Quantic’s Weekly Roundup

Quantic’s Weekly Roundup is a satisfying mix of the latest breaking news, business, STEM and social science stories. Here are your headlines for this week:

We have contact: A new Covid-19 contact-tracing app will be launched across England and Wales on September 24, the government has announced. The app will let people scan barcode-like QR codes to register visits to hospitality venues and will implement Apple and Google’s method of detecting other smartphones. Businesses are being asked to display QR code posters to support the app.

Ticket to ride: The Irish e-mobility startup Zipp Mobility has announced that the UK Department for Transport has approved its e-scooter model for trials across the UK. This approval comes as part of a strategy to explore greener and more ‘socially distanced’ methods of urban transport due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The scooters also have nano-septic handlebar wraps, which the startup states reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission by 99.98%.

Out-of-this-world innovations: For more than six decades, space programs have been developing technologies and making new discoveries. Sometimes, this research is in service of solving hard problems we face on Earth, for instance, developing a vaccine for the novel coronavirus. Other times, astronauts spend their time with less mission critical endeavors: sneaker performance for commercial partners like Adidas. In either case, the discoveries made in orbit have applications that improve our Earth-bound lives. Read on to learn how space labs are hurtling toward the next big breakthrough.

(3D) picture perfect: A team of researchers at Google have come up with a technique that can combine thousands of tourist photos into detailed 3D renderings that take you inside a scene… even if the original photos used vary wildly in terms of lighting, or include other problematic elements like people or cars. It’s an advanced, neural network-driven interpolation that manages to include geometric info about the scene and could revolutionize how 3D renderings are created across all industries by allowing for much more variation in the source imagery.

Optimization in the healthcare arena: Quantic Alum and Vice President of Operations at Focused Software, Anne Michael, is working to streamline data entry, protect confidential health information and create overall efficiency, so that patient care can be the main focus.

60 Business Analyst Interview Questions and Answers for 2020

As a business analyst (BA) prospect, you will face stiff competition from others who have all the same skills and qualifications. The only difference will be your ability to convince Human Resource (HR) managers why you are better.

On the opposite end of the interview desk, HR managers face their own struggles. They need to align potential employees with organizational goals and overall vision. Human capital holds the potential to make or break any business so making the right decision is crucial. 

The decision to move an interviewee along the line depends on your ability to judge their skills based on a few minutes of conversation.

We have just the solution for both interviewees and interviewers. Take a look at our comprehensive list of business analyst interview questions and answers.

Business Analyst Interview Preparation

Before even setting foot in the interview room, you will need to make the cut with an exemplary BA CV. Analysts have very specific job descriptions and these need to be reflected.

You could spend hours sending out your CV, and never receive any response. What is the solution? Joining a career network is probably your best option. This will give you the opportunity to apply to exclusive positions.

Combined with professional qualifications, you can propel your career to the next level. This will save you precious time and give you access to the ideal employer.

For HR managers, sourcing these CVs is the 1st step in finding qualified candidates. The best, (and easiest) place is through an outstanding Talent Acquisition Network.

Talent acquisition has a more strategic approach compared to recruitment. So where do you find such talent, and how do you ensure they are of the caliber you require?

Smartly’s employer platform is one of the ways for HR teams to gain access to an exclusive platform of qualified individuals. You’re guaranteed the highest quality candidates from a pool of students and graduates.

An interview does not begin when you walk through the door. Rather, you need to be as prepared as you would be for a test.

Here are a few tips to become adept at passing any interview:

Do your research:

Before walking into an interview, you must know who is interviewing you. You need to know the company you are looking to work for. This will let you tailor your answers to their specific requirements.

Know your future job:

Thorough knowledge of your future job is an easy way to highlight your specific capabilities in line with the job requirements.

Re-learn your skills:

Invest some time in refreshing your memory on the key skills involved in a BA position. Make sure you can do what you say in your CV.

Study interview questions:

A job interview is similar to a test in which you do not know the questions. Lucky for you, you have the chance to study as many interview questions as possible.

Prepare your own questions:

Interviewers usually ask you if you have any questions of your own at the end of the interview. Ask a few questions regarding the opening, the job duties, and what is expected of you. Ask questions about the future plans of the company and their vision for BAs in the organization. The aim is to leave a lasting impression before you leave the room.

Junior vs. Senior Level Business Analyst Interview Questions

As a BA, your level of education, as well as experience, determines how far up the ladder you can go. Most analysts require a basic business or tech educational background. Success in an interview will then depend on additional skills.

A great way to accelerate your career is to complete an MBA or EMBA degree and give yourself an extra leg up.

Junior analysts generally have less experience and may have recently graduated. One option to accelerate your career as a junior analyst is an MBA program. The traditional MBA program usually requires 2 years of full-time study. It equips you with the business skills to grow in your career.

But how about an MBA that takes only 10 months? You may think this would be a sub-standard program and you would be wrong. The Quantic MBA is a fast-paced, personalized program, taught online, giving you the advantage of earning while you work. With an MBA in your pocket, you will be better prepared to answer these junior analyst interview questions.

Junior Level Analyst Interview Questions

1. How do you propose to compensate for your lack of experience?

This question is key for junior analysts as it is an opportunity to show that you can use your education as a basis to learn new tasks. Explain what experience you do have. The point is to show that you are capable of assimilating new information.

2. How do you think you would fit this position as a junior analyst?

Your research into the company will come in handy when answering this question. Look at the company philosophy and working methods. Be ready to explain how you would adapt to perform in the new role.

3. How do you deal with giving difficult feedback, especially in a junior role?

This is a test of your communication skills. Show that you can be tactful and thoughtful when giving negative feedback. It shows you are capable of working in a team, or in a future managerial position.

4. Can you name two diagrams used by a business analyst?

You will need to remember what you have learned when answering these types of questions. Be sure to mention and elaborate on:

  • Case diagrams
  • Collaboration diagrams

5. What steps are required before converting an idea into a product?

Explain the different types such as SWOT, gap, market, and competitor analyses.

6. Can you name the initial steps in project development?

This is another question that will test your theoretical capabilities. If possible, give examples of these steps in action.

Initial steps include:

  • Market analysis
  • SWOT analysis
  • Personas
  • Competitor analysis
  • Identifying the strategic vision

7. What are the key phases of business development?

There are four key phases, namely: forming, storming, norming, and performing.

8. What are the exceptions?

These are unexpected errors that occur when you run an application.

Senior Level Analyst Interview Questions

Senior analysts generally have more experience and a higher level of education. If you are looking to move up from junior to senior analyst, an EMBA may be the best move for your career.

You probably have an impressive resume with relevant experience. Adding an EMBA allows you to move into a more senior role.

Here are some questions to expect during your interview:

9. Can you explain the key roles and responsibilities of a business analyst?

You may not be able to list all the ‘textbook’ capabilities, so tailor these to your experience. Some may include:

  • Creating detailed analyses
  • Defining business requirements
  • Communicating with stakeholders
  • Planning and monitoring projects
  • Managing teams

10. What is a flow chart and how do you use it?

A flowchart shows the flow of systems using diagrams and signs. Mention how you have used one to make systems understandable for stakeholders.

11. What tools do you typically use as a business analyst?

Refer to common tools such as Rational tools, Microsoft Office, and ERP systems. Demonstrate working knowledge of how you have used them in the past.

12. What is project management in BA and how have you used it in your experience?

Define project management as the process used to attain desired goals as a BA. Explain how you have used it to identify glitches and the goals you have achieved. These could be solutions such as better functionality, lower costs, etc.

13. Tell me about a suggestion you have made that has benefited an organization you’ve worked for?

Take this as an opportunity to show what you are capable of. Prepare an example that was accepted and had a positive impact. Try to relate it to the position you are applying for.

14. What measures do you take to increase your team’s productivity?

As a senior analyst, you will be expected to be a proficient leader. This question gives you the chance to show that you are able to motivate a team. Answer with a ‘team-mindset’ in mind. Explain how you would use managerial skills to help team members achieve organizational goals. Include practical examples such as mentoring or having an ‘open-door’ policy.

“Tell Me About Yourself” Business Analyst Questions

These are usually open-ended questions that give you the opportunity to explain yourself and your passion for the job. Some of the personal questions include:

15. Why do you want to work as a business analyst?

You can explain the story of how you started your journey into business analytics. Give details as to why you are interested in pursuing a career in the field. Tell the interviewer what inspires you to do your day-to-day job.

16. What do you hope to achieve as an analyst?

Employers will ask this to determine if the job fits into your career aspirations. Explain your future goals in line with the position you are applying for. You can touch on ambitions such as attaining a leadership position.

17. What would you say are your strengths as a BA?

Personalize your answer to this question. Be sure to show you understand the skills necessary to succeed in the job role. Discuss both soft and hard skills. Prepare three strengths using the below formula:

  • Awards: Name prizes you have won.
  • Accolades: Mention special honors you have achieved due to your strengths.
  • Anecdotes: Tell a story that demonstrates how you used your strengths.
  • Acknowledgments: Name special recognitions you have received.

18. What would you say are your weaknesses as an analyst?

Do not try to downplay this question. Answering honestly and taking responsibility shows you are aware of the areas you should work on.

Technical Business Analyst Interview Questions

A technical business analyst focuses on using software and hardware to provide analysis that can be used to improve business systems. With that in mind, interview questions will focus both on business and technical skills. Take a look at some questions that are specific to technical BAs:

19. Can you describe your SQL skills?

As a technical business analyst, SQL is key in performing any job function. The HR team will be looking for someone with practical skills such as data manipulation, navigation, and the ability to write queries. If the interviewer is part of a technical team, you can wow them with technical lingo. This will help them understand the scope of your skills.

20. Can you describe the types of SQL statements?

This is another technical question that tests your educational background. You will probably face this in an interview with a manager in the business analytics team. Do not be afraid to explain in-depth your knowledge of SQL. Expand on the types, namely:

  • SQL definition
  • SQL manipulation
  • SQL control

21. What is your experience with technical and functional documents?

All BA’s should be able to explain what solutions various systems provide. As a technical analyst, you will be required to discuss how the system will work. Tell the interviewer you would be able to create documents such as Stakeholder Analysis and Scope Statement.

22. How do you convey complex, technical information to non-technical stakeholders?

The way you answer will showcase your communication skills. Show that you can be relatable, able to create simple mockups, and answer questions in an understandable manner.

23. What are the components of UML as you understand them?

There is no set answer to this question as concepts can be derived from many sources. Be sure to mention components for UML:

  • Structure – actor, attribute, interface, object, etc
  • Behaviour – event, message, operation, state, etc
  • Relationships – association, composition, inheritance, etc

24. Can you describe your experience with UAT?

User Acceptance Testing is the final part of any analyst’s project. Go through these 5 steps and explain how you executed each one.

25. What is PaaS?

PaaS is a cloud computing platform that allows developers to build apps over the Internet. The services are accessible by users via their web browsers.

26. What is SaaS?

Software as a Service is used a third-party to host applications and give access via the Internet.

27. What is IaaS?

This is a form of cloud computing that provides virtual computing resources through the Internet.

28. What is CaaS?

Communications as a Service is a cloud-based solution that is leased from a single vendor over the Internet.

IT Analyst Interview Questions

29. How would you describe the role of an IT analyst in an organization?

This question is aimed at gauging your understanding of the position. Mention the fact that an IT analyst is key in the daily functioning of the organization. They ensure the smooth running of infrastructure and applications.

30. What are your technical certifications?

Have a list ready of your relevant certifications. If you are looking to continue studying, be sure to include these as well.

31. How do you ensure quality in deliverables?

To answer this, refer back to the client requirements that you would have gathered prior to providing a solution. Making sure the client is satisfied is key to measuring the quality of deliverables.

32. After researching a business tool, you come across two possible solutions. One is cloud-based, the other, premises-based. Which one would you recommend and why?

Guide the interviewer through your thought process when deciding on the best option. There is no concrete answer so explore both options. Give examples of when each could apply.

33. Provide examples of how you used data analysis to support your decision-making process.

The interviewer is looking to see if you understand the role of data analysis in decision making. Explain its importance in identifying problems and estimating the impact of possible solutions.

34. Which data visualization tools do you have experience with?

Your answer will show your ability to communicate with non-technical team members and clients. Have experience with at least one visualization technique.

Behavioral Business Analyst Interview Questions and Answers

Behavioral interview questions work on the premise that past behavior is a good indicator of future behavior. 

To answer these types of questions, use the S.T.A.R. technique to structure your response.

Plan ahead for such questions with ready examples and remember to keep the tone positive.

Analysts may face the below behavioral interview questions:

35. How do you handle difficult stakeholders?

How you deal with difficult stakeholders will show how successful you are in completing projects. Show that you can be objective, control your emotions as well as reach an amicable resolution.

36. Can you tell me of a mistake you made? How did you handle it?

The key to this answer is honesty. No one can do their job perfectly so do not try to cover up your errors. The interviewer wants to see that you took responsibility and corrected the error.

37. Have you ever had to pitch an idea to a senior employee? How did you handle it?

The interviewer is looking at your communication skills as well as independent thinking. Outline the steps you took to prepare and the results of your pitch. If you have never had such an opportunity, explain how you would handle a pitch if given the chance.

38. Have you experienced conflict with a peer at work? How did you deal with it?

Using the S.T.A.R method, explain how the conflict arose and how you resolved it. Emphasize on communication skills and your conflict resolution strategy. Demonstrate the ability to understand other people and reach an agreeable solution.

39. Tell me of a time when you had to deal with a lot of stress or work under pressure.

This will reflect your ability to deal with pressure in the future. Provide tactics you use, such as adequate preparation, relaxation techniques, and your change of mindset when under pressure.

40. What is the biggest goal you have achieved as an analyst? How did you achieve it?

Prepare by having your proudest goal in mind. The key is to focus on the steps you took to achieve that goal.

41. Tell me of when you had to learn a new skill. How did you master it and how has it helped you in your career?

Using the S.T.A.R method, describe the type of training you underwent in relation to BA and the quantitative results. You want to show that you are open to learning and are capable of putting theory into action.

42. Tell me of a time when you did not achieve a goal.

Respond by showing that you are capable of handling failure. The interviewer wants to see that you learned from the experience, and can do things differently if faced with a similar situation.

Functional Analyst Interview Questions

Functional questions will focus on what an individual can do. They allow the hiring manager to evaluate your skills, education, and have a glimpse at your desired career path.

Some questions include:

43. What is your experience as a business analyst?

There is almost a 100% chance you will have to answer this question. Be prepared to break down your experience, and summarise it all concisely.

44. Why should we hire you?

By understanding the job description, you can link your specific skills and experience with what the company wants. If your skills are not up to par, emphasize passion and commitment.

45. What are your current job responsibilities?

This is to see if your duties match the job requirements and those on your CV. Expand on the points in your resume and give a clear picture of what you currently do.

46 What is your educational background?

This is one of the simpler questions. Give relevant information on your education and how it could be applied to your career as a BA.

47. What does your typical day look like?

There is no ‘typical day’. This is aimed to see how you plan and how efficiently you organize your time.

48. What is most satisfying about your job?

Your answer will reveal what you believe in as an employee. Speak of an element of the job that applies to the job you are interviewing for.

49. What is the most challenging part of your job?

Breakdown your job and decide which challenges you face, but focus on the ones that can be solved. Choose a skill area that won’t affect your core tasks but can be improved.

50. Where do you see yourself in 2-5 years time?

HR will want to know if you plan on being with them in the long-run. Even if you do not have a concrete plan, show a sense of ambition and a desire to grow.

Analytical Interview Questions

Analytical questions are aimed at assessing your critical thinking. It is a chance to showcase your problem-solving skills and use of data to analyze processes in the organization.

51. How does analytical reporting provide value? Does it have any shortcomings?

Prove you understand the importance of analytical reporting. Do not, however, make it the ‘end -all’ of all decisions. Be sure to include the fact that other factors may not be well represented in data, yet they will influence the decision.

52. In your professional opinion, what does requirement analysis entail?

Requirement analysis needs you to analyze, document, validate, and manage software. Use this definition and the ‘SMART’ technique to show how you have used it in your previous experience.

53. Can you describe the requirements analysis process?

The process involves 4 steps, namely:

  • Eliciting requirements
  • Analyzing requirements
  • Modeling requirements
  • Reviewing requirements

54. What is the most important aspect of analysis reporting?

Explain the impact that analytical reporting has had in your previous roles. Show how you have used tools to provide value. This is a chance to show analytical and critical thinking skills.

55. Have you ever encountered conflicting data during analysis? How did you deal with it?

Show your problem-solving skills. Describe your process (e.g.: how you found the source of the problem and escalated the issue).

56. Can you describe the difference between design models and analysis models?

This theoretical question will test your working knowledge. Design involves raw data collection, planning, and creation. The analysis is the execution, fixing, and reporting of the model.

Marketing Performance Analyst Interview Questions

A marketing performance analyst provides solutions based on insights around marketing performance. They investigate marketing trends that can influence organizational tactics and strategies.

Some questions you may encounter during a marketing analyst interview include:

57. How would you build a predictive model? Can you describe it and the process you would go through?

You will need to demonstrate your ability to forecast future trends and probabilities from historical data. Use your past experiences to give an example of where you used a logical thought process to create a model.

58. What is the most surprising finding you have come across? How did it affect your work?

As a marketing analyst, you should be able to put preconceived notions aside when interpreting data. Showing your ability to be unbiased and open to new ideas could be the difference between you and the next candidate.

59. What type of CRM and analysis software have you worked with?

Be ready with an explanation of the different software programs you have used and how they have helped you as a BA.

60. What recommendations have you used that have increased sales?

Use work experience to show your ability to use data to add value. If you have no prior experience, give a scenario that you would implement in your future job.

Taking the Next Step

Start preparing to ace your next interview and land your perfect job with these questions. By ensuring you have the credentials required and a healthy amount of confidence, you will be well-equipped to level-up your career.

Why not follow Patrick’s example…

Quantic’s Weekly Roundup

Quantic’s Weekly Roundup is a satisfying mix of the latest breaking news, business, STEM and social science stories. Here are your headlines for this week:

Play the Game: Harbor, an emergency preparedness platform, aims to gamify the process of doing everyday preparation for disasters. The program takes a look at the user’s location and the general state of their home to determine types of risks to that individual user and their property. The platform curates a weekly checklist for the user to stay prepared, whether it’s keeping track of the amount of water on hand, or checking the battery levels and functionality of a smoke alarm.

Look Ma, No Hands: In mid-August, the UK government’s Department for Transport (DfT) issued a call for evidence on the use of Automated Lane Keeping Systems (ALKS), which marks a tentative but positive step towards automated driving technology being permitted for use on the UK’s roads, which could see the first such systems hitting the pavement as early as Spring 2021.

Brain Power: The interface for Elon Musk’s brain-hacking company, Neuralink, will allow people with neurological conditions to control phones or computers with their minds. Musk will give a progress update today and hopes to create a “superhuman condition.” The device the company is developing consists of a tiny probe containing more than 3,000 electrodes attached to flexible threads thinner than a human hair, which can monitor the activity of 1,000 brain neurons. 

Seas the Opportunity: Across the globe, seaweed production has doubled and is becoming a booming business. Why? Not only is it used in many cosmetics, food products and medicines, but scientists suggest it can help fight climate change and offset carbon emissions. It can now be used in other forms, working with textiles and plastic alternatives, including biodegradable packaging, water capsules, and drinking straws.

Quantic’s Weekly Roundup

Quantic’s Weekly Roundup is a satisfying mix of the latest breaking news, business, STEM and social science stories. Here are your headlines for this week:

To the moon and back: A Japanese startup company, ispace, is working to put a private lunar lander on the moon sometime in the next few years. The company raised more than $28 million in a Series B funding round. It will also launch a new data platform that will allow businesses to use the information it collects to help with commercial development. 

Lots of buzz around this experiment: Local officials in Florida have approved the release of 750 million mosquitoes that have been genetically modified to reduce local populations. The aim is to reduce the number of mosquitoes that carry diseases like dengue or the Zika virus. The British-based, US-operated company, Oxitec, produces the bugs and has already seen positive results from field trials in Brazil.

A tradition unlike any other: Medieval ‘wine windows’ in Italy have reopened to serve wine, Aperol Spritz, gelato and more. These windows, built around 1530 and once part of everyday life, are now becoming essential again for restaurant and cafe owners. Now, several wine windows have re-opened for the first time in generations, and are being used to serve food and drinks in a socially distanced way. 

Calories not included: A breakthrough with biomorphic batteries could allow robots to store up to 72-times more energy through a system similar to biological fat reserves. This type of biomorphic technology is based on living forms and is ideal for humanoid robots being developed to work and operate within environments designed for humans.

What if blankets had the power to advance healthcare technology, during the coronavirus pandemic? Executive MBA Students, Olivia Lin and Edward Shim, developed a Studio 1 Labs bed sheet that can be used in hospitals to monitor patients’ vitals and respiratory distress.

What is a Chief Product Officer (CPO)? + How to Become One 🚀

Love product planning, product launches, and everything in between? The Chief Product Officer role is for you! This dynamic, well-paid position is the hottest position in the boardroom right now.

We’re going to tell you exactly what you need to do to land it.

Becoming a CPO requires a few particular things:

  • In-depth knowledge of the entire product lifecycle
  • A strong grasp on your industry
  • The right degrees, skills, and levels of experience.

We cover all of that and more right here. By the time you’re through, you’ll know exactly where you stand and what moves you need to make next.

What Is a Chief Product Officer?

The CPO is the executive who oversees the product portfolio of a company. In other words, you’re the one leading all of the activities that help your company build and maintain great products. You’ll oversee activities such as discovery and conceptualization all the way to post-launch performance reviews.

CPOs are sometimes called by a few different names. In a smaller company or a startup, you might find the title labeled:

  • VP of Product
  • Head of Product (Management)
  • Director of Product (Management)
  • Director of Product Strategy
  • Product Design VP

In a larger company, however, these usually refer to different positions within the product management hierarchy. (Officially, the CPO isn’t a product manager, although product management may encompass some of your responsibilities.) We’ll look at this in detail below.

The CPO vs. CTO

Like we explored in our section on how to become a CTO, the CTO is responsible for making sure a company’s technology aligns with a company’s overall goals and mission. 

What happens when a company’s product is technology?

The line between product and technology is blurry. This is especially true when you start thinking about things like Software-as-a-Service (SaaS), but you’ll come across it anywhere companies use technology to enhance the customer experience. Think about it:

  • Cars feature sophisticated interfaces to aid in navigation and driving
  • Athletic clothing uses engineered synthetic fabrics to aid moisture wicking
  • Banks develop online services that let people invest their money themselves

In each case, the how, what, and why of a product have become intertwined. It’s not possible to separate the technology from the product. In these cases, the company has one of two choices:

  • The CPO works alongside the CTO to address the technological aspects of a product.
  • The CPO and CTO roles are merged. 

Yes, it’s possible to find Chief Product & Technology Officer roles out there now. Ramin Beheshti, the CPTO of Dow Jones, is one example.

Become a CPO and Secure a High-Powered, High-Earning Future

The CPO is zooming toward popularity as more companies realize the value of having on board an expert in products and customer experience. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, these professionals are experiencing a job growth rate of 20 percent (compared to just six percent of other top executives). 

Several major companies have hired their first CPOs recently. Overstock brought on a CPO in March 2020. A couple of months later, The Economist hired Deep Bagchee – the former VP of Product and Technology for CNBC.

Even the U.S. government is brought on a CPO for its Department of Health and Human Services.

If you’re thinking about making the jump to CPO, now’s a perfect time.

Here’s What You’ll Earn

According to Payscale, CPOs earn, on average, $183,724 per year, with the ability to earn as much as $291,000 for those with over twenty years of experience at the job. Glassdoor bumps those numbers a bit higher, noting an average of $193,636 annually, with top earners bringing in around $312,00 per year.

Payscale notes that it’s mostly experience that will impact your salary. Expect your salary to rise dramatically at about 10 years of experience at being a CPO. Likewise, 78 percent of your competition for the role will have 10 years of experience or more

What Does a Chief Product Officer Do?

Ever wonder why large brands ax seemingly popular products, or suddenly bring on new features for their services that you didn’t expect? Decisions like that are the result of the CPO’s work.

As a CPO, you’ll be responsible for making sure that every product a company has on the market is serving the overall company mission. If it’s not, you’ll be the one to identify what changes need to be made and implement a strategy to change them.

You might have your hands on a lot of different roles. On any given day, expect to find yourself:

  • Leading and supervising project management teams
  • Meeting with department heads or other top-level managers
  • Interviewing, recruiting, and supervising product employees or teams
  • Creating strategies, timelines, and processes for meeting product goals
  • Working with the COO or the CFO to streamline operations and budgets
  • Spearheading product development strategy
  • Conducting market or product research and analysis
  • Advising on marketing strategies

Understanding Product Team Organizational Structure

As a CPO, you’ll constitute the head of your company’s product team. Depending on your company’s specific hierarchy, that often means working with a series of professionals who lead the product and project management processes themselves. 

In a large company with extensive hierarchy, you’ll take on more of a guidance and advisory role to help teams understand how a product aligns with a company’s missions. Directly reporting to you will include positions such as the:

  • Director of Product Management
  • Director of User Experience
  • Head of Product Analytics
  • Head of Marketing

However, many smaller companies don’t use super hierarchical structures for their product development. Instead, they opt for a structure where a product manager heads smaller teams of developers. This boosts the overall autonomy of the team and makes it easier for the company to respond to rapid market changes. In this case, you’ll primarily interface with the product managers, who relay essential information to their developers.

How to Become a CPO: Skills, Education, Career Path

If you want to become a chief product officer, you’ll need to think carefully about the education you acquire and the career choices you make. The good news is that you have more freedom regarding things like the choice of your undergraduate degree. However, the actual career path for a CPO is a bit more well-defined than other executives. 

There are certain things you absolutely need to do. We’ll look at that next.

What Skills Do I Need to Become a CPO?

The skills you need to excel at this role fall into five distinct categories:

  • Leadership. Get used to leading teams because you’ll consistently do it. People will look to you for guidance and direction. We strongly recommend taking a course in Leadership Fundamentals if you haven’t already.
  • Management. You’ll work with an array of people every day. From managing project managers to mentoring employees, you’ll need a firm grasp on organizational behavior and how teams function.
  • Data analytics. Product analytics will guide many of the decisions you make regarding a company’s product portfolio. You’ll need to know how to research the right information to make informed decisions. Specific skills understanding one-variable statistics will aid you with this.
  • Product strategy. Integral to a successful product includes the ability to identify market and positioning opportunities. Expect to leverage skills like blue ocean strategy, which can help your organization sail into more profitable waters.
  • Marketing. As the CPO, you’ll market and evangelize products from concept to launch. This includes getting other board members to buy into ideas, discussing product potential with investors, and even exciting employees to turn them into product ambassadors. You may also provide input to the marketing department on campaigns, so make sure you’ve got marketing fundamentals down well. 

CPO Education & Degrees: Your Options

You’ll need a bachelor’s degree at the minimum to achieve the position of CPO. However, some 53 percent of CPOs have a master’s degree (another 7 percent have a doctorate), so you should consider going beyond the minimum to secure this job. 

We’ve found that CPOs tend to have a broader range of undergraduate degrees than other types of executives. Some options include:

  • Business administration
  • Economics
  • Information technology
  • Product management
  • Marketing and advertising
  • Psychology
  • Engineering

What’s the Best MBA for a CPO?

At the executive level, you’re going to make decisions that directly impact the course and performance of the business. Therefore, if you’re eyeing that advanced degree that over half of all CPOs have, consider an MBA. This will make sure you’ve got the perspective and tools you need to make smart, informed decisions.

There are a few different routes you can take. Here are a few considerations to help identify which is the best option for you: 

  • Traditional MBA. A traditional MBA occurs on campus and typically requires fulltime attendance. You’ll enjoy a rigorous, structured experience that lets you connect and network with peers. Likewise, traditional MBAs are well-regarded in the business world.
  • Online MBA. Many people turn to online MBAs because of their flexibility. This is ideal for self-motivated, working professionals who can’t or don’t want to stop working. Many online MBA programs have historically lacked the valuable benefits of a traditional MBA, such as the ability to network. However, that’s beginning to change, with more MBAs featuring career networks and other communities.
  • Executive MBA. An executive MBA is a specialized MBA program that focuses on the skills and knowledge individuals need who are specifically interested in gaining a position on a board. Typically, individuals who opt for this route are mid-career or experienced professionals who may already have some background in business but need to bolster it to be effective in the boardroom.

We’ve covered quite a bit on the advantages of online versus traditional MBAs, and what to consider when choosing between an EMBA and an MBA.

What Is the Career Path to Become a CPO?

Becoming a CPO doesn’t just happen overnight. In fact, we recommend that you pursue the job after you’ve got around 10 years of experience in product-related fields. To maximize your success, we recommend that you do two things:

  • Stay within an industry. While it’s okay to move around between companies, you’ll need to demonstrate industry knowledge. For example, consider Tamar Yehoshua, the current CPO of Slack. She’s worked with cloud services since 1997. Or, Aaron Kissel, the CPO of Politico, who earned his degree in Industrial and Labor Relations in 1993. 
  • Take on many product-related roles. The more knowledge you can demonstrate about the product lifecycle, the stronger candidate you will be. Consider Lisa Collier, the CPO of Under Armour, who has worked every position in clothing retail over the past 36 years.

Beyond that, here’s what your career path should look like:

1. Get a bachelor’s degree. We noted above that you’d got more freedom in this choice. If you already know what industry you want to work within, a technical degree is perfectly acceptable.

2. Get into a product-related role. There’s no substitute for work experience here. You should take on product development, product management, and similar roles. Each successive position should demonstrate more responsibility than the last. Expect this to take five to seven years.

3. Get your MBA. You can start on an MBA as soon as you finish your undergrad if you like. During this time, make a point of connecting with other professionals in your industry.

4. Continue to grow your network and seek additional opportunities. Once you’ve hit about ten years of experience, you’ll start to catch the eye of companies looking for a new CPO. Your professional network will come in handy.

Summary: Next Steps to Becoming a Great CPO

There’s no better time than right now to get started down the path to becoming a Chief Product Officer. This evolving, high-energy role is gaining importance as more companies realize the value of a product expert on the board. 

We’ve covered what a CPO does, what sorts of skills they have, and what sort of experienced, educated professionals you’re up against when you start seeking the role. Now you know where you stand and what you can do right now, no matter where you are in your career. 

Executive MBA Costs vs. Benefits – Calculate Your ROI

An Executive MBA (EMBA) is an advanced degree targeted at mid-career professionals.

The average EMBA candidate is between 32 and 44, with at least eight years of work experience. They have competitive resumes and are poised to move into senior leadership roles.

As one such candidate, your choice in the Executive MBA program is critical. You want a globally competitive program that will allow you to advance your career. Ideally, you also want it to be flexible enough to allow you to keep your job. 

Thankfully, today’s best EMBA programs are designed to help you achieve just that. They offer accelerated programs to suit the busy schedule of working executives.

Typically, the courses take a more applied approach and focus on developing:

  • Business acumen 
  • Organizational leadership 
  • Industry-specific knowledge

Some programs even offer online or hybrid formats. This gives you more flexibility, and thus more balance between your work, school, and personal life.

But, an Executive MBA can also be a costly venture. Tuition from a top-ranking program averages north of $100,000. And although the courses are accelerated, they often run for up to two years.

Choosing to pursue an EMBA is a big decision and a considerable investment. With so much on the line, it’s only reasonable that you should wonder if the degree is worth it.

In this article, we’ll explore the different features of an EMBA. We will also take a look at their value and potential for return on investment to help you make the right decision.

How Much Does an Executive MBA Cost?

When considering an EMBA, an institution’s reputation is critical. And as you will find out below, the cost of a program rises along with an institution’s reputation.

Average Cost of an EMBA

According to a survey conducted by Ivy Execs, the average cost of an EMBA in the U.S. is $75,000. 

The average cost of an EMBA from a top tier program amounts to almost twice that, averaging at about $133,000. For example, an EMBA from:

With tuition fees like these, you’d be remiss not to wonder if your investment will be worthwhile.

Thankfully, you’d be pleased to learn that it often is. 

According to a 2017 survey by the EMBA Council, the average EMBA student’s salary is $172,498. This saw an increase of about 14% after graduation taking the average income to about $197,719. 

This sizable increase in pay means that you will see a return on your investment soon.

“Graduates can expect to earn a bonus for obtaining their degree and an average salary of $164,845. With a significant jump in income, EMBA graduates are able to quickly pay off any loans and completely cover the cost of going back to school in less than two years.”

Dan Scalco, Contributor Huffpost

We also learn that 41% of EMBA students receive a promotion after graduation, and 52% saw an increase in responsibility.

However, an Executive MBA from a traditional program is not always feasible. Thankfully, there are more accessible options through online programs. These offer candidates a more flexible, digital-first, and remote-friendly alternative. 

Some of these are affiliated with long-standing top tier business schools. While others are from accredited independent schools like Quantic School of Business and Technology

It’s important that you understand the nuances of the different programs available to you, so we’ll do our best to shed light on all your best options.

The Quantic program is based on a proprietary pedagogy developed in collaboration with professors from elite institutions like Georgetown, and Insead Business School.

This helps make elite business education more accessible. Especially considering we charge modest tuition of $9,600 for this program.

Consider the following cost comparison between Quantic and other top-tier programs:

Executive MBA Cost Comparison

Executive MBA Scholarships

According to the EMBA Council:

  • 20% of EMBA students have full scholarships from their employers. 
  • 34% of EMBA students have partial scholarships from their employers. 

The remaining 46% are self-sponsored. But they often have access to financial aid or tuition assistance.

In addition, 59% of the institutions that offer EMBA programs offer their candidates scholarships and fellowships.

Clearly, despite the high tuition of an EMBA, you have options to help offset some of the costs. Be sure to check with your employer and school to determine those options. 

This is key information that will determine your return on investment.

At the Quantiac school, we also offer scholarships to eligible candidates.

However, unlike most institutions, we don’t have a separate application process. You will be considered based on your application and notified along with your admission decision.

If your employer wishes to sponsor you, we also offer means and resources for employer-funded reimbursement.

What Are the Benefits of an Executive MBA?

Executive MBAs come with many benefits, including:

#1: New Networking Opportunities

An EMBA brings together a diverse group of people from different fields. It also gives candidates access to an international student and alumni community.

These give a foundation to expand your professional network across the globe. Alumni communities, for instance, help overcome some of the networking challenges executives face.

Additionally, most programs offer an international experience option. According to a 2018 Executive MBA Council survey, 93.2% of the programs offer international trips. Some programs even offer global topics as elective and concentrations.

#2: New Challenges and Learning Experiences

After a few years of working and moving up the ladder in an industry, you develop skills in your discipline. An EMBA curriculum is designed to help refine these skills and turn them into expertise.

It also gives insight into the most pressing factors affecting business today. You will also get to learn accounting and financial acuity.

These are skills that will help catapult your career forward. Moreso if you are looking to move into an executive leadership role.

#3: An EMBA Helps You Become a Better Leader

Most EMBA curriculums include business coaching and leadership training. These help you learn about your managerial style, making you a more effective leader.

Other leadership skills you can expect to learn from an EMBA program include:

Analytic Thinking 

You will learn how to dissect and understand different areas of business. This helps you develop critical knowledge in your field, enabling you to make more educated decisions.

Problem-Solving Skills 

As you work and learn at the same time, you can apply the knowledge you gain in real-time. The program encourages you to analyze your environment and use your newly acquired skills to solve any issues.


An EMBA program will help you build confidence in your knowledge. This will come in handy if you are looking to break off and start a business of your own. Or even looking to get into C-level management.


This is one of the most critical skills, especially for those in leadership. An EMBA equips you with the tools to communicate within your business environment.

#4: Better Earning Potential

As an EMBA graduate, you can expect to see a salary increase much sooner than you would with a regular MBA. 

On average, you can expect an increase of about 13.5%, according to a 2019 Executive MBA Council survey.

It also indicates that you are 53% more likely to receive more responsibilities. And 40% more likely to get a promotion.

In addition to these, an online facility like Quantic also comes with a few added advantages. These include:

#1: Student Peer-To-Peer Learning

You will have access to a group learning platform. Here, they can receive class exercises, interact, and build each other’s knowledge.

#2: Executive MBA Student Network

This refers to a platform where you will be able to interact with other students and alumni. Here, you will be able to exchange ideas, grow your networks, and even take part in events.

#3: Group Projects

In the Quantic program, you will get to work in groups on several projects throughout the program. You will also work on a final project where you will get a chance to showcase your newly acquired knowledge.

#4: Optional In-Person Weekend Conferences

These conferences offer an opportunity to meet and network with classmates and alumni. The conferences span multiple days and happen four times every year around the world.

Previous locations have included: Copenhagen, Seattle, Singapore, and Washington, D.C.

#5: Full-Time Job Placement

An EMBA will also afford you specific opportunities after graduation. This is because certain programs offer networking and career support to graduates.

Some programs even offer career networks. Here candidates can get leads to new jobs and mentorship opportunities.

Is an Executive MBA Worth It?

Given the information above, you must be wondering whether an EMBA is right for you. Right off the bat, let us clarify that the degree is an excellent investment. But it might not be the best fit for everyone, or where they are in their career. 

Consider the following instances: 

The key takeaway from an Executive MBA is that it prepares you to move up the corporate ladder.

However, if you are new to your industry or management, then the degree is probably not the best fit for you. It’s also not a great fit if you are a recent graduate looking to get ahead in the business world.

In this instance, you will be better off with a traditional MBA. Or better yet a few years of real-world experience managing projects and people.

Additionally, you have to consider whether you can manage the time commitment required to complete the program. 

If you are unable to commit this amount of time, then perhaps it might not be the right time to start your EMBA.

Another critical factor to consider is employer support. Remember, support is not just financial; they might also need to adjust your work schedule.

Ensure that you and your employer see eye-to-eye before starting your course.

However, if your career has hit a plateau, then you might want to consider an Executive MBA. Fresh technical skills, training in soft skills, and decision making will help you take on more responsibility.

Additionally, the connections you forge during your EMBA will also help propel your career to the next level.

Finally, to work out whether an EMBA is worth it, you need to first determine your career goals.

Ultimately, Executive MBAs are designed to get you to top-level management. If this is your end goal, then the answer is YES. An Executive MBA is worth it and will prepare you for this role.

If you would still like to pursue an Executive MBA but cannot meet the commitments of a traditional program, then you should consider an online program.

Non-traditional programs like Quantic’s EMBA offer more flexibility and low financial barriers.

The online delivery method means that you can learn through bite-sized lessons at your own pace and receive individualized feedback.

An online program will also give you unique insights into the evolving workplace. It will equip you with the skills to succeed in a changing work environment.

Your Executive MBA ROI Analysis

Investing in yourself through an Executive MBA pays off in both ways you can and can’t measure.

You gain business knowledge, broaden your perspectives, and build your networks. An EMBA also positions you to earn the highest salary of any postgraduate program.

But this is not all that goes into calculating your ROI.

The Figures

EMBA candidates are usually above 35 years old with about eight years of work experience. They often hold a management position upon entry into an EMBA program.

On the other hand, most MBA students are in their late-20s with about five years of work experience. They often hold sub-management positions when joining a postgraduate program.

Comparatively, EMBA candidates tend to be more senior, and thus are paid better.

On average, EMBA programs charge about $75,000, 50% more than MBAs. And EMBA graduates end up earning an average of $175,000 compared to $121,000 for MBA graduates.

From this, we can work out the ROI for an average EMBA degree is 133%. This places EMBAs as the most valuable degree in terms of post-education remuneration.

But raw figures are not enough to give a full picture of an EMBA’s ROI.

Education Value

Executive MBAs, unlike traditional MBAs, put equal value on both soft and hard skills. You will learn just as much about people management, as you will about the process under which the same people operate.

This makes for one of the EMBA program’s most valuable ROIs. 

Of course, in terms of investment, this does not qualify as a financial return because technically, knowledge is invaluable.

However, when you choose to pursue an EMBA, you invest more than just money in the course. Therefore, the soft and hard skills you gain from your EMBA are among your most valuable ROIs.

Intangible Benefits

The greatest ROI you can earn from your EMBA is the networks you form through the course.

Micheal Simons argues in his article that, “The No. 1 Predictor of Career Success According to Network Science” is being part of an open network.

Open networks bring together people with different areas of interest and expertise. Closed networks include individuals with similar interests, professional fields, and acquaintances.

“People in open networks have unique challenges and opportunities. Because they’re part of multiple groups, they have unique relationships, experiences, and knowledge that other people in their groups don’t.”
Micheal Simons, Author.

Being part of an Executive MBA program provides exactly that – the opportunity to be part of an open network.

This is arguably the most valuable (and the most unquantifiable) ROI from your EMBA degree.

The Quantic Executive MBA Program

Unlike a traditional MBA, the Quantic EMBA focuses on leadership, strategy, and governance. All while still allowing you to learn everything you would in a regular MBA curriculum.

It does away with time-consuming lectures and focuses on fast-paced, personalized modules. Note, however, that this is not an indication of a lighter curriculum.

Quantic’s EMBA program is based on a proprietary pedagogy that uses active learning. This helps ensure the same learning outcomes as that from top business schools.

The courses are developed in partnership with experts and business school professors. They ensure the program suits the evolving needs of executives from across the globe.

The program also offers you the opportunity to focus on relevant topics in today’s workplaces. These include subjects such as data science, digital marketing, and entrepreneurship.

This, combined with the social learning environment and worldwide classmates, delivers: 

  • Financial benefits,
  • Personal growth,
  • An expanded worldview.

Should You Get an Executive MBA?

An executive MBA can expand your career opportunities substantially. It also equips you with the set of skills and knowledge you will need to move up your existing career. Or to launch a new one.

Although EMBA curriculums vary, most focus on professional skill development and leadership. These give you insight into real-world management problems and how to overcome them. 

An EMBA will also equip you with knowledge from the following fields:

  • Economics and Finance
  • Operational Management
  • Organizational Leadership
  • Entrepreneurship 
  • Business Policy
  • Business Ethics
  • Communication
  • Marketing

In light of this information, it’s evident that an EMBA is a worthwhile investment. Given how impactful an EMBA can be to your career, your choice in school is all the more important. 

Your first instinct might be to consider a traditional EMBA program, and rightly so. 

However, non-traditional programs are steadily gaining traction. They offer more flexibility, less overhead costs, and are more adaptable to your schedule. 

Some even partner with professors from top business schools. This helps make Ivy League business education more accessible on a global scale

Please consider the following quick overview of the Quantic Executive MBA program: 

The Quantic Executive MBA program is specially designed to suit the needs of a working professional. The curriculum provides a world-class education in a flexible, technology-driven learning environment.

The program is also enhanced by the diverse knowledge and experiences the global students bring to the program.

This makes for the perfect setting to network with a diverse group of experts. A feature we’ve discovered is one of the key ROIs from an Executive MBA.

And all this at a fraction of the cost of a traditional EMBA brick-and-mortar program.

So perhaps rather than asking whether you should get an Executive MBA, you should instead ask, “How do you sign up for the Quantic Executive MBA?”

Quantic’s Weekly Roundup

Quantic’s Weekly Roundup is a satisfying mix of the latest breaking news, business, STEM and social science stories. Here are your headlines for this week:

Water, water everywhere: A new invention called QuenchSea is on its way to help people turn seawater into freshwater. Hydro Wind Energy has created a 1.5-pound hand-held desalinator, which is manually operated and can make up to 3 liters of potable water per hour. The company says the desalinator will go into full production after the London and Dubai-based tech startup passed its crowdfunding goal by more than 700 percent.

Don’t stand so close to me: Britain started testing a new smartphone app Thursday to help people find out whether they’ve been close to someone infected with COVID-19. This comes after security concerns torpedoed an earlier effort to use technology to track the disease.

Pour one out: A global coffee crisis may be in our future. Coffee is becoming harder to grow, due to climate change and environmental conditions. A recent study estimates that by 2050, the amount of land that can sustain coffee will have fallen by 50 percent. 

Has your office officially hit Zoom fatigue? Don’t worry! From trivia to scavenger hunts, try one these new virtual team-building activities.

Girl Up, United Nations Foundation Communications & Digital Media Associate and Quantic Alum, Naomi Naik, helps girls broaden their social impact skillset, apply STEM for good, and create policy change. This leadership program, founded by the United Nations Foundation, reaches tens of thousands of girls around the world.

Quantic’s Weekly Roundup

Quantic’s Weekly Roundup is a satisfying mix of the latest breaking news, business, STEM and social science stories. Here are your headlines for this week:

Home sweet home: As people continue to self-quarantine during the coronavirus, there will be both short-term and long-term impacts for consumers and businesses. New behaviors are changing the way we view remote work, educational support, grocery shopping and even how we stream media. Some businesses and industries are seeing a boost from COVID-19 and this could remain even after the pandemic. 

Solutions in orbit: A German manufacturer, OHB-System, will begin construction of a satellite network to monitor greenhouse gas across the globe. This will help nations assess the scale of their own emissions. The satellites will build a global map every five days. The company plans to launch the spacecraft in 2025 and gain carbon dioxide reports by 2028. 

Come to my Window: With most people putting travel plans on hold for the indefinite future due to the coronavirus pandemic, it’s understandable if you’re feeling a bit of wanderlust. If you’re sick of gazing out of your own windows, you’ll want to check out Window Swap, a website that serves up random video window views from all over the world. 

Fountain of Youth: An AI startup, Gero, raised $2.2M in a series A funding to create a drug that slows down the aging process. The startup will use the new funds to further develop its AI platform for analyzing clinical and genetic data to identify treatments for chronic aging-related diseases, mental disorders, and slow down aging with experimental therapies.

The innovative, sustainable, and clean-lined architectural designs of Executive MBA Student, Stephen Kredell, have won countless awards. This year, he received global recognition when McLeod Kredell Architects was selected by Architectural Record as one of the top ten worldwide Design Vanguard firms.

Quantic’s Weekly Roundup

Quantic’s Weekly Roundup is a satisfying mix of the latest breaking news, business, STEM and social science stories. Here are your headlines for this week:

These are the droids we’ve been looking for: Heathrow Airport is now using disinfection robots to keep the airport safe and clean from the coronavirus. The robots, previously used in hospitals, use ultraviolet (UV-C) light to kill viruses on high risk touchpoints like bathrooms and escalators. 

Check out how current Executive MBA Student, Shane Gray, is helping #ChangeTheCourse by co-founding United-UVC, a company that provides businesses with UV-C light sanitation services to effectively destroy the DNA of COVID-19.

Wipes and sprays and gels, oh my: Skincare is a multi-billion dollar industry and since the COVID-19 pandemic took hold, soap and hand sanitizers have been essential in battling the virus’ spread. But could too much of an emphasis on sterility and purity come at a cost to our skin’s microbiome? Read on to get the dirt on soap.

Can’t touch this: From beaches, restaurants, to hotels, touchless technology, like QR codes, has drastically increased over the past months. Reservation apps, concierge bots and health kiosk screenings are just some of the digital additions the hospitality industry is implementing.

They won’t be sitting in a tin can: Virgin Galactic, part of Richard Branson’s Virgin Group, has revealed the final, sleek design for the interior cabin of its VSS Unity spacecraft. The cabin is designed to carry six passengers and has luxury top-of-mind

Tracey Mullen, has been promoted to CEO at Abveris, a leader in contract research antibody discovery. Abveris Co-founder, Garren Hilow, voluntarily stepped down because he knew Tracey’s elite science background would make her the perfect company leader, while continuing to navigate the next generation of antibody therapeutics.

Quantic’s Weekly Roundup

Quantic’s Weekly Roundup is a satisfying mix of the latest breaking news, business, STEM and social science stories. Here are your headlines for this week:

Taking Care of Business: COVID-19 has sparked a retail transformation in the UK, with more than 85,000 businesses launching online stores, according to new research from Growth Intelligence. Among the industries seeing the biggest transformation have been pharmacies, farms, fisheries and industrial food production companies.

Mask and you shall receive: Having trouble unlocking your phone with Face I.D. while wearing a mask? Creative New face coverings created by a San Francisco-based designer will remedy current challenges with facial recognition software. How? The company puts the “face” in face mask by customizing them to include the bottom half of the customer’s head.

What came first: the 3D-printed chicken or the egg? KFC is trying to create the world’s first laboratory-produced chicken nuggets, part of its “restaurant of the future” concept, the company announced. The chicken restaurant chain will work with Russian company, 3D Bioprinting Solutions, to develop bioprinting technology that will “print” chicken meat, using chicken cells and plant material.

Remote work has skyrocketed during the pandemic. Managers and executives around the world have been forced to adapt in order to lead their teams. Business leaders are calling for a significant public investment in programs that can upgrade the skills and training of American workers. 
Want to learn more about what Quantic students are saying about remote work and leadership during COVID-19? Read our survey results from more than 450 managers, executives and professionals.

MBA Student, Matthew Young, MD, Esq., has already achieved national recognition in the fields of patient safety and healthcare quality. He is now making a career transition to be one of the trial lawyers at Ross Feller Casey, LLP, where he will represent patients and families who have been harmed by the healthcare system, a cause extremely close to his heart.