Basic qualification set for an APM role is ridiculous

Hey Guys! I was going through an ad for and APM requirement, I was just shocked. Forget about the assignment or 5 stage interview process, even the basic qualification set for an APM role is ridiculous!

Basic Qualifications:

  • 3+ years of experience with a minimum of 1+ years of experience in Product Management delivering highly successful and innovative products.
  • MBA from Tier 1 Business Institutes
  • Computer Science undergraduate degree or equivalent plus hands-on software engineering experience.

What’s your say on this?


The majority of companies are dysfunctional when it comes to product management.

I mean look, they want product experience, an MBA and engineering experience for an APM role. That’s ridiculous.


@ChristieDook, 100%! I’ve found even within some FAANG orgs, leaders don’t understand what good product management is and instead just see it as an appealing title in the job market but end up using the person to just push things forward instead of doing true product work.


This is why I don’t have enough drive to become a PM. I know that on paper and in theory it’s supposed to be “CEO of this product” type role but in practice you’re just a glorified pusher/mediator/operator.


If you’re in an org that doesn’t understand product management this is a common problem. If you do have leadership that understands, it can be a wonderfully fulfilling role while being a springboard for other opportunities.

Also in general for roles in large companies, that’s what you do as an individual is push things to completion. The real fun strategy, corporate development, long term thinking start to be a majority of the job at the Director/VP level. So the complaint about PMs at large companies doing mundane tasks is more a function of level rather than job family.

Hell, even tech roles run into this same issue. You don’t really get into the fun of big architecture decisions, playing with new technologies, etc. until you hit the Senior/Principal Engineer levels. Prior to that, you’re working off a kanban board knocking out whatever task is needed on a week-to-week basis.


100% agree about roles at larger companies. Living this everyday right now.


So true and so sad. They make you jump through fire and then once you made it, they leave you to sink or swim in open water.


That is the reality of our profession which is why getting good at your craft, learning to negotiate your salary like a pro, and interviewing to make sure you fit into company culture is so important.


I would really like to see the path someone took to do this.

  1. Graduate with CS undergrad
  2. Work 2 years in dev while getting an MBA
  3. Work as APM for 1 year

Like, who’s path went this way?


My MBA program was filled with former developers who wanted to get a PM job. They would do a PM internship, and many ended up in an entry PM role. So that path is fairly reasonable, except tier-1 b-schools wouldn’t admit after only 2 years’ work experience - you need at least 3-5.

But it is not reasonable to require PM experience for an APM role. They probably would not be strict about that requirement.


I agree with everything you wrote, except this:

tier-1 b-schools wouldn’t admit after only 2 years’ work experience - you need at least 3-5.

I know several people from Stanford GSB who went straight from undergrad. I know more who went after 2 with an ibank/consultancy.

But yes, this requirement set is ridiculous. That would be slated as an L4 PM at Google, maybe L5 if you had a couple of PM years at a good shop. APM is straight outta undergrad.


They’re out here looking for an MBA from top schools for an APM while I’m a Sr. PM at a health tech without any college degree at all.


Director of Product here for an ecommerce and no degree. It happens.


@AnaRodriguez, Quick question: briefly, how did you get your job?


It was kind of a winding road.

After highschool I got a job working as a pharmacy technician (all the people you see in the back of the pharmacy who are not the pharmacist).

After that I moved to a pharma-consultancy/contact center that deliberately recruited former pharmacy techs. It was an entry level job as a kind of case manager, but within a few months I moved into supervisory roles and 5 years later I was a senior operational leader overseeing multiple teams, one of which was over 300 associates.

Along the way I struck up a friendship with someone on the product team at that company and with her recommendation it was easy for me to move over. I had the INCREDIBLE good fortune to be quickly aligned to a handful of products that were using emerging technologies, which was my hook into my current role.


Interesting journey and I’m guessing you being good at your job + meeting someone in a position that could align the job for you made it happen! See here’s my thing, I’m a civil engineer that knows how to code and understands pretty much everything related to product management but cannot land a job or at least one that pays okay for the role. What sucks though is that I keep getting recruiters asking me if I’m available to discuss about jobs in my current field that I hate so much.


Can you move to a PM role, or even just another role in an org that has a PM function that has a strong association with Civil Engineering (and you can use your existing knowledge to your benefit)?

Most PM’s “fall into” the role after working in another function in the business, and show both interest & knowledge about Product. If you can find ideally a junior PM role in another business, great, but even another role in a civil related business that has a product function - with your goal to move to that.

I’ve got friends that build a product called Drawboard (a digitized building drawing software/sharing tool) and your experience would be invaluable in a product like that. Unfortunately, they are based in Australia (and I’m guessing you aren’t, nor in a time zone that would be compatible)


That’s what i’m basically trying to do.

I also studied urban planning and there are a lot of opportunities in the world of urban-informatics and smart-cities. I feel I’m being impatient but I’m still being persistent (in a positive way) and it’s a matter of time before I land on something rewarding. Thanks for this :slight_smile:


Yeah, it’s a stay in your lane, non-meritocratic world we live in. Sucks to see this to be the case. You should look into Web3. There it truly does feel meritocratic and not credential based


This is absolutely insane! If you have three years of experience you are no longer “entry-level”…this just keeps perpetuating the “no one wants an inexperienced PM, but no one is willing to give you that initial experience”. Not even touching on the MBA requirement here lol

What I’ve seen in some companies is they don’t have a specific APM role and instead start hiring at the PM level, but they allow applicants with at least two years of “relevant” PM experience (aka tangentially related fields) with an MBA being optional. I personally like this approach as you end up getting a pool of candidates with very diverse experiences that you wouldn’t necessarily have looked to recruit in the first place.

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