Do I need an MBA to be a product manager?

Answer

The general answer is "no", you don't need an MBA to be a product manager. Some employers give a preference to MBAs but typically experience is more important. An MBA could be a differentiator between equally qualified candidates but is probably not worth the investment if your primary motivation is getting a PM job (there are many other valid reasons to pursue an MBA). Some things to consider:

  • Compare the time/expense of getting an MBA with other professional development activities and convince yourself it's a better investment
  • Not all MBAs are created equally
  • We still believe there is a basic bias held by most hiring managers related to relevant experience. It's hard to beat a proven track record.

Comment

We've heard anecdotally that the preference for an MBA is growing among employers in some geographies, e.g., India. You should research your local job market and the companies you'd like to work for to assess the impact of an MBA on your marketability.

We did a bit of cursory research on "Director/Senior Director of PM" on a North American job site. We looked at the first 10 companies (not job postings) and found that only one mentioned having an MBA, and there it was strongly preferred.

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Resources

How to Decide if You Need an MBA as a Product Manager

Best MBA and Master’s programs in Product Management