Are you hoping to land a place on a competitive product management graduate scheme?
September is an important time to start researching and stay on top of your graduate scheme applications.
We’ve compiled a list of companies that offer graduate opportunities in this growing field, as well as information on what you can expect in your application.
What is product management?
A product manager is responsible for building product strategy and guiding the success of a product. They will manage the activities of a product lifecycle from market research and development to product launch and marketing.
They lead a cross-functional team that works together to design, build, and deliver the product. In a technology company, a product could be an app, online software, or a new feature for an existing platform.
Product management is often described as the intersection of business, technology, and user experience.
A product manager must always have the business goal of a product in mind. How will the product delivery enhance the success of the business? Goals should be measurable and achievable, such as increasing customer retention rates by 100%.
User experience is critical to a product manager. PMs represent the customer and are responsible for developing the user-company relationship. Collecting user feedback and analysing data is key to defining the product requirements.
Product managers do not build products themselves. However, communicating product vision requires a sound technical understanding at least. In agile projects, PMs spend most of their time with the development team.
Having an affinity for all three functions is essential for a PM. They have to collaborate with a team of software engineers, UX designers and marketing managers, who are all responsible for developing and launching the product.
If you would prefer to focus on just one of these disciplines, why don’t you check out our post on technology graduate schemes: ‘28 Technology Graduate Schemes [Ultimate Guide]’.
Entry Requirements for Product Management Graduate Schemes:
Entry requirements will vary depending on the company.
Some will expect applicants to have a STEM degree or equivalent technology experience.
However, not all companies require a computer scientist. Many welcome candidates from a wide range of degree subjects.
The important thing is that you can demonstrate an interest in technology and a willingness to learn.
Companies generally ask for minimum entry requirements of a 2:1 classification. In some cases, a 2:2 classification is also acceptable.
Which companies offer graduate schemes in product management?
As a graduate, you would most likely start out as an Associate Product Manager or Rotational Product Manager.
APM roles are very popular in the United States, with companies such as Google, Uber, and LinkedIn all offering product management graduate schemes.
While this is still an emerging field in the UK, we have put together a list of companies that offer PM opportunities for graduates.
Keep an eye out for some the best product management graduate schemes opening up in the UK over the next few months:
The Google Associate Product Manager (APM) programme is a 2-year rotational scheme intended for new graduates and early-career starters to build exciting products on a global scale.
It is no surprise that this is one of the most competitive programmes on the list, with perks such as 1:1 mentorship and international trips.
Find out more about the APM programme at Google.
Facebook offers an 18-month Rotational Product Management (RPM) programme which is open to all graduates, even those with no tech experience.
RPMs have the opportunity to work across 3 different high visibility products. At the end of the rotation, you will join one of the teams full time.
Find out more information on the Facebook RPM Programme.
As one of the world’s leaders in digital payments technology, Visa’s dynamic product team is a great place to launch your career in product management.
Graduates at Visa could be working on anything from identifying future payment product opportunities to developing a new launch strategy. Like Facebook, candidates do not need to have prior technology experience.
Keep an eye out for Visa’s upcoming 2021 Product Graduate scheme.
4. Just Eat
Graduates on the Just Eat product team will gain real insight into the entire product life-cycle. In this role, product ideas can be turned into product changes in as little as one month.
This is a fantastic opportunity to learn quickly and experience product management at a micro-scale.
Find out more about graduate product management opportunities at Just Eat.
The rotational product management graduate programme at BT offers a structured development plan for aspiring product managers.
Over the two years, you’ll have the opportunity to work on a wide range of projects. You’ll help to come up with innovative solutions, launch new products, and have a direct impact on BT’s bottom line.
Find out more about the product management graduate scheme at BT.
Product Managers at Tesco are responsible for delivering innovative products to forward their vision of being the world’s leading retailer.
Applicants need a passion for technology but also for the customer experience.
With multiple locations and a generous starting salary of £32,000 (in 2020), this would be a great graduate opportunity.
Click here for more information on the Technology Product Graduate Scheme at Tesco.
As a global leader in electronics, Samsung is constantly developing technological innovation.
Graduate product managers at Samsung will gain insight into a variety of product categories across either B2B or consumer markets. You will be involved in the end-to-end lifecycle of products including product planning, forecasting, and marketing.
Find out more about the Product Management Graduate Scheme at Samsung.
NHS Digital offers a two-year scheme in product management and delivery management. In this scheme, you will undertake placements in both areas, specialising in one discipline at the end of the programme.
Graduates can also complete qualifications in agile and benefit from mentors or buddies.
Find out more about the Product and Delivery Management Graduate Scheme at NHS Digital.
9. Expedia Group
The Expedia Group is among the largest technology companies in the world and represents the most comprehensive selection of travel sites.
Graduate Product Managers have the opportunity to drive product vision and optimise the customer experience for one of the many Expedia Group Brands.
Find out more information about Product Management at the Expedia Group.
The team at NaturalMotion creates innovative games on mobile platforms. Using data and insights, product managers help to develop games that millions of players engage with.
NaturalMotion often has live graduate roles on their website. Keep an eye out for upcoming opportunities.
Find out more about graduate careers at NaturalMotion.
Starting Salaries for Graduates on Product Management Graduate Schemes
On average, graduates can expect a starting salary of around £25,000 – £35,000.
This will vary depending on the company and the industry.
Career progression is very positive for product managers. Senior product managers can expect to earn anything from £40,000 to over £100,000.
Are there any alternatives to product management graduate schemes?
PM graduate schemes are very competitive, especially for the big technology companies. Fortunately, there are other ways to get into product management.
Many tech startups offer junior product manager roles. If you are someone who is looking for a fast-paced, less corporate environment, consider looking at startups.
We mentioned how product management is in the sweet spot of business, technology, and UX.
If you can’t get an entry-level job in product management, it might be useful to start off as a UX designer, software engineer, product analyst, or digital marketer. Having experience in one of these positions would give you exposure to the product team and would increase your chances of getting hired as a PM.
If you are interested in improving your digital skills or would like support in your product management applications, please do not hesitate to get in touch!
Written by Katie Kirtley-Jones