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Product Management:
Skills & Talents

Product management calls on the following skills:

Key Skill Area Requirement
People skills: Medium
Sales skills: Medium
Communication skills: High
Analytical skills: High
Ability to synthesize: High
Creative ability: Medium
Initiative: High
Work hours: 45-65/week


Analysis is Key
Product management is less a people job than many of the other marketing careers. Product management requires high levels of problem solving skills and analytical abilities.

Learn to present.
As in most marketing careers, presentation skills are a necessity. Both jobs will require presentations to others in the company and for marketing research to clients. The ability to be persuasive will prove to be highly beneficial in building a coalition supporting your position and ideas.

The ultimate marketing job.
To many marketing people, a position as product manager is the ultimate job. You are managing the entire marketing operation of a product from inception to final customer distribution. 

Experience required.
To become a product manager you must obtain years of marketing and selling experience. Most product managers have spent some time in the salesforce. A product manager is not a job that typically goes to someone in their twenties.

A good MBA helps.
It is becoming more and more important to obtain an Masters of Business Administration (MBA) degree to become a product manager at a prestigious consumer products company. A masters combined with marketing experience is a powerful combination. Schools that are well-known in marketing and product management include Northwestern, Georgetown, Dartmouth, Ohio State and IMD.

Huge international potential.
Product management may provide the best opportunity to move into international marketing. Gaining experience on domestic US products provide a great training ground for expanding products internationally. Companies such as Coca-Cola and Unilever are well known for moving people around the world to develop knowledge of specific markets and understanding of product reach and potential.

Fast track pay scales.
Because of the requirements for substantial marketing and selling experience, and the growing need for a masters degree, pay for product managers can be very high. Many regard product management as the "fast track" career in the marketing area. High entry hurdles. It's not surprising then that jobs in product management are more difficult to obtain than other marketing careers. By definition, the number of product manager types is limited by the number of products that generate sufficient revenue to support a full-time product manager.
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