How Sabeeha leveled up to become a Product Manager at Savii

How Sabeeha leveled up to become a Product Manager

In our latest addition to the Success Stories blog, we feature Sabeeha Khan, who is a Product Manager at Savii. She shares her story of coming from a non-technical background and then landing a role in the Product Management industry. Get to know more about her as she guides us through this amazing process.

Q1. Tell us about your current role and background.

Hi, I’m Sabeeha Khan, I’m currently working as a product manager.

Starting with my education, I have done BSC medical biotech from Amity University. Currently, I’m working as a product manager at a Philippines based company known as Savii.

Q2. What challenges did you face while exploring a Product Management role?

As I said, I have done my graduation in a completely non technical background, which was medical biotech. Initially, it was not very easy coming into product management, because you are expected to have at least some amount of knowledge or some kind of technical knowledge, which is a little prerequisite to enter this domain. 

Initially it was a bit challenging. Hence, I started working as an implementation analyst at a small startup based out of Noida, right after my college. It was basically related to the profile of a business analyst. 

So slowly and steadily I started noticing what business analysts at that company were doing. And I started gaining experience, started learning, helping them out. And that helped me a lot in understanding what exactly the day to day looks like for a business analyst. 

I started understanding, practising and helping them out doing the same. And that is how I was promoted to a business analyst in the same company. I gained knowledge as a business analyst and then slowly I started applying in different companies because I had by then acquired enough knowledge. 

I was confident that I could grab the role of an associate at any startup after getting two and a half years of experience as a business analyst. 

Q3. How has Product Management helped you in your new role?

I mean, the job is product management, so of course, you are required to know everything, all the skill sets that are required to be a product manager. Of course, it is a very fast paced profession where you are supposed to know everything. 

And if not everything, something about everything, here you’re working very closely with the: 

  • Tech Team
  • QA Team
  • Designer Team
  • Business Stakeholders, etc. 

You’re supposed to be well versed with what you’re doing with what they are doing, and also have the acumen to understand the problems that they are coming up to you with. 

So yes, the knowledge of product management is absolutely essential to be a good product manager because you always have to be crisp and on your toes and understand what is going on in the business and also in your current company that you’re working. 

Basic skill sets such as: 

  • Maintaining Client Relationships
  • Creating User Stories
  • Wireframing
  • Product Roadmap
  • Customer Service
  • Problem Solving, etc. 

All of these basic product management skills are absolutely essential for you to be a good product manager.

Q4. What was the interview experience at  your current company?

At the current organisation, the interview process had 5 rounds, namely:

1) HR Round

2) Interview with Product Manager

  • Assignment

3) Interview with Product Lead

4) Interview with CTO

5) Interview with CPO

It started with a basic HR round, where the HR kind of understands what you’re working on. And if your experience is relevant to what the company wants. 

The second round was basically with a fellow product manager, who had the same profile for which you will be hired. They basically tried to understand a little more in depth about my past experience. 

Then the third round was with the product lead, basically, that was a little more in depth, a little more technical. He basically tried to understand the day to day functions that I did, how my work is relevant for the company and if it would be a good fit for the profile that they were hiring for. 

The fourth round was with the CTO, who was a little more technical, again, trying to understand what are the tools that we use, how we come up with different problems and their solutions. 

And the last round was with the CPO. That was more of a behavioural round basic leadership qualities, etc. So these were the basic rounds that I had to go through. 

In the middle after the second round, I was also given an assignment, where I had to design a complete deck for a grocery delivery app, such as a blinkit, etc. I had to also create the complete roadmap and the journey of a similar product.

Q5. Why INSAID? How did it help you? 

Now that I have 3.5 years of experience, I’ve realised that there is a lot that you can learn as a product manager with the help of your experience, day to day learning from your fellow colleagues, etc. 

But there is a huge opportunity to know the literature of it, and the basic knowledge of it that you are supposed to know, before you enter product management. So I felt that the INSAID program will be a very good opportunity to fill that gap, so that you understand the technical knowledge and the practical knowledge. 

Secondly, learning with fellow product managers in this fast paced industry is important. There are people from various domains, people with as much as 10-14 years of experience, who come with a huge skill set

Learning with them teaches you a lot and I have experienced that in my INSAID classes, people come up with really great insights and different points of views that you are most of the time very excited to come across, and things that you did not even think of as a product manager. 

So it is a great experience, because you get to learn so much from your fellow colleagues and the classes. It is a great opportunity to understand in depth knowledge of product management.

Q6. What advice would you give to Product Management beginners?

Product management is a great job, because it is very exciting. And it is not at all stagnant. You’re supposed to know, every day, you’re supposed to learn every day, and you’re supposed to learn, unlearn, and then relearn. 

For beginners, who are just starting on their journey, I would say the more experience you have the more you hustle, the more it will help you. It is not the time to take things for granted and sit back and relax. 

Initially, you’re supposed to know as much as you can. If you’re working in a company at a different role, and you’re trying to transition within the same company, it will be really easier for you because you can start talking with fellow product teams and understand and help them out the way I did. And it will be a lot easier for you to transition. 

Otherwise usually we do find it difficult to suddenly come into this profile, because then companies don’t feel a lot more confident in what value you will bring to the company. But I think if you have something to show with respect to the kind of work that you have done, it gets a lot easier to start as a product manager. 

Lastly, try to learn as much as you can from various sources available online or offline and I would also say programs like INSAID help us bridge that gap very quickly because otherwise it takes a very long time to do it on your own. 

This program will be a very good feather in your cap if you really want to make it.

We hope you found this success story interesting. If you have any Product Management questions, please fill this form and we will get back to you.

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