What is Toronto APM?
Associate Product Management training programs were popularized in Silicon Valley in the early 2000s. Outside of these huge firms resources are often too tight to effectively structure APM programs to fully empower and train entrants to the product role.
In 2017 a group of product-focused organizations in Toronto got together to fix this problem. We are now in our third cohort of APM Toronto : a collective of product leaders cross-training APMs in which 20 companies have added 40 new entry level PMs to the Toronto ecosystem.
The 6-month APM program runs to augment vocational placements with in depth training sessions and create an incredible network to prepare APM’s to be able to handle any challenge the product world can throw at them.
Meet the Team
How does the APM program work?
The Associate Product Manager Program is about taking a small group of self-driven candidates through a vocational training model - providing mentorship, training and valuable connections to help them become well rounded Product Managers and future leaders.The program is a 6 month paid vocational role where APMs will be working full time at the company that selected them for the program. The program itself consists of weekly intensive training sessions with other associate product managers where they are exposed to best practices and gain in depth training across the industry led by top product leaders in Toronto.
The program sessions are built around three components: communication, case study and debate with experienced Product leaders. The program is not a Product Management “school” - there is no set curriculum or formal process that is being taught. Instead it aims to provide multiple viewpoints on core aspects and methodologies of Product Management, and teach aspiring product managers to think like seasoned product managers, assessing things on their own merits and providing a strong foundation for self directed learning. Debate around product management practices varies across industries, exposure to how some of the top leaders in the industry, as well as cross learning from some of the best and brightest in the will best prepare APMs for a successful role as a product leader. We believe the value of the program goes far beyond it’s 6 month duration, but builds on the community to provide long term benefits to the PM ecosystem.
How do I apply for the program?
To gain entry into the program you must apply for the APM position through the company partners that are part of the Toronto APM program. The APM program itself does not hire for candidates for the program, partner companies independently hire and select their candidate to be part of the program.
Since every company’s hiring policies vary and timing for hires are different across the year, APM Toronto will be posting all job openings for the partner companies that are looking to have an APM role filled year round. Cohorts are run twice a year with a start in the Fall and spring. Any questions about the selection process should be directed to the partner company hiring for the position you are applying for.
How many APMs are selected per cohort?
A maximum of 12-15 APMs are selected per cohort.
What happens after the APM program and how do you get placed permanently?
After the APM program you will be part of an incredible network of PMs that will continue on well after your cohort is complete. Our goal is to ensure that you are provided with all the right tools and resources to develop into highly sought after candidate for a Product Manager position no matter where you go. Individual organizations will be communicating their own post-program expectations of full-time roles.
Is this a “Rotational” program
This is not a rotational program like the APM model employed in Silicon Valley. The Valley APM model relies on rotation - typically between independent product divisions in an organization. While the possibilities are fewer for rotation in smaller organizations, participating companies may apply rotation through varied assignments - for example improving conversion funnels, delivering innovative product marketing, validating new product lines or features. The benefit to this APM program vs. traditional in house rotational programs is that you will be exposed to a variety of challenges and best practices across organizations and industries, better preparing you for your product role.
What kind of candidates are you looking for?
Although each parent company may be looking for a different type of candidate, across the board we are looking for exceptional, highly ambitious and motivated candidates. Here are some of the types of requirements we look for:
- Work experience where you have demonstrated the ability to deliver results and learn on the job
- Software lifecycle understanding - you understand how software is delivered and have worked with a technical team in some capacity before
- Strong interpersonal and stakeholder management skills
- Instinct and insight into what makes for a good digital product
- Flawless written and verbal communication skills
- A knack for solving problems, especially in areas that may be foreign to you
- A university degree in something interesting
- Experience in project management, preferably in an Agile environment, is desired
- A background in design, development or business would be beneficial
When is the next cohort scheduled?
Cohort 3 is underway in Spring of 2019. The next cohort is expected to start winter 2019/2020. APM Toronto does not take direct registration into the program. APM Toronto will be posting job positions of partnered companies that are seeking candidates for the program. Since hiring timelines vary for each company we will be posting these positions year round through newsletter updates and through our Twitter page.
How can my company get involved?
Companies who would like to take part of the program or are looking to start a program in their city should reach out to the program leads listed above, or email email@example.com.
The APM Program is a mission driven organization with the goal of building up the product management industry in Canada. We strive to make this program open to the Product Management community. If your company has a thriving product management practice/department and would like to take part in future cohorts we encourage your product leads to reach out for more information on how your company can get involved for future cohorts.