc., where you can connect with experts and peers. Here, you’ll learn about new job and internship postings. Many organizations also post open positions on their social media handles.  

Company Websites: You can check out the websites of the company that you’re interested in for open product management internship positions and apply through their company portals.  

Skill Enhancement Portals: If you’ve enrolled for a course with a skill-enhancement website or a bootcamp, many of them offer career counseling and networking services for jobs and internships. They also help in resume preparation and offer guidance on how to tackle the interviews.  

Important Skills for Product Managers  

When applying for an internship, it’s also necessary to brush up on the skills that employers are looking for in a Product Manager. Good verbal and written communication skills are essential for a product manager, as well as leadership and strategic thinking. Also, you should have the technical know-how, and the capability to conduct thorough research on products and technology.  

As a Product Manager, you need to be knowledgeable about consumers and how to perform market research. An analytical mindset with a collaborative and empathetic attitude will help you work well with teams too. As a Product Manager, you should also be an expert in presentation skills and understand financial principles.  

Tips for Landing the Right Product Management Internship

Companies are looking for someone who’s passionate about product management and willing to learn. Always be coachable and open to learning new ways of doing things. It’s also important to begin to prepare for your interviews, even if you haven’t landed one yet. The more prepared you are, the better. Check out the most common product manager interview questions and begin to prepare answers so that you’ll be extra confident in your interview.  

Lastly, remember that as a product manager you’ll need to be great with people; so, let your people skills shine in your  interactions with peers, future employers, and anyone else in your  field. We wish you the best of luck, and we hope you land your dream  internship.

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