I almost passed up on the opportunity to become a product manager intern for a tech startup after getting cold called. I had no prior product management experience, but I was given a chance anyway…
Do want to get a summer internship? Or are you wondering how to become a product manager intern in college?
If you’re a computer science, business, marketing, or communication major, getting a product manager internship is crucial for your post-graduate career. This is especially true as product management is extremely cutthroat and viewed as a coveted symbol within the Fortune 500 and top tech companies today.
Prior to this, my very first internship was as a web developer intern at SBDigitalAgency, a startup which offers digital marketing to a variety of small businesses. My second internship was as a software engineering intern at the World Economic Forum in Geneva, Switzerland. My third internship was as a digital marketing intern at the USC Credit Union close to my campus.
In this article, I’ll be sharing my digital marketing experience at the USC Credit Union. As a rising senior and Computer Science and Business Administration major at the University of Southern California, this was a great way to jumpstart my professional experience. I hope that this will be helpful to other students that are looking for a spring, fall, or summer internship.
How I Got My Product Manager Internship: Quick Summary
1. What Is A Product Manager Intern?
2. How I Got My Product Manager Internship From A Cold Call (I Almost Didn’t Get It!)
3. General Product Manager Internship Responsibilities
4. The First Product Manager Project
5. The Second Product Manager Project
6. Final Thoughts
7. Quick Tips for Succeeding at Your Product Manager Internship
8. BONUS: The Amazing Resume That Got Me Interviews With JPMorgan Chase, Facebook, Salesforce, Accenture, BlackRock, & Redfin
What Is A Product Manager Intern?
First and foremost, I’m sure you’re thinking:
- What is a product manager intern?
- What can you be expected to do as a product manager?
- What experience do I need to get a product manager internship?
A product manager intern is someone who, quite simply, oversees the management of a product. They work with different teams such as sales, marketing, UX/UI, and engineering. They are organized and help make the process of developing a product more efficient, launching it into the market, and bringing the overall vision to life.
Here’s an example of a product manager intern’s responsibilities:
- Conduct market research and interview customers for advice and feedback
- Coordinate weekly meetings with engineering, business, and marketing teams to present project scope, goals, and deliverables to ensure consistency with company strategy and commitments
- Implement growth hacking marketing strategies to propel the awareness and sales of a product
How I Got My Product Manager Internship From A Cold Call (I Almost Didn’t Get It!)
I got the initial call while I was on winter break in December 2018 at home in Hawaii. I remember it vividly: I was at a food court. Then, an unknown number called me.
I picked up.
“Hello, this is Matt from InvestFar speaking…”
It was from the Chief of Product.
Now, I had never been cold called for an internship before. I almost hung up because I thought it was a prank call.
Long story short, don’t sleep on the power of filling out your LinkedIn profile. That’s exactly how the Chief of Product found me. Organic, internal and SEO-driven good ole position searching.
After the initial call, we agreed to set up another time for a more formal phone interview the next day.
He told me on the call: I’m moving forward.
When I returned to Los Angeles after winter break, I had another in-person interview with the CEO and CFO.
I got it.
General Product Manager Internship Responsibilities
For the most part, we could work remotely. The only requirements were to come to the office on Fridays at 5PM, after our classes.
My main job was to conduct iOS and Android audits for their new mobile app. I learned about OKRs.
Downloading a sandbox app and testing out the features, ensuring the minimum viable product (MVP) mobile app is going smoothly.
My core jobs:
- Immediate / Design Enhancement
- Web Review
- Getting familiar with the system
- UX Documentation
- Handling service providers
- In-flight testing
Other parts of the internship are covered by an NDA due to the company being a startup. Good stuff in general, though.
The First Product Manager Internship Project
Similar to how I made a mobile app promotional video at my digital marketing internship, I also made one for our mobile app.
Check out the video below.
The Second Product Manager Project
Also, the InvestFar team went to Spain and Barcelona and attended a trade show. I made a quick promotional video of the blog here.
Check it out:
A startup is a great way to get your first product manager internship. There will be less structure, but the informality can warrant tighter intern-employer bonds. You have a huge chance to make an impact!
Oh, and did I mention to not sleep on the power of LinkedIn? You can check out my profile here and see how I filled out my experiences to make it optimal for organic searches from potential employers.
Quick Tips for Succeeding at Your Product Manager Internship
If you’re looking to succeed at your first product manager internship, here’s a few quick tips to help you:
- Stay organized: You’re the glue that holds everything, and everyone, together. You work with many different teams on a weekly basis.
- Use project management tools: Slack, Trello, Basecamp. The learning curve will pay of 10x in the long run if you learn how to use them effectively.
- Communicate: Quite simply – be a concise and effective communicator.
BONUS: The Winning Resume That Got Me Interviews With JPMorgan Chase, Facebook, Salesforce, Accenture, BlackRock, Cisco, & Redfin
Now that you have seen how I got my first product manager internship and the projects I did, I want to show you my job-winning resume. If you follow my resume template, the odds of your resume opening the door to getting internship interviews with your dream companies will skyrocket.
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