Yale Career Panels: A Candid View of Product Management – January 28, 2020

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Yale Career Panels: A Candid View of Product Management

Tuesday, January 28, 2020

This event is the thirty-fifth in a series covering different professions. The concept is to have a panel of people with different experiences provide candid views of various careers that Yale students and alumni pursue, particularly, those careers with myths.

Product Management is not a traditional career path — indeed, in some ways it is not a real profession at all. Product managers can work in industries as varied as self-driving cars, business intelligence, real estate, media, or beyond, leading interdisciplinary teams to solve complex challenges through technology. The only constant is the coordination and translation of a panoply of disciplines: design, marketing, legal, software engineering, customer support, and all the other moving parts needed for a modern technology project. Most product managers have at least a modicum of experience in software engineering, and some have MBAs or other advanced degrees.

The panel discussion will be conducted in New York City and will be broadcast via an interactive streaming video system. Yale students and alumni are welcome to come to the New York City location or watch and ask questions via the interactive streaming video system. In New York, there will be an opportunity to speak with the panelists and to network for 30 to 45 minutes after the panel.

Time: Tuesday, January 28, 2020. Panel Discussion: 4:30 pm to 5:30 pm EST; Networking 5:30pm to 6:30pm.

Locations and Webinar:

New York Location: Conference Room in Manhattan TBD

Webinar: Streaming video


Please register for just one venue (New York or the Webinar)


  • What is Product Management?
  • How do you get into Product Management and what is the typical career path?
  • What are the characteristics of people who tend to do well and are happy in Product Management?
  • What types of people tend not to do well or end up unhappy and why?
  • What are the myths versus the realities?
  • If you don't stay in Product Management until retirement, what are the exit routes to other professions?


May Liu, Senior Product Manager at Cruise

Sam Massie, Senior Product Manager at Information Builders

William Wong, Senior Product Manager at Block Renovation


Justin Kosslyn, Executive Director at Civic


May Liu

May Liu is a Senior Product Manager at Cruise, a self-driving car company building a fully autonomous electric vehicle in San Francisco. She works with Artificial Intelligence teams developing various aspects of the vehicle’s Perception stack, as well as infrastructure teams building the experimentation platform for Machine Learning development. Previously, May worked as a product manager at Medidata Solutions, a SaaS provider for clinical trials, and Amazon Web Services.

May holds a B.S. from Yale College, where she double majored in Computer Science and Economics, and an M.B.A. from the Stanford Graduate School of Business.

Sam Massie

Sam Massie is Senior Product Manager at Information Builders (IBI). He works on a software platform used by Fortune 500 companies and government agencies to manage, analyze, and distribute their data to managers so they can make better decisions. Prior to joining IBI, Sam worked as a product manager for Acelerex, an energy storage analytics startup, and EF Education First, a multinational travel and education company.

Sam is fluent in Mandarin Chinese and worked in China for five years, and his writing on China has been featured in the New York Times. He received a B.A. in Economics from Yale University in 2010 and a certificate from the MIT Advanced Study Program.

William Wong

William Wong is a Senior Product Manager at Block Renovation, a startup looking to streamline bathroom and kitchen renovations for homeowners. Previously, he was a Product Manager at WeWork, overseeing Real Estate and Development Technology and helping the company grow from 250 to 12,000 employees and from 30 to over 500 locations worldwide through the development of internal software for WeWork's in-house design team. Trained as an architect, he is interested in the intersection of technology and the building industry.

Will holds a Bachelor of Arts from Yale College, where he majored in architecture, and a Master of Architecture degree from the University of Pennsylvania School of Design. He is a proud member of Branford College, Class of 2009.


Justin Kosslyn

Justin Kosslyn is executive director of Civic, a new effort being incubated at TED. Born and raised in Cambridge, Mass, he graduated Summa Cum Laude from Yale in 2009 with a BS in Computer Science, and spent the subsequent decade as a Product Manager at Google. Starting in Google Docs, he rotated through a number of teams, including Ads, Google News, and Jigsaw, where he oversaw a range of software tools to improve digital and information security for elections, journalists, and activists.

In addition to his people management role, Justin served as the direct Product Manager on efforts including: Google’s warnings for targets of government-backed cyberattacks; Password Alert, a Chrome extension to fight phishing; and Share the Facts, a tool for global fact-checkers with markup now used by Google Search, Bing, and Facebook. He is published in Slate, TechCrunch, Motherboard, and elsewhere.

History and Upcoming Events

“Yale Career Panels-A Candid View” was founded by Peter Young and Patricia N. Takemoto in 2012. Little did they know that, 7 years later, the series would still be going, and that a new series, “Fireside Chats,” would be added. Thankfully, they have been joined by Julie Sohn and Justin Kosslyn as fellow organizers. Their enthusiasm has have made continuing this work much easier and more enjoyable.

Previous panels have covered architecture, artificial intelligence, boutique consulting, consulting (three times), education, entrepreneurism, film and drama, finance and investing, internet and data services, investment banking (three times), investing, government service, journalism and publishing, legal (four times), medical (four times), medical devices, music, non-profit organizations, politics - the election process, R&D, real estate, start-ups, and a comparison of investing/investment banking/consulting. Thirty-one of these career panels were recorded and can be viewed at The panels for the 2019 – 2020 academic year were boutique consulting and non-candidate political careers this past Fall. Product management and medical careers will occur in the Spring.

In 2016, we started a series called, “Yale Career Fireside Chats.” This new series spotlights issues and opportunities which may be encountered during your professional career. So far, our chats have covered “Managing Major Career Changes,” “Serving on Boards,” “The Art of Networking”, “Cybersecurity”, and “How to Ace Your Interviews.” They were recorded and can also be viewed at

The Series Sponsors

This series is jointly supported by various organizations at Yale University and Yale Alumni organizations, including the Yale Office of Career Strategy, the Yale Alumni Association (YAA), the Yale School of Management, Students and Alumni of Yale (STAY), the Junior Class Council (JCC), the Yale Alumni Association of New York (YAANY),, and the Association of Asian American Yale Alumni (AAAYA).

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To be announced

Webinar (Streaming Video) and Manhattan, New York location

To be announced

New York, New York 10017

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