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Consulting to Product Management: A Smooth Transition

Written by
Angèle Lenglemetz Angèle Lenglemetz
Senior Product Manager @ Peanut
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My mother's father changed only one career in his life, and that was all, unlike my father's father, who had never done that. Both my grandmothers and my parents stayed true to one career. However, I found myself charting a different course. It is because at 23 years old, one year after getting out of university, that is when I decided to change careers. This move was a lot of disorientation and concern from my family.

The background is essential here: I had graduated from university unsure of my next steps, like many others. Consulting seemed a logical choice—it was a good job, and I lucked out enough to be offered a place even with two months of travel before I began. It really did not take very long for me to figure out that consulting, especially in the fringes of Goldman Sachs and Barclays, was really not what I'm cut out for. So, after a year, I quit and prepared for a bootcamp—an action that made my father feel like his son was spoiling his career, sending shivers down his spine.

"I had graduated from university unsure of my next steps, like many others. Consulting seemed a logical choice"

Angèle Lenglemetz, Senior Product Manager @ Peanut

Fortunately, I had support from a few key individuals, including Sandrine Ayral, whose advice proved invaluable. My time at Le Wagon was transformative; I was learning and genuinely enjoying it for the first time in a while.

The boot camp finished by having a chance to pitch an idea and then build the idea with a group, which forced me out of my comfort zone of being afraid of public speaking. That brought me to this crossroad: either a product manager or a software developer.

With some encouragement, I chose the latter, despite not fully understanding what it entailed at the time.

There wasn't really much recognition of product management back in the days, and I didn't know anyone for that matter from this area. The only related thing I remembered was a diagram of three overlapping circles

Product Manager Diargram

But I started committing in that direction by reading books, going to meetups, and literally networking LinkedIn. I kept going, sending hundreds of applications with barely any coming back to me, and finally, at a time when I already worked full time and had two years of internships under my belt, landed two internship interviews.

I did an internship in that company, where the second intern and I were supposed to compete for the same full-time position. The lucky part was that the other intern totally plagiarised some report he found from the internet, and so by elimination, I got the job—though for very little pay.

A few years later, I achieved a significant milestone by joining Wise, a dream company of mine, in a product role. In these years gone by, I now realise that the greatest two things that really pushed me to this success were the ability to define, in a clear manner, my fears and those imposed by others, and to say yes to every opportunity that came my way. Sandrine's assurance—that the most negative result would see me being returned to the consultation alone—freed me from the paralysing fear of failure. I went into 'yes man' mode and tried to ask anyone I could for help and took up every opportunity I got to move ahead.

For those contemplating a similar path, here are the lessons I'd share:
  • If you are in London, attend events like Product Group London and ProductTank to network and learn.
  • Find a trustworthy recruiter to guide your job search.
  • Engage with product communities like Mind The Product or the Product Stack
  • Identify and cultivate your unique strength or "superpower" that sets you apart.
  • Continue learning, especially in areas relevant to your chosen field. Resources like Codecademy for coding, UX Collective for UI/UX, and Lenny's podcast for product skills are excellent starting points.
  • Have a clear vision of what you want, as it simplifies the search.
  • Understand your internal saboteurs by taking relevant assessments. Personally, I have found it pretty useful to better understand what was holding me back.
  • Don't hesitate to ask for help and be systematic in your approach—set weekly goals, make plans, and reflect on your progress and experiences.
  • Lastly, be patient and kind to yourself. Job hunting is challenging and time-consuming. Ensure you take breaks and maintain confidence in your abilities. Aim high and never settle for mediocrity.
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Angèle Lenglemetz

Angèle Lenglemetz
Senior Product Manager @ Peanut

As a Senior Product Manager at Peanut, I'm passionate about creating a mobile app that helps mums meet and make friends, swap advice and share stories. With over five years of experience in product management, I have a strong background in user research, artificial intelligence, and monetisation.

In my current role, I'm responsible for the entire app, focusing on increasing revenue and engagement while improving retention. I've achieved impressive results, such as increasing revenue by 250% YoY and D7 return rate by 12%. Previously, I worked at Wise and Streetbees, where I applied machine learning and data visualization to optimise and simplify the payment and insight gathering processes for businesses and consumers.
I enjoy fast-paced environments and new challenges, and I'm always eager to learn and grow.

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