Career Change Tips: From Investment Banker to Tech Product Manager

If you’ve spend the last few years working a job that you do not see your future in, keep reading. А career change can happen all the time and at any age. You mustn’t feel obligated to work something your entire life simply because you pursued a degree in this specialty, or have worked in the field for a long time.

Talk to as many people as you can in the field you want to get into.


What you’ll find is that any job role is different depending on the company and circumstances. It may also differ depending on type of company, stage, size, and its founders. I discovered that product management can be defined in any number of ways, ranging from purely technical engineering management all the way to purely marketing. It really depended on the company and team. I landed at a company that likes to think of their product managers as mini CEOs. PM were responsible for orchestrating and executing all aspects of the product. That was the definition of the role I was most interested in.


Be willing to do a hybrid of what you’re good at and what you want to get into – it’s a process.

Think of it as a trade to break into something new. You may not land your end-state desired job right away, and that’s OK. Twice in my career I experienced this phenomenon. First, I wanted to get into strategy, but my background was in mergers & acquisitions from my days working in finance. To meet in the middle, I joined a team whose scope was both strategy and M&A. They promised I would lead M&A projects as long as I got some exposure to strategy.

The other time was when I wanted to get into product management. I had experience in analytics and strategy. So I stepped into a product strategy role. This position was originally  heavily weighted towards strategy and numbers, but slowly transitioned to work related to engineering and defining product requirements. Check out these tips for a career change.


Don’t get obsessed with the status quo- be flexible and willing to sacrifice in the short-term.


Demanding equal pay or title for a brand new function may make it hard to find a role that’s attainable. Don’t think of it as “moving backwards” or even “moving sideways” – you’re getting closer to the career that you’ll find the most fulfilling! At every career change I made, I took a pay cut and sometimes also a title cut. In the end, it was all worth it.

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Vickie Peng
Vickie Peng is a Director of Product Management at Polyvore (acquired by Yahoo). Vickie leads the team of engineers that build tools to help retailers achieve their advertising goals on Polyvore. Unlike most PMs in Silicon Valley, she didn’t get her start at a college majoring in computer science, or an entry-level startup gig. Vickie was an investment banker at Citigroup and Merrill Lynch, with a dream of working on a product she loved and used herself. To get where she wanted to be, she forged a strategic path that took her from mergers and financial strategy, to a hybrid strategy/product role that incorporates all of her interests - advertising, product and fashion.