How Gaurang transitioned into Product Management as a Senior Innovation Manager

Gaurang Patel

In this latest Success Story, we feature Gaurang, who is a Senior Innovation Manager at Schneider Electric. He shares his story of creating innovative software solutions using AI and ML. Get to know more about him as he guides us through this amazing process.

Q1. Tell us about your current role and background.

Hello, everyone! I’m Gaurang Patel, a Senior Innovation Manager at Schneider Electric, a leading digital industrial automation company. In my role, I drive innovative solutions and products as part of the Innovation & Exploration Team.

Our focus is on creating cutting-edge software solutions for industries, leveraging technologies like AI, ML, IIoT, and Advanced Analytics.

In my 12+ years in industrial automation, I’ve had a diverse career journey, starting as a programmer, evolving into a commissioning engineer and solution architect, and now, I’m dedicated to innovation.

This diverse background has enriched my product management skills and allowed me to contribute across various areas. I feel fortunate and privileged to have experienced such diversity in my career journey.

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

Transitioning wasn’t too challenging for me as I had prior experience in pre-sales roles and collaborated closely with product management. However, a significant challenge was adopting the product manager mindset.

For example, in a previous pre-sales role, a major customer requested iPhone applications for our solution. I engaged in multiple discussions with the product team to persuade them to develop the app.

Unfortunately, they didn’t see it as a universal customer need and declined. This experience taught me that while user requirements are essential, we must also consider business viability and technical feasibility.

Developing this mindset is a key challenge when transitioning to a product management role.

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

In my past roles, I lacked a structured approach to managing products from concept to end-of-life. Embracing product management processes significantly boosted my efficiency in handling products and their features.

This organised approach greatly improved my work efficiency in my current role.

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

I transitioned internally within Schneider Electric, which made it relatively straightforward. The team I moved to was familiar with my background. They primarily assessed my grasp of the design thinking process, a crucial aspect of innovation.

They also evaluated my industrial automation knowledge and understanding of AI and machine learning.

Before this transition, I applied for positions outside the organisation and was selected for one. To prepare for interviews, I extensively read articles and blogs and found “Cracking the PM Interviews” to be a valuable resource.

During interviews, I was tasked with practical scenarios. For instance, I had to develop strategies to enhance mining process efficiency through digital transformation for L&T Infotech. Real-case scenarios like this are common in these interviews.

Overall, I enjoyed the interview process, especially once I understood the types of questions and how to approach them. It was an enlightening experience.

Q5. Why Accredian? How did it help you? 

Before joining Accredian, I researched other institutes offering online product management courses.

What stood out about Accredian was its structured approach with well-designed modules and a clear syllabus that allows us to follow the learning process step by step.

Additionally, the faculty, consisting of industry leaders, provided valuable insights into real-world problems and effective problem-solving strategies. They shared their experiences, including past issues they encountered and how they resolved them.

This practical learning approach greatly enhanced our understanding of the concepts and the importance of effective problem-solving.

Accredian’s emphasis on practical learning is a key highlight of their program. 

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

Rather than giving direct advice, I prefer sharing my experience. When I began my journey in product management, I attended classes, completed assignments, read articles and blogs, and actively participated in discussions, case studies, events, and competitions.

However, what I suggest is a learn-and-apply approach. As a beginner, try to apply what you’ve learned in real scenarios. Here are three ways to do it:

  1. Apply your new knowledge in your current role. For example, if you’ve learned competition analysis, analyse your company’s competitors and share your findings with your manager and colleagues.
  2. If your current role doesn’t provide the opportunity to apply these skills, do it voluntarily. Create vision and mission statements for your team, seeking input from colleagues and collecting feedback.
  3. Use the Accredian portal to access case studies relevant to your industry or domain. Choose one, work on it, and submit your findings and research. Receive feedback from Accredian experts.

Practical, hands-on learning like this will be invaluable throughout your product management career.

We hope you found 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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