Product Management Directors
Product management directors are employed by a variety of industries and companies. Some examples of the companies they may work for include Cargill, Clorox, Commerce Bank, Experian Marketing Services, Georgia-Pacific, IBM, Kimberly-Clark Corporation, Petco, Sherwin-Williams, and Thomson Reuters, to name just a few. They may be part of nearly any industry that develops and sells products to the public.
Product management director is not an entry-level job; most directors are required to have at least 10 years of prior work experience in product management. Many work their way up through various jobs that have increasing levels of responsibility. They may start in an entry-level position such as product management coordinator, then after several years advance to become product management assistant or associate. Some get started in their careers by participating in an internship program while in college. Ask your school's career services office for assistance in finding internship and entry-level opportunities. Also search for job listings and career-development resources on professional associations' Web sites, such as the Product Development and Management Association.
Product management directors with 15 or more years of experience may advance to become vice presidents of companies. They oversee more product management teams and may handle other areas of the business, such as developing new partnerships and clients. Directors may go back to school for an advanced degree and they may get certification. They enhance their reputation in the field by participating in professional associations and speaking at industry-related conferences and events. They also teach and write about the business.
Tips for Entry
Get a part-time or summer job in a product management department or a company that offers product management services. Look for job listings on the Product Development and Management Association's Web site, https://jobs.pdma.org.
Read publications such as https://productmanagement.buzz to keep up with news and developments in product management and development.
Set up an informational interview with a product management director to find out how they got started in their career and what advice they can share. Ask your school's career services office for help with locating an interested director.
Join a professional association to meet people working in the field and learn about career opportunities. The Product Development and Management Association, for example, offers student memberships.