AMA: just accepted a ~£75-80k total comp job at 1.5 years out of uni

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Pie-person
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#1
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#1
Damn.. it’s been a while. 5 years I reckon?

Hey TSR!

Used to be a mod for the IB and C forum a couple years back. And just generally spent a lot of time on these forums during high school and early Uni. Super grateful for the time I spent on here learning about education + careers and advising others on their careers.

I have always wanted to come back here with a sort of “success story” about achieving a relatively decent salary. Principally because a lot of folks on here don’t know what’s achievable and what other careers exist beyond the classic law / banking / consulting. And partially because I specifically remember someone on here saying that certain salaries were unrealistic for recent grads and that people were just lying.

So… I thought I’d bring the baton home and field any questions people may have….

For context.. just got a job in FinTech as a mid-level Product Manager. This is my second job and a ~2.5x increase from my first job out of Uni.

Base is £65k + 15-20% bonus typically.

Fully remote.

Proof below
Last edited by Pie-person; 1 month ago
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Pie-person
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#2
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#2
Thanks! Was pretty chuffed to get it, going to be a big step up and a new space but excited.

Yeah for sure.. I think they come from a good place but it’s also doing people a disservice not to know the full extent of opportunities available if you’re ambitious enough.
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Serene Dreams
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What will a typical day at work look like for you?
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aliaa03
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that’s really impressive !! well done to you
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ZACcs
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#5
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Hey there. Congratulations on your new posting!

I have a few questions:

What did you study at Uni?
What do you think you did that landed you the job?
Is there anyway I could make that salary as soon as you did as someone who has absolutely no interest in STEM?
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Pie-person
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#6
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(Original post by Serene Dreams)
What will a typical day at work look like for you?
There’s no typical day per se. I kind of get free reign to decide what I work on every day and the specific activities depends on what stage in the lifecycle I’m in.

What I can talk about are some of the sorts of things I might be doing throughout the week or month:

- Daily Standups (these are ~15-30 min check-ins with engineers everyday to understand how work is progressing and if they need my input or if I need to let them know of anything)

- Product Org Check-Ins (usually 1 hour session once a week syncing with other product managers on our current major initiatives and any upcoming releases)

- Business Review & Planning (these are typically heavier meetings with product leadership, we’ll typically go over the goals of the quarter or year and if we’re on track to hit them, probably work on some strategic planning and visioning, bring up any operational issues)

- Discovery Sessions (these will be strewn throughout the week.. typically involves working with my x-func squad lead engineer and designer, speaking with customers / analysing usage data, finding new opportunities to improve or create products, defining and validating these opps, ideating about potential solution ideas to those opps, whittling down to the best fit solution and ultimately prioritising what we’ve found)

- Delivery Sessions (drafting a product requirements document, introducing a newly defined & validated opportunity/solution pair to the squad, catching up with engineers/designers to unblock things as they work through design & implementation, making decisions on whether to cut certain functionality or experience flows if it veers away from the goal of the initiative, etc)

- Adoption & Go-to-Market Sessions (usually briefing sales and marketing on new releases, helping to draft any promotional materials, helping product marketing with their messaging & positioning, training sales & customer experience teams, poring over usage data to see if we’ve successfully achieved adoption, take insights from customers back into my team for the next discovery cycle, etc).

Then interspersed between these.. I spend a lot of time thinking, researching, planning, communicating (email / slack), writing docs / keeping up operational software up to date (aka JIRA / productboard etc) and liaising between my core squad, other squads, other business functions, my manager & their managers (execs), external partners and the GTM folks to make sure everyone is aligned.

So it’s a pretty varied role overall.

Hours will vary but typically work between 9:30am and 5:30pm. Occasionally that becomes 9:30am to 7:30pm if it’s a busy day. Some days things are super light if everything is going well (suuuuuper rare) and I can kick back a bit.
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Pie-person
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#7
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#7
(Original post by ZACcs)
Hey there. Congratulations on your new posting!

I have a few questions:

What did you study at Uni?
What do you think you did that landed you the job?
Is there anyway I could make that salary as soon as you did as someone who has absolutely no interest in STEM?
Did Computer Science personally but that’s not a pre-req to work in this role. I’ve worked with Product Managers from all sorts of backgrounds (history, English, engineering, math, etc). The only constants are that a) they have a logical approach to problem solving, b) are great communicators, c) have commercial and product sense chops and d) at least try to understand technology

I’m not sure to be honest! I think I just really had a strong cultural fit with the company. Got interviewed by their chief product officer and his approach to building teams really aligned with me.. he doesn’t care about domain expertise or experience but rather someone who is smart, has the potential to succeed and shows signs of strong product management competencies.

You can always come join us in Product! It’s hard to do straight out of Uni but you can always jump into a tech company in a customer-facing role or something and just get very close with the Product team. Eventually you might be able to trick them into letting you in! Sales at a tech company also pays extremely well if you’re good at that kind of thing. I got lucky in that I started off in Product so leveraged that experience to go for a mid-level role straight away. If you’re committed you could probably do the same - just be on the lookout for internships in product (I did ~2 before getting my first job).

I think most other non-STEM paths to high income that quickly are probably in like law, finance, consulting, etc. If you broaden your horizon to like 5-10 years in plenty more spots open up. I think most experienced people in business-y type roles make that in most tech companies.

(Original post by aliaa03)
that’s really impressive !! well done to you
Thanks!!
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mnot
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#8
(Original post by Pie-person)
Damn.. it’s been a while. 5 years I reckon?

Hey TSR!

Used to be a mod for the IB and C forum a couple years back. And just generally spent a lot of time on these forums during high school and early Uni. Super grateful for the time I spent on here learning about education + careers and advising others on their careers.

I have always wanted to come back here with a sort of “success story” about achieving a relatively decent salary. Principally because a lot of folks on here don’t know what’s achievable and what other careers exist beyond the classic law / banking / consulting. And partially because I specifically remember someone on here saying that certain salaries were unrealistic for recent grads and that people were just lying.

So… I thought I’d bring the baton home and field any questions people may have….

For context.. just got a job in FinTech as a mid-level Product Manager. This is my second job and a ~2.5x increase from my first job out of Uni.

Base is £65k + 15-20% bonus typically.

Fully remote.

Proof below
Welcome back!

Are you pricepieman?
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Pie-person
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#9
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#9
(Original post by mnot)
Welcome back!

Are you pricepieman?
Yes aha
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mnot
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#10
(Original post by Pie-person)
Yes aha
Welcome back, you were a great user back in the day!

Great to see your doing well, one of the users who were trying to get into ib then FAANG iirc.
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Pie-person
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#11
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(Original post by mnot)
Welcome back, you were a great user back in the day!

Great to see your doing well, one of the users who were trying to get into ib then FAANG iirc.
Thank you! Seems like it’s been forever since I was last on here. Good to see familiar usernames!

Yep, was hell bent on finance / consulting for a while. Even did a spring week but ultimately chose to go into tech in a more business-y role as it fit my interests more.
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Serene Dreams
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#12
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(Original post by Pie-person)
Hours will vary but typically work between 9:30am and 5:30pm. Occasionally that becomes 9:30am to 7:30pm if it’s a busy day. Some days things are super light if everything is going well (suuuuuper rare) and I can kick back a bit.
I was expecting the hours to be crazy ngl and thank you for taking the time to share what you do - genuinely interesting stuff!
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HELLOBrine123
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Hello, I have a few questions

(1) Which city did you get your first job and is it the same one for your current job (Looks like a London salary but not sure)

(2) How many jobs did you apply to before you got an offer?

(3) Did you do any internships?
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Pie-person
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#14
(Original post by HELLOBrine123)
Hello, I have a few questions

(1) Which city did you get your first job and is it the same one for your current job (Looks like a London salary but not sure)

(2) How many jobs did you apply to before you got an offer?

(3) Did you do any internships?
1. I’ve been living at home in Scotland but working remotely. Both companies are based in London.

2. It’s been off and on. First started looking properly in November to December last year. Interviewed with ~4 companies (all 4 reached out, never applied) but no luck. One I was super excited about.. would have been a £105k salary (paid in dollars) but got cut before the last round. Another was interesting but ultimately didn’t work out either. Wasn’t really fussed about the other 2 rejections as they weren’t a fit.

Took a break then started properly again in ~April / May this year. Had 5 companies reach out and of those only decided to interview with 2 of them and both rejected me in the end - one I was glad about because it wasn’t a fit and the other I was slightly disappointed about. Alongside that I applied to 4 companies, got interviews at all 4. 2 of them rejected me part way through - was disappointed by one but the other was understandably not a good fit. The remaining 2 I was very deep into the process with ending up with an offer from one of them. Whilst this happened another 2 companies reached out but I ultimately decided to accept the offer so pulled out of all other processes. In total… 15 companies engaged, 10 interview processes and 1 offer.

I’ve basically spent the past 2 months just interviewing so I’m glad it’s over.

I owe a lot of the reach outs to having a profile on www.otta.com and having a fleshed out profile + setting my recruiter settings to visible on LinkedIn.

3. Yes! I did a spring week at an elite boutique investment bank, an internship after my first year at a small investment consulting firm (part of it was finance and part of it tech), a product management internship after my penultimate year at a tier 2/3 big US tech company and a product management internship in the summer after graduating at a blockchain scaleup. Internships are crucial!! Make sure you apply to them if you’re at Uni.

Didn’t get return offers from any internships as they didn’t offer them. Also had no luck getting grad job offers in the milk round despite interviewing at Google, Revolut, Zopa and some other places. Thankfully managed to get into this startup matchmaking program designed to train you + set you up with interviews at London startups (it’s called: https://www.jumpstart-uk.com/, I encourage people to apply!) which meant I still could clinch a business-y grad job in tech hopefully. But during that program my previous employer gave me an offer for a graduate job in their product team so I ultimately didn’t pursue the interviews any further. My first job was great but the pay was pretty low relative to what other tech companies were paying and I valued myself enough to look for other opportunities.
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Blue_Cow
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#15
Good to see you back and nice to see a fellow CS grad that *isn't* in engineering :laugh:
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Pie-person
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#16
(Original post by Blue_Cow)
Good to see you back and nice to see a fellow CS grad that *isn't* in engineering :laugh:
Wow, didn’t expect to see you still around here. Nice to see folks holding down the fort!

And yep, coding is not my jam. I’m def more of a business / generalist person.

What are you up to?
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Blue_Cow
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#17
(Original post by Pie-person)
Wow, didn’t expect to see you still around here. Nice to see folks holding down the fort!

And yep, coding is not my jam. I’m def more of a business / generalist person.

What are you up to?
Business Intelligence/IT at a typical American tech firm in August Few years time I'll either be knee-deep in ITIL and PMP or I will end up doing a lateral move to Product.. who knows.
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Pie-person
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(Original post by Blue_Cow)
Business Intelligence/IT at a typical American tech firm in August Few years time I'll either be knee-deep in ITIL and PMP or I will end up doing a lateral move to Product.. who knows.
Congrats! Must be good to have a grad job lined up

I’m biased ofc but Product is way more interesting than program / project stuff.
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TYUIOPA
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(Original post by Pie-person)
Congrats! Must be good to have a grad job lined up

I’m biased ofc but Product is way more interesting than program / project stuff.
what uni did you go to, not sure if you saw my pm, was it hight ranking e.g. imperial or low ranking e.g. westminister
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Pie-person
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(Original post by TYUIOPA)
what uni did you go to, not sure if you saw my pm, was it hight ranking e.g. imperial or low ranking e.g. westminister
Not sure where it ranks nowadays.. but usually it was top 15 or so back in the day. Went to Exeter.

I would always recommend going to the best school you can get into. The opportunities are better, the people you meet will be of a higher calibre and the work itself will be challenging but in a good way.
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