Association Teams With Harvard in New Mentorship Program
In the partnership between the Boston Product Management Association and Harvard Business School, BPMA members and local MBA students both stand to benefit from new learning opportunities.
Some members of the Boston Product Management Association are headed back to school this fall. While they’re not technically enrolled as students, 50 BPMA members are serving as mentors to Harvard MBA students in an introductory product management class, which members can audit.
The association already offers an executive mentorship program for members, but the partnership with Harvard is the first time the association has teamed up with a university to mentor students, said BPMA President Sarela Bliman-Cohen.
“Both the mentors and the students benefit from this,” Bliman-Cohen said. “Most of these students have never been in product management, so they may have a lot of ideas and strategy but they haven’t had hands-on experience, and the mentors come with hands-on experience. The mentors, on the other hand, will get a chance to work with potential start-ups as well as audit the HBS product management class. It’s a good symbiotic relationship.”
The association agreed to the program after being approached by Harvard professor Tom Eisenmann, who created the Product Management 101 class. To find mentors, BPMA solicited its membership and received 50 applications from interested members, who were matched with the 25 students in the class—two mentors to a student—to help them in the full development cycle of a software project.
“The people who have been picked all have experience in product management,” Bliman-Cohen said. “They are supposed to address questions and guide the students as they go about their projects. For instance, while students are writing the market requirements document (MRD), the students will meet with their mentors to discuss their vision, how to conduct market research, potential use cases, etc.”
One student project will create a marketplace for small- and medium-sized businesses to find top-tier consultants for short-term projects. Another will build a mobile app and website to help women find convenient, affordable, and professional makeup services.
Depending on the amount of assistance students need, BPMA mentors will be there guiding them along as much or as little as they need, Bliman-Cohen said.
Has your association found ways to connect members with students studying in your field? Tell us about it in the comments.