Student Experience | Why I’m Taking Product Management | Amanda Lai

By Amanda Lai June 24, 2016


Hey, I’m Amanda.

I’m the Marketing Manager at Wattpad, where billions of people come to be entertained, inspired, and to connect around stories they love. In 2015, I was named Marketing Magazine’s Top 30 Under 30. I’m deeply immersed in millennial behaviour and I’ve developed countless social strategies for reaching Gen Y and Z audiences.

What course are you enrolled in for this cohort?

The 10-week Product Management course.

How did you hear about the program?

I’ve been seeing it on resumes, to be honest. More people are turning to progressive education to expand their skillsets so that they can go out and transition into new careers. I was super excited when I saw that Brainstation was offering a Product Management course.

What made you decide to take the course?

I recently transitioned into a new role where I’d be working more closely with our product. I wanted to learn how leaders in the industry are validating new product features and how marketers are successfully bringing these features to market.

What are you most excited to learn?

I’m looking forward most to learning how to think like a product manager. Being strategic, capable of multitasking, seeing beyond the immediate challenge and projecting future implications —these are superpowers that I think would benefit anyone, not just those working in tech.

How do you plan on applying your newfound skills, personally and/or professionally?

As we continue building great products at Wattpad, I’d like to be more impactful in the discovery process. Understanding the needs of our users before shipping anything is a must. I’d like to use my new skills to execute thoughtful market discovery activities to help identify areas of improvement, and to better understand what the real challenges are because let’s face it: what users say they want and what they really need can be two very different things.

If you had to pick a favourite tech company doing awesome things – who would it be and why?

Wattpad, hands down. I know, I smell bias too, but I truly couldn’t be more proud to be part of such an innovative and disruptive company. Wattpad is evolving from a vibrant community of readers and writers to a full stack entertainment company with a monthly audience of 45 million from all around the world. We’re helping writers turn books into films, launching new TV series, and inspiring people everyday to tell their stories.

Favourite spot to spend an afternoon in the city?

I have to say, the Toronto Island is where it’s at —especially in the summertime. There is so much to see and do: you can kayak, picnic by the beach, see some sand dunes,  you can even ride a tandem bike.

What entrepreneur or thought-leader inspires you most and why?

Alibaba’s Jack Ma has always been an inspiration. He reminds me a lot of my own father —a self-made man who never lost sight of his vision. Jack came from a very modest background: his first job paid him $12/month, he struggled in math, and just barely made it into his local college. Jack embraces his rags-to-riches story, and reminds me everyday that hard work pays off. Today, Alibaba valued at more than $231 billion, more than Amazon and Ebay combined.

Describe your current hobbies and interests – do you see your course lending to these?

I’ve always been passionate about inspiring youth to be curious about science and technology. I’m the co-chair of [email protected] this year, and I have to manage dozens of moving pieces. I can see this course lending well to my management skills and giving me a better sense of how and when tasks should be prioritized.

What will you be accomplishing in 10 weeks? or What will you be capable of in 10 weeks?

By the end of the 10-weeks, I should be able to develop a full product plan for a product feature / idea that I’m envisioning. I’ll be able to identify a major problem that needs to be solved, and validate my solutions. Super excited to dive in!

Amanda is taking Product Management at BrainStation in Toronto!

Amanda is taking Product Management at BrainStation in Toronto!

Product Management
460 King Street West