Product management is clearly on the rise. Year after year, the product manager role becomes increasingly coveted. Even newly-minted MBA graduates are ditching the traditional route to Wall Street, and instead opting for a path into product. Plenty of product managers find themselves in the role after internal transfers, and some are just lucky to break into the field from a cold application. 

But what about graduates with recent bachelor’s degrees and limited product experience?  

Where exactly do these eager and bright-eyed graduates go if they want to become product managers? What if they don’t somehow have the enigmatic three-to-four years of experience stated in every entry-level job description? 

Enter the associate product manager program. 

These programs are designed to transform any product hopeful into a seasoned product manager. Associate product managers get to work alongside senior product managers and benefit from their mentorship. Programs vary by company, but the majority of them are created with a rotational program. These rotations are meant to expose associate product managers to different products and teams and help them build essential communication skills. 

Ready to apply? Here are eight of the top associate PM programs.

1. Google

This is the world’s very first associate product manager program. Google debuted it in 2002, and several companies followed suit. This program is also one of the largest and is offered in multiple locations around the globe. This two-year program allows APMs to work on some of the company’s most famous products, like Gmail and Google Calendar. Some of the biggest tech leaders today are alumni of Google’s APM program. 

From their site: 

  • Develop feature ideas that address user needs.
  • Work cross-functionally (with engineers, UX designers, marketing, etc) to launch your features.
  • Determine metrics to evaluate the success of your features and make improvements.

Learn more here.

2. LinkedIn

LinkedIn offers a much more selective APM program. This small cohort is treated like experienced PMs right from the start. In fact, they’re given ownership and responsibility for some of the biggest projects. If you have a record of entrepreneurship or leadership experience, this might be your calling. 

From their site: 

  • Understand and lead the analysis of the competitive environment, customers, and product metrics to determine the right feature set to drive engagement and usage on LinkedIn
  • Drive global product requirements definition, product planning and product design (including writing PRDs) of new product features and enhancements
  • Develop a comprehensive product roadmap to deliver on the business goals for LinkedIn
  • Work with the product development team and other cross-functional team members to bring features live to the site
  • Clearly communicate product benefits to our users and internal stakeholders

Learn more here.

3. Atlassian

Atlassian promises you’ll never get bored. Their APM program promises a two-year rotation with different Atlassian product teams, working directly on popular products like Trello, Bitbucket, and JIRA. Atlassian APMs also have the opportunity to take part in a two-week boot camp, attend a speaker series with tech leaders, and perform a research project between rotations. 

From their site: 

  • Have a passion for analyzing products, customer needs, and market dynamics
  • Have an interest in translating customer insights into actionable deliverables for our engineering teams
  • Be able to think from multiple perspectives, including our customers and development teams
  • Deep understanding of the value of collaboration and teamwork

Learn more here

4. Uber

Passionate about the intersection of technology and the physical world? Interested in jumping into a hyper-growth global environment? Uber’s APM program might be the one for you. Their structure involves joining three teams over the course of 18 months (three six-month rotations) across all of Uber, including Rider, Driver, Eats, and more. Some of their APMs have worked on projects like a visualization tool for self-driving cars and the Uber for Business tool. 

From their site

  • Internalize and deeply understand Uber’s mission and strategies, as well as the mission and objectives of your specific team
  • Distill vision and strategy for all members of your cross-functional team to set qualitative objectives and quantitative goals
  • Drive innovation, definition, roadmap, and design of entirely new Uber products and product features to deliver against team and company goals.
  • Challenge all members of cross-functional teams (engineering, design, data science, operations, etc.) to think boldly and creatively and funnel that energy into concrete products and execution plans

Learn more here. 

5. Yahoo

If you want to build the future of media and technology, look no further. The Yahoo APM program is two years long and individuals are expected to work on two different teams.  Verizon’s acquisition of Yahoo has expanded the opportunity space for their APMs. Interested in working on a diverse portfolio of products that might include Yahoo Sports, Tumblr, or the Huffington Post? Then this might be the program for you.

From their site: 

  • Drive the overall product vision, strategy, roadmap, and requirements for your product.
  • Synthesize and prioritize user needs and own the narrative of what problem should be solved, for whom, how, and why it matters.
  • Build consensus and work collaboratively with engineering, design, and other key stakeholders.
  • Define success metrics and analyze performance, balancing quantitative and qualitative insights to drive decisions and iterate quickly.
  • Get up to speed quickly in new domains, becoming a subject matter expert who leads by example.
  • Keep a strong bias for stepping up and taking action, yet demonstrate a willingness to learn and take guidance.

Apply now

6. Capital One

Finally, a program on the East Coast. Capital One offers a product development program for those interested in not only in financial tech, but the challenges that come from learning how to make tradeoffs between customer needs, business strategy, and technology. From a credit card startup to one of the biggest global financial technology companies in the world, you’ll learn a lot from how they transformed their product. 

From their site: 

  • Manage a sprint team to ship, scale, and improve products that delight our customers and position our company for substantial growth. You’ll define product direction and prioritization of features, actively manage a backlog, make trade-off decisions, and clear impediments for your team.
  • Own the success and life cycle of features for your product and/or platform, setting its strategy and driving prioritization decisions toward improvements. You will test and learn your way to something new while taking into account business strategy, market analysis, user feedback, analytics, and technology best practices.

Apply here. 

7. Facebook

Facebook was an early adopter of the associate product manager program, but their version is called the “Rotational Product Manager Program.” This program lasts 18 months, and individuals must go through three different rotations. Some of the past projects RPMs have worked on include new consumer apps for the Oculus VR and improvements for the News Feed. Their RPMs also have the opportunity to embark on research trips and attend quarterly RPM-exclusive offsites. 

From their site

  • Lead the ideation, technical development, and launch of innovative products
  • Establish shared vision across our company by building consensus on priorities leading to product execution
  • Drive product development with a team of world-class engineers, designers, researchers, and analysts
  • Integrate usability studies, research and market analysis into product requirements to enhance user satisfaction

Learn more here

8. Salesforce

SalesForce offers a two-year associate product manager program. It’s a rotational program where APMs get hands-on experience on different product teams. Their APMs will work with the top engineers and designers from start to finish on products. The only caveat is that previous product management internship experience is required. 

From their site: 

  • Understand and analyze user needs.
  • Analyze market trends, competitors, customer research, and product data to drive the overall success of the product.
  • Help to define product vision and strategy.
  • Partner with designers to create an intuitive and beautiful user experience.
  • Work with engineers to build and launch new features.
  • Help evangelize product vision through presentations to stakeholders.

Learn more here.

It’s important to note that plenty of companies have more “informal” associate product manager programs. However, this list is a great place to start. Good luck! 

About the Author

Natalie Doan-Dunnum is a content coordinator for the Product Love Podcast. When she’s not reminding people to follow their deadlines, she enjoys listening to music, reading books, and traveling the world.