Inside USC’s only product management club, ProductSC
Miland Gandhi was exposed to product management for the first time during his sophomore year when he took ICP 310: Designing for User Experience. He soon realized that beyond that singular Marshall class, there was no mention of the product management career path on campus.
This changed at the beginning of 2022 with the founding of ProductSC.
Gandhi joined the club during its inception, and it provided him with a community of students aspiring to become product managers. Now a senior majoring in business administration, he serves as its president.
“In that class, I was lucky enough to stumble across product management, almost accidentally,” Gandhi said. “I got lucky, and I don’t want other people on campus to have to be as lucky to potentially find a career path that they could love and genuinely enjoy doing. I’m really glad that over the last year and a half, I’ve been able to be part of a project that’s been able to push product management to more and more people on campus.”
Product management is a role in most tech companies that lies at the intersection between business, technology and design. Product managers guide a product’s lifecycle, directing operations to convert raw materials into finished goods on the market. They also aid in resolving customer frustrations with a product and creating the most efficient path to improve user experience.
Gandhi recognizes the importance of education and exposure when it comes to product management on campus. While other business-related career paths, such as consulting and banking, have wide exposure on campus — from classes to student organizations — product management lacks the same popularity.
“I really do think that there are a lot of people on campus who are interested [in product management] and they just need a little more exposure and education into what the role really asks for,” Gandhi said. “That’s exactly what ProductSC tries to do.”
Through a 10-week-long introduction to product management curriculum, ProductSC educates a cohort of 40 to 50 students every semester. The club has educated almost 200 students to date. Members interested in applying for product management internships can also opt to receive an interview preparation curriculum.
After completing the curriculum, students engage in a case competition. Current and former product managers serve as judges, and the winning group receives a prize.
“It’s really fun…and a good opportunity to continue learning what product management is because by actually taking on the role of one, students can understand what a product manager does better,” said Gabriela Rosenfeld, ProductSC director of curriculum.
One hundred fifty students participated in last semester’s competition. Groups consisted of five students and a mentor that guides them through the pitching process. Rosenfeld, a sophomore majoring in business administration, looks to rent out a larger space to host a much larger event this semester.
ProductSC also hosts guest speaker events featuring top product management leaders and alumni from tech companies such as Google, Microsoft, Capital One and Salesforce. These events provide students with insight into breaking into the product management industry.
This semester, ProductSC co-director of external affairs and junior majoring in computer science and business administration Alysha Kanjiyani launched an inclusivity effort to make the speaker events open to all USC students instead of only ProductSC members.
“The general notion behind product management is very cutthroat because usually, not a lot of companies hire undergrad students,” Kanjiyani said. “I think our biggest accomplishment would be creating an environment where we help each other in such a competitive industry.”