In the 2022-23 year, the Kilts Center—which supports students interested in tech/product management, marketing, and brand and general management—launched its first training series. This set of three workshops served to help students gain practical, hands-on experience with writing process requirements documents (PRDs), working in SQL, and getting an introduction to UX for product managers.
Grace Burns, a second-year Full-Time MBA student and Kilts Fellow, answers a few questions about why these events interested her and how they relate to her intended career path.
Why did the Kilts Center’s Tech Training Series interest you?
One of the best parts about Booth is the workshops and speakers available to help students complement their coursework and prepare for future careers with new skills and perspectives. The Kilts Center in particular does a great job facilitating practical, hands-on workshops. I’m going into tech after graduation, and I knew this would be a great opportunity to prepare for my new role with critical analytical skills and perspectives on how to successfully collaborate with product-facing teams.
How do these trainings relate to your career goals?
One of my immediate goals is to develop sharp data analytics skills in R and SQL. During my internship last summer, I worked on customer segmentation strategy at Amazon where I relied heavily on data modeling and analytics. One of my biggest takeaways was understanding that the more self-sufficient I am with databases, the more efficient and successful I would be in my full time role. Taking courses and workshops to improve my skills in this area – particularly in SQL – has been a huge focus of my second year.
How do you see yourself applying these skills in the future?
By going into product management, I expect to leverage design thinking methodologies including user research and testing frequently to help inform new product launches. PRDs will be an important part of the process too as I document and communicate new feature ideation and requirements. I know SQL is a major tool at Amazon, so having the skills to run my own queries to inform decision making and better understand our customers will be extremely useful.
Was there anything else that stuck with you?
Product is a relatively new field, and listening to each presentation brought to light just how much the role is evolving every day. One of my biggest takeaways from these sessions is the importance of agility in product as tools, available data, team structure, and product capabilities continue to change – at a rapid rate.
While each speaker had a different focus, a common thread across all is how being methodical, documenting processes, and driving alignment between stakeholders is critical to success in this field, and involves a balance of technical analytics and interpersonal skills.
Ashish Punjari made SQL both approachable and nuanced in a way that left me feeling confident in my ability to execute these skills in the workplace. the workshopDavid London, ’14 hosted on UX added some really valuable insight on how new product development plays out in an organization and how best to manage collaboration amongst separate teams. I loved the analogy from Satyajeet Salgar, ‘07 about a PM being like the coxswain of a crew team, helping direct the team in unison towards the same goal.
Keeping their perspectives in mind to help facilitate transparency and teamwork across workstreams is something that could prove to be a huge asset for me in my career path.
Learn more about the Kilts Center and the programming and events the center offers. You can stay up-to-date on the latest from the marketing and tech communities at Booth by following the Kilts Center on LinkedIn.