When you ‘Google’ around on MBA concentrations/majors and you will find that most b-schools offer concentrations such as Accounting, Finance , General Management , Human Resource Management, Marketing, Supply Change Management , most of which lead to specialty required in managing that particular horizontal/vertical in the business. If you spend little more time you will also find that some b-schools also provide majors in Entrepreneurship, Health Care Management, Real Estate, Multinational/Global Business Management , and Technology etc., which are either specific to particular industry or are horizontals among myriad types of businesses.

Now, let us look at the organization structures of companies, which build products (and here I mean real physical/tangible products i.e. anything produced & not the marketing definition of products, which says ‘anything that can be offered to a market that might satisfy a want or need’[1]), which addresses satisfies the want/need of potential consumers. Close inspection of the organization charts will provide you an insight that most MBA concentrations/majors are tied to what their top bosses do on daily basis. For example, major in Finance goes after CFO role, major in Marketing goes after CMO role, major in HR goes after Head of HR role, other top roles are either generally in Global Management/Engineering organizations, for which either Global Business Management/Technology major comes handy. Also, now days most b-schools offer courses/majors in Executive Management, which fills the gaps for most of the top roles. Now, that leaves few holes first and foremost being Sales and among other is Product Management.

To be fair let us also look from the employee perspectives to make sure that we take bottom up approach in to the account as well. Most employees will be one among many concept thinkers/managers (product managers/architects), concept implementers (engineers/developers), concept validators (testers/QA), concept marketers (marketing), concept sellers (sales), or can be categorized in support functions such as HR, Accounting, Facilities, IT etc. However, if you look closely at what formal education is available for concept thinkers/managers, who generally decide (of course after doing enough customer research & analysis), what products should be built then you will find that the answer is not very encouraging.

Of course, there are majors such as Strategic Management and some b-schools also offer electives in product management and some cover few courses in Entrepreneurship but I don’t think that’s enough. Why? Because most of these courses are too high level and do not allow business students to get their hands dirty on creating a roadmap or product requirement specification. Such courses also do not allow business students to get the ‘real world’ picture of how product/concepts should be managed, which could include tasks such as concept rationalization, business case creation, technology assessment, use case scenarios, management of product contract with product implementation teams, pricing of the product, demo of product, competitive analysis for the product, and collateral creation for the product etc., on daily basis. Performing all of the above tasks is very much important to be successful product management professional in the real world business.

Now I am sure some of the above tasks will get covered in some major or other but Product Management is a real role, why someone should just not be able opt for such major and have career in Product Management?

[1] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Product_(business)