How Deepak Panda transitioned from Project Management to Product Management

Deepak Panda
Deepak Panda

Q1. Tell us about your current role and background.

Deepak: My name is Deepak Panda, and I am currently employed as a Product Manager at Belden. Belden is a networking company that offers both hardware and software solutions for the networking industry. I have been in the role of a Product Manager for the past year.

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

Deepak: I embarked on my journey with Belden back in 2019, fresh off the heels of completing my post-graduation at XLRI. Initially, I found myself immersed in the world of operations at Belden, starting my career on the plant floor.

However, my first three years were more like an exciting internal odyssey as I rotated through various roles, searching for the perfect fit.

After three years of exploration, I realized that my heart truly belonged to product management. I had the chance to interact with professionals in this field and was captivated by their day-to-day activities.

Transitioning from operations to product management within Belden presented a formidable challenge, given my lack of prior experience. Convincing my colleagues and leaders was no small feat, especially when my initial trajectory was focused on operations.

But as they say ‘where there’s a will, there’s a way’. Through persistence and determination, I managed to sway the decision-makers and secured a one-year stint in product management as a temporary role.

The catch was that if I excelled during this period, I would earn a coveted interview for an internal transition. This transition hurdle, I must admit, was a significant one within the Belden landscape. However, I persevered, successfully completing my temporary role in product management.

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

Deepak: Before delving into that, it’s important to note that during my one-year rotation in product management, I stumbled upon a valuable opportunity: the Accredian Program. I recognized that this course could serve as a distinct advantage when vying for a permanent role within my organization. This recognition fueled my decision to pursue it.

As I immersed myself in the course, I quickly grasped its holistic approach to problem-solving. It provided me with a deeper understanding of what it truly means to be a product manager.

Beyond the confines of my immediate responsibilities, I learned that, as a product manager, I must collaborate across various departments within the company. I must fathom how changes in a product or the resolution of a specific problem ripple through and impact other stakeholders.

Accredian taught me the importance of thorough research and investing the time needed to comprehend the intricacies of a problem. It underscored the significance of appreciating how different stakeholders within the company are affected by a particular issue.

Armed with this knowledge, I’ve been able to approach problem-solving in a unique and well-informed manner. In essence, this course has been an invaluable asset to my journey.

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

Deepak: When it comes to the interview process at Belden, as I mentioned earlier, it involved two main rounds which were:

  1. HR Round
  2. Technical Round

The Round-1 was the typical HR interview, which focused on gaining insights into my personality, the experiences that have shaped me throughout my life, my values, and my life principles.

Essentially, the aim of this interview was to understand who I am as a person and whether I would be a good fit for a product management role.

The Round-2 was scenario-based and more role-specific. In this round, future colleagues from the product management team presented various scenarios and situations that I might encounter at Belden.

They also posed real-life problems currently faced by the company and asked for my solutions. Additionally, I answered fundamental questions such as why I was interested in product management, why I believed I was well-suited for the role, and what qualities and expertise I could bring to the specific tasks expected at Belden.

Reflecting on the interview process, I would describe it as relatively manageable. This was partly due to my proactive approach of reaching out to individuals already working in product management to understand the do’s and don’ts of the role and the expected behavior of a Product Manager.

Furthermore, having previously worked in a similar role for one year was a significant advantage. It allowed the interviewers to have prior knowledge of my capabilities and work, which certainly worked in my favor.

In conclusion, I can say that the interview process was a smooth experience.

Q5. Why Accredian? How did it help you?

Deepak: I first stumbled upon Accredian through LinkedIn while I was exploring various courses in product management. My interest in product management led me to seek opportunities to enhance my resume with additional courses and certifications.

That’s when I received a LinkedIn invitation for a free webinar from a known associate. Intrigued, I decided to attend the webinar.

The webinar turned out to be quite comprehensive, and the way it was structured impressed me. It convinced me to enroll in a course with Accredian.

Once I started the course, I was pleased with how it began with the very basics of product management, defining what a product truly is.

It also covered various facets of product management, including:

  • B2B
  • B2C
  • Digital product roles

This ensured that it catered to a wide range of interests as well.

What really stood out to me was the instructor’s dedication. They took the time to answer all our questions and even stayed back after sessions to clarify any doubts.

One particular module left a lasting impression where an actual product manager shared her insights and real-life scenarios from her role in a company.

Additionally, Accredian‘s post-course support is commendable. They provide continued access to course details even after completion, allowing me to revisit modules and study at my own pace.

Their team is readily available to assist with doubts, offer guidance on aspects like resume building and career pointers, or even help in finding alternative job opportunities in product management.

These features make Accredian a valuable resource, and I appreciate the flexibility of revisiting course material whenever I need to. It’s a major advantage!

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

Deepak: First and foremost, if you’re enthusiastic about entering the field of product management, whether you’re seeking an internal transition within your current organization or considering a job change, cultivating a genuine curiosity for products is paramount.

You must delve into the everyday products that surround you, whether they are B2B physical products or digital offerings.

It’s essential to grasp the underlying logic behind each product, understand the problems it aims to solve, identify potential pain points for customers, and explore how those pain points can be alleviated.

This principle holds true regardless of whether you’re actively seeking a product management position or currently employed in one.

When it comes to making an internal switch to a product management role within your company, you’ll need to approach colleagues within the organization and express your interest in securing such an opportunity.

You’ll also need to demonstrate your suitability for the role.

On the other hand, if you’re contemplating a transition to a new company, certifications, internships, or side projects can significantly enhance your prospects.

One noteworthy aspect of Accredian’s program is the inclusion of a simulation project, which I can now proudly showcase on my resume when discussing my qualifications with potential employers.

Such side projects, no matter their scale, can substantially bolster your resume.

Additionally, the more passionate and curious you are about products, the more you’ll naturally seek out resources like blogs, video courses, and other resources to expand your knowledge.

Being committed to continuous learning and gaining a deep understanding of products is a solid starting point for embarking on your product management journey.

We hope you find 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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