With Penn’s Alumni Weekend running from May 15th through May 18th this year, we’re taking the month of May to salute some of our amazing M&T alumni. This special A Day in the Life post comes to us from M&T alum Aditya Pasumarty, currently a Product Manager at Venmo.
Please briefly describe what industry you’re in and what your particular position entails.
I work as a product manager at Venmo, a mobile payments company based in New York City. My role involves collaborating with designers & software engineers to identify, prioritize, explore and launch new product features that are valuable to our users. And many other random tasks!
What time did you get up this morning before work?
I woke up at 6:45am. I start most workdays with a 7:30am martial arts class & then head to work.
What time did you start working, and what time were you done for the day?
I was at my desk by 9:30am and left around 7:30pm.
What were some of the projects you worked on today?
Read emails from users to better understand what problems they are running into. Conducted a usability test. Led a brainstorm session with other product mangers, designers & engineers to explore a new feature. Analyzed data to figure out how a recently released feature is performing. Put together a presentation that summarized all these things and sent it to the Venmo team.
Who specifically did you interact with today, besides coworkers (clients, interns, researchers, executives, founders, etc.)?
I have very few external meetings. Occasionally, I might meet with a potential business partner or technology vendor. But most days are spent interacting with coworkers. In my role I end up chatting with people in every department including customer support, corporate strategy, operations, engineering, design etc.
Are you currently traveling or about to travel for work?
I rarely travel for work. At most, I attend a couple of conferences or visit our San Francisco office twice a year.
What was your favorite part of the work day?
Brainstorming a new feature with my team.
What are some of the challenges within your position that you particularly enjoy?
Product managers never work in a silo. It is a highly collaborative role, which results in a couple of challenges. Although no one really reports to me, my job involves a ton of people management. I have to balance the views and interests of lots of different people and this can be tricky. This inevitably leads to a LOT of meetings. So staying organized can be tough, but it is crucial to being productive.
How did you end up in your current position or school?
I started on the operations teams at Venmo, which gave me an opportunity to learn a lot about the company and the industry. But I was really interested in product management and eventually talked our GM into letting me take a crack at it (Thanks Mike)!
How did M&T help prepare you for where you are today?
I think M&T is the ideal training program for what I do today. The exact details of a product manager’s role vary based on the company, but we always sit at the intersection of business and technology. Sound familiar?
What advice do you have for those who might be interested in pursuing a similar path?
Be persistent. If you come from a “non-target background”, it can often be difficult to break into product management. Don’t let it deter you. If you really want it, you might have to put in some extra effort. Did you apply at 10 companies with no luck? No problem, apply at 10 more. Apply for a non-product role to get your foot in the door & establish credibility. Don’t just drop a resume. If you are dying to work for a company go above and beyond. Have some ideas for opportunities that a company can pursue? Put together a short presentation as part of your application. Show them that you are eager, capable and a self-starter.
Aditya is currently a Product Manager at Venmo in New York. He graduated from Penn and M&T in 2009 with a Bachelor of Applied Science with an Individualized major in Materials Science from Penn Engineering and a Bachelor of Science in Economics from Wharton with a concentration in Finance. Aditya loves martial arts, spicy food, reading novels & popular history books, and traveling around India.