7 Best MBA Programs for Product Management | 280 Group (2023)

Whether you have started your career in another field and making the shift into Product Management, or if you are nearing the completion of your undergraduate degree and have discovered your passion for Product Management, you may be considering obtaining an MBA in order to master the critical business expertise required for this role. But which program should you choose? Sifting through the options can be a daunting task.

While all MBA programs provide business fundamentals, there are a few programs that offer specialized content in Product Management. Below is a list of our favorite MBA programs for Product Managers.

Best MBA Programs for Product Managers

#1: NYU, Stern School of Business

Their full-time MBA program offers a specialization in Product Management, with courses from Data-Driven Decision Making to Innovation and Design. What I love about this program is that you can easily blend courses from 26 different specializations, such as FinTech or Management of Technology and Operations, to focus your Product Management MBA further.

#2: Carnegie Mellon University, Tepper School of Business

With a Technology Strategy and Product Management track that emphasizes development, application, and management of cutting-edge technologies, this program serves as a foundation for a hardware and software industry Product Management role. What I love about this program is the dual focus on strategic analytics and leadership development, both important foundations for the Product Manager role.

#3: MIT, Sloan School of Business

With two tracks available for product: one for Entrepreneurship & Innovation, and one for Enterprise Management, you will gain valuable insights into product management from different aspects of firm size. What I love about this program is the availability of a dual-track to earn an MBA alongside a Master of Science degree with their Leaders for Global Operations program. This program leverages a six-month internship with a partner organization to equip students with experience in management, engineering, and leadership.

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#4: UC Berkeley, Haas School of Business

With several applied innovation electives available, including Product Management, Product Design, and Lean Launchpad, coupled with a core curriculum focused on data-driven decisions and leadership, this program has all the basic elements needed for a successful Product Management career. What I love about this program is the combination of experiential learning from the applied innovation courses coupled with the traditional academic courses.

#5: UCLA, Anderson School of Management

With a specialization in Technology Leadership available, which includes courses such as New Product Development, Technology Management, and Innovation, this program brings an in-depth technology expertise to the foundational curriculum. What I love about this program is the dedication to global viewpoints sustained throughout the curriculum.

#6: Northwestern University, Kellogg School of Management

Their Technology Management pathway includes a huge breadth of courses in Product Management, Product Marketing Management, and Business Operations/Strategy. What I love about this program is the cross-disciplinary approach to teaching, recognizing that organizational problem-solving does not happen in siloed functional areas. This fits perfectly with the role of the Product Manager as we must constantly work across functional areas in our role.

#7: UT Austin, McCombs School of Business

Their one-year immersion program focused on the intersection of business, technology, and innovation is not truly an MBA; it is an MS in Technology Commercialization. However, its tight focus on product entrepreneurship deserves a place in this list. What I love about this program is that it is offered with a flexible schedule for working adults and specifically addresses how to take new technologies and turn them into practical products.

MBA Alternatives

Pursuing an MBA is a large undertaking in money, time, and personal focus that may not be the right decision for everyone. So, is an MBA necessary to be a great Product Manager? And, if not, what should I do to fill a possible knowledge gap?

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Is an MBA necessary to become a Product Manager?

The answer is: no. Don’t misunderstand me, I have an MBA and it has served me well as a Product Manager. It’s great for professional credibility and can open doors for you. But, is it required in order to land a Product Management role and do extremely well at it? No, it is not. Acquiring a degree requires that you work across a tremendous breadth and depth of topics, many of which aren’t as pertinent to the Product Management role.

Important factors to consider:

Professors with PM experience

While more and more professors have experience outside of academia, how many have actual Product Management experience, or know how to make theoretical material relevant to this field? In my experience, not very many, but this will vary in each program.

Time in a real work environment

A major aspect of being a great Product Manager is your ability to make difficult decisions under pressure and navigate complex and politically rife networks. Experience is your best teacher to hone and prove your skills here, and two years in school are two years lost mastering these important leadership skills in a real work environment.

ROI and job salary

According to this LinkedIn data, the salaries of Product Managers with and without an MBA are nearly on par. Which certainly makes you think twice about the ROI of such a significant investment.

(Video) Do you need an MBA to break into Product Management?

Up leveling your Product Management skills

So, what are the alternatives to an MBA? In order to answer this, you must begin with an assessment of your skills gap. Do you lack skills in product lifecycle management? Product development processes? Marketing? Finance? Research? Leadership? Building strategy? Take this free Product Management Skills Assessment to generate a personal report on your strengths and weaknesses.

Next, begin with a fundamentals course such as 280 Group’s Optimal Product Management and Product Marketing, which covers the entire product lifecycle and teaches the Product Manager’s role and responsibilities. This course is often called “a mini MBA” for good reason—highly experienced Product Managers have cherry-picked the best concepts from an MBA and condensed them into a packed curriculum framed completely around the product lifecycle. It is then delivered by experienced instructors who will help you understand how to apply it.

This course will give you deep insight into your own strengths and weaknesses as a Product Manager, allowing you to create a targeted growth plan. Perhaps a 1-year program will give you the ROI you are looking for. Or a Product Manager graduate certificate program, or simply a few key graduate courses to button up your weak spots. Many people find there is enough information from this one foundational course to fast-track you into a Product Manager role immediately. And the Certified Product Manager™ Credential from this course is great for building professional credibility in a crowded field. After speaking to many hiring managers over the years, we found that they see candidates who take training and earn certifications demonstrate an important desire to go beyond just on-the-job work experience to improve their skills.

GET STARTED

Which Product Management Educational Program is Best for Me?

We’ve put together the table below to further help you consider your options. Whatever your decision, there are a lot of options for growing your skills, building your network, and becoming an awesome Product Manager. Your next step is to choose one and get started on your path!

(Video) How to Become a Product Manager: 5 Paths to Product Management

7 Best MBA Programs for Product Management | 280 Group (1)
Learn more about the Self-Study Certified Product Manager – Online Course and Exam.

Choose Your Path

Whether choosing an MBA program or an MBA alternative, stepping into Product Management is meaningful work. Leverage your options to continue growing your skills so you can be highly effective. The path you choose must be right for you and your personal career goals. Be sure you get the tools and learning you need to enable you to build better products and further advance your career. And if you need advice, we’re here for you.

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About the Author

7 Best MBA Programs for Product Management | 280 Group (2)
Colleen O’Rourke is a Principal Consultant/Trainer at 280 Group.
Colleen has 20 years of experience in the technology business, working in engineering as well as program and product management in startups to Fortune 500 companies. Colleen’s diverse experience includes complex CAD software platforms, project management SAAS systems, and hardware products and consumables manufactured in the US. 280 Group is the world’s leading Product Management training and consulting firm. We help companies and individuals do GREAT Product Management and Product Marketing using our Optimal Product Process™.

FAQs

Which degree is best for product management? ›

A masters degree in business is required for most product management roles.

Which MBA college is best for product management in India? ›

Top Product Management Colleges in India 2022
  • ISBR Bangalore - ISBR Business School. PGDM Healthcare Management. ...
  • University of Technology, Jaipur. MBA Product Management. ...
  • Institute of Product Leadership, Bangalore. Executive MBA Product Leadership. ...
  • Guru Angad Dev Veterinary and Animal Sciences University, Ludhiana.

Which stream is best for product manager? ›

However if one plans to be a product manager specific to design or technical products, the science stream would be preferred. One can either apply for a bachelor's degree in business management and then apply for a Masters's program in business management.

Is product manager a high paying job? ›

To put it simply - a lot! Depending upon the organization you end up working with, Product Management is one of the highest-paying jobs in the corporate world. An Indian MBA graduate can earn a median base salary of ₹ 15.2 lakhs per annum, excluding other salary components like bonuses. But this is just an overview.

Can I be a product manager without MBA? ›

Therefore, the crux is, MBA will help you in the process to become a product manager, but it's not essential. MBA will give you many benefits like a great network, a personal brand, and business skills.

What courses should a product manager do? ›

  • Categories.
  • Data Science Courses.
  • Digital Marketing Courses.
  • Finance Courses.
  • Leadership Courses.
  • Project Management Courses.
  • Marketing Courses.
  • Information Technology Courses.
22 Apr 2022

How do I become a Google product manager? ›

Google Product Manager Requirements
  1. A Bachelor's Degree or Practical Experience.
  2. Experience Managing Technical Products.
  3. A Level of Familiarity with Different Areas.
  4. A Diverse Skillset.

Are product managers in demand? ›

Is There a Demand for Product Managers? Yes, there is. But in order to understand why product management is becoming more popular on job listings, we should understand the change in growth strategies of companies first. Companies employ various strategies to increase their sell rates and revenues.

Is there an MBA for product management? ›

An MBA in product management is a degree course offered by several B-Schools with a concentration or specialization in product management. Therefore, the curriculum for MBA in product management is designed in such a way as to familiarize students with the various roles in the life cycle of a product.

Is product management a good career? ›

The young professionals having the thought “Is product manager a good career?” should be satisfied that yes it is a very good career. It has numerous employers, across locations and countries. Along with that, it gives a really high compensation that grows even more as one grows in their career.

Is Xlri good for product management? ›

In this regard, XLRI VIL's Advanced Product Management programme is being touted as one of the best in the space structured and designed considering the future needs of organisations and developing successful leaders.

Is product manager a stressful job? ›

Product Manager Work Environment

A product manager's work environment can be hectic and stressful. This management position requires you to conduct decision-making, problem-solving, and management tasks.

What skills do you need for product management? ›

Soft Skills Required for Product Managers
  • Critical Thinking and Analytical Skills.
  • Leadership Skills.
  • Practicing Empathy.
  • Flexibility.
  • Problem-solving Skills.
  • Time Management Skills.
  • Effective Communication skills.
22 Apr 2022

What qualifications does a product manager need? ›

Qualifications and training

To have a successful career as a product manager, you typically need both an undergraduate and a master's degree in a business-related subject. Whilst a master's degree isn't always necessary for lower product manager jobs, senior product managers typically require a master's degree.

How old are most product managers? ›

There are over 41,370 product managers currently employed in the United States. 34.7% of all product managers are women, while 65.3% are men. The average age of an employed product manager is 38 years old.

Why is product manager salary so high? ›

Some fast growing industries, especially those depending upon technology, have a higher demand for product managers, thus are more likely to pay higher salaries to feed such demand.

Who pays the most for product managers? ›

Top companies for Product Managers in United States
  • VMware. 4.1 $165,633per year. 979 reviews21 salaries reported.
  • Meta. 4.1 $165,476per year. 704 reviews24 salaries reported.
  • Boeing. 3.9 $164,016per year. 8,851 reviews27 salaries reported.
  • Google. 4.3 $160,912per year. ...
  • Accenture. 4.0 $158,812per year. ...
  • Show more companies.
6 days ago

How much do Amazon product managers make? ›

$213,474. The estimated total pay for a Product Manager at Amazon is $213,474 per year. This number represents the median, which is the midpoint of the ranges from our proprietary Total Pay Estimate model and based on salaries collected from our users. The estimated base pay is $136,757 per year.

Why is product management so hard? ›

Perhaps the hardest part of being a Product Manager is the community-building aspect. A person can have all the qualifications and hard skills needed to be the best Product Manager to date, but without the ability to effectively build relationships across teams and with colleagues, they may never succeed.

What comes after product manager? ›

A list of typical product management roles
  • Associate Product Manager.
  • Product Manager.
  • Senior Product Manager.
  • Director of Product.
  • VP of Product.
  • Chief Product Officer and Beyond.

What is production management MBA? ›

MBA Production Management is a 2-years management course comprising 4 semesters related to organization's production and operation development. The program taught the students the best possible way to minimize the organization's production cost and maximize the profits.

Are product managers happy? ›

Product managers are happy at work (for the most part)

And this happiness isn't limited to their current work of the moment or specific role. Looking into the future, 92% of product managers are happy and want to stick with the field in their next job as well.

How do I know if product management is for me? ›

In short, a product manager's job is all about solving problems for people. If your life has led you to creative thinking, problem-solving, and curiosity, it's quite possible product management is the perfect career choice and you'd be a perfect fit for a role where you can practice, learn and grow a ton.

Is it hard to get into product management? ›

Is it hard to become a product manager? Because product management blends so many skills and responsibilities, it can be a difficult role to achieve. Product managers often work in other jobs before demonstrating the ability to develop a new product and lead a team.

What is advanced product management? ›

The Advanced Product Management Certificate Programme is a comprehensive program on Product Management which will help participants understand how to build your idea into a product, develop & deploy it through various stages of the Product Development life cycle.

Who can do product management course? ›

They must have a degree from any recognised board or university. Candidates from Science, Arts, Commerce, Business Administration or any other background are eligible to take admission in any institute offering this PG course.

What is product management business? ›

Product management is an organizational function that guides every step of a product's lifecycle — from development to positioning and pricing — by focusing on the product and its customers first and foremost.

Why do product managers quit? ›

#1 Bad Company Management and Leadership

“People don't leave companies, people leave managers,” one product manager cleverly concluded in our poll, and most product managers seem to agree. Bad company management and leadership got 431 votes which clearly makes it the number one reason why PMs leave their jobs.

How many hours do product managers work? ›

Generally speaking, I've noticed that most product managers aim for about 50 hours per week. Now that you've estimated your weekly bandwidth, block out your time over the next week with “free” calendar events. For each block of time, determine what objectives you will achieve in that period of time.

Do you need coding for product management? ›

Product Managers are not required to have coding skills. On the other hand, having a basic understanding of programming languages and technical principles may help a PM do his or her job well. There are plenty of free technical resources a PM can refer to if he or she wants to learn more about specific coding skills.

What is most important for product management? ›

Critical Thinking And Analytical Skills

This is a must-have for any PM. Product managers must be able to analyze information and data and provide actionable insights to their teams. This helps them ensure products provide sufficient value to both the business and their customers.

Do I need a laptop to learn product management? ›

Note: a laptop or computer is required for this program - some assignments are difficult to complete on mobile or tablet.

What is the most important skill for a product manager? ›

Skills Required to Become a Product Manager
  1. Writing Technical Requirements and Specs. Coming up with product optimizations and new product ideas is an integral part of a product manager's role. ...
  2. Conducting Market Research. ...
  3. Strategic Thinking. ...
  4. Excellent Oratory and Communication Skills. ...
  5. Excellent Negotiation Skills.
22 Apr 2022

What are the 3 major areas of product management? ›

It identifies the three primary areas of focus for product management, namely: Product discovery. Product Planning. Product Development.

Do product managers make more than software engineers? ›

Depending on who you ask, product managers earn more than software engineers and vice versa. Keep in mind that experience, tenure, and industry all impact whether one role makes more money than another and vice versa.

How many years of experience do you need to become a product manager? ›

Typically, aspiring product managers enter a program with three to five years of business experience, so they already have some of the skills needed for product management.

Does MBA help with product management? ›

Transitioning into product management

For someone with no related experience, an MBA can provide the gateway to moving into the field. It can reposition you and make you a more attractive candidate for a position. Your expanded network can also help get you an entry point into different organizations.

How can I become a product manager after MBA marketing? ›

How to Become a Product Manager?
  1. Technical Proficiency.
  2. Empathy.
  3. Creative and Strategic Thinking.
  4. Communication and Negotiation Skills.
  5. Business Administration Skills.
  6. Product Manager.
  7. Associate Product Manager.
  8. Group Product Manager.
11 Jun 2021

What is product MBA? ›

Product - The Personal MBA. A world-class business education in a single volume. Learn the universal principles behind every successful business, then use these ideas to make more money, get more done, and have more fun in your life and work.

What do you need to be a product manager? ›

How to Become a Product Manager
  1. Create a portfolio of products that showcase your work.
  2. Conduct user and industry research.
  3. Learn about the project management process.
  4. Seek out ways to solve problems in your current role.
  5. Take product management courses.

Is MBA worth it for product managers? ›

Although you currently don't need an MBA to land a job as a product manager, an advanced degree can help get your foot in the door when applying to high-profile companies. An MBA in product management can also help you climb the corporate ladder faster than you would with only a bachelor's degree.

What degrees do product managers have? ›

qualified product managers often complete a master's in business administration (MBA) or a master's in business management and leadership, both of which can be completed online. Though lengthy, these master's programs provide necessary education used daily by product managers.

Is product management a good career? ›

The young professionals having the thought “Is product manager a good career?” should be satisfied that yes it is a very good career. It has numerous employers, across locations and countries. Along with that, it gives a really high compensation that grows even more as one grows in their career.

Is product management hard to break into? ›

Is it hard to become a product manager? Because product management blends so many skills and responsibilities, it can be a difficult role to achieve. Product managers often work in other jobs before demonstrating the ability to develop a new product and lead a team.

How many types of product manager are there? ›

There are 3 different types of product management teams, namely – innovators, builders and tuners.

Who can do product management course? ›

They must have a degree from any recognised board or university. Candidates from Science, Arts, Commerce, Business Administration or any other background are eligible to take admission in any institute offering this PG course.

What is a Executive MBA? ›

An executive MBA program, also known as an EMBA program, is designed for students who are further along in their careers and want to continue working full-time while in school. Schedules vary among programs, but most offer part-time formats like weekend classes.

What is product management business? ›

Product management is an organizational function that guides every step of a product's lifecycle — from development to positioning and pricing — by focusing on the product and its customers first and foremost.

Is product manager a stressful job? ›

Product Manager Work Environment

A product manager's work environment can be hectic and stressful. This management position requires you to conduct decision-making, problem-solving, and management tasks.

Are product managers in demand? ›

Is There a Demand for Product Managers? Yes, there is. But in order to understand why product management is becoming more popular on job listings, we should understand the change in growth strategies of companies first. Companies employ various strategies to increase their sell rates and revenues.

How do you become a product manager salary? ›

The basic requirement to become a product manager in India is: Relevant bachelor's or master's degree in Business administration, management, computer science, engineering, marketing, economics, or a related field. 2-5 years of field experience in product development, testing, or product designing.

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