Could you explain to us about the field of ‘Product Management’?
The main focus of the Product Management field is analysing how an existing product or a new product within a broad segment can be improved or shaped in its conceptual design, available features, brand marketing and ease of accessibility, primarily to serve the targets of expanding into new customer base and further enhancing the experience of the existing customer base. This analysis is carried out using various tools/frameworks of interpretation of data collected from research, industry, product statistics, etc. It combines it with a contextual understanding of consumer behaviour, derived using study, observation, and experience of various dimensions of the society.
What was the general interview process for the company you interviewed, and tell us how to prepare for that? Please mention the number of rounds and the nature of the interview process.
There were three One-On-One rounds in the process carried out on Google Meet. There was no separation of rounds as “technical” or “HR” as there was reasonably diverse interaction involved during each round. As soon as a round got completed, I moved into a new meeting link, and thus the three rounds carried on successively roughly. The entire process lasted for about 60–70 minutes.
One general doubt, is there any technical round involved in the process? And does one need to know how to code for product management roles?
There is no technical round involved in the process. You don’t require coding experience for PM roles.
Could you please list down questions were you asked in the different rounds? Puzzles, technical problems, any other discussion in general that you think will prove helpful for students.
A Product Case Study [PPT format] submission was to be submitted on how WhatsApp can integrate digital payment about two weeks before the first day of interviews. On Interview:  In the first round, I was asked to tell about myself, long-term goals etc. and give insights on a couple of simple real-world problems related to decision making. Example: Suppose I give you a piece of land (not fertile, can’t be used for agriculture), what will you do with it? And follow up questions based on the replies.  In the second round, I was asked questions based on my Internship/Project. Then they made me solve a classic Product Case: to think of a new product feature in the finance segment and design its rough user experience and insights on what nudges can be used in marketing it.  The final round made me analyse a website, spending about 10–15 minutes navigating through it, giving input on what changes can be done to various website features to make it a more user-friendly experience and improve its brand perception.
What are some of the FAQs you face and think students must prepare for in most companies? More specifically, in the context of HR rounds.
Fortunately I faced only one company. Questions like, how has your college life, internship/project, has helped in shaping you up, what are your long term goals, what are subjects and skills that you enjoy pursuing the most, why did you choose this particular sector and firm, are some examples of common HR questions.
What are things students sitting for placements next year can do from now until December to maximise their chances of getting through a company in this sector?
On a personal level, I did not prepare for Product Management apart from working on a Financial Product for about a month in my Internship, but it is helpful to spend one-two weeks solving standard Product Cases for those entirely new for the domain. Later on, as placement season comes closer, solving CAT-type aptitude problems and mock interviews based on CV and HR questions might help because they are asked in almost all tests across sectors.
And how far do the positions of responsibility on the campus help you? How has life in KGP has supported you for this role?
My early experience in Awaaz helped me become better at reading and writing and, more importantly, to get in touch with seniors, make some good friends live, and share various life experiences that would help me understand myself and the world I am in better. Later on, working on case studies and projects in setting up Shastrarth, apart from getting better pictures of the local student community, I learned crucial aspects of design and leadership, primarily through new interactions and repeated failures in various plans. While taking upon these responsibilities, I never had any professional leverage to target by the position. It is more the lessons as mentioned earlier acquired with the flow that helps in professional roles.
Anything else that you would want to share with the students?
Often, it is who you are outside your CV points that matter in the long run. The most important piece of advice is not to be bothered much about what others are doing. Curate your decisions according to your goals, be it any sector or role.