By Carrie Cabezas and Samantha McGurgan
What is a skills gap analysis, and why does it matter?
A key aspect of your MIT Sloan journey is bridging gaps that may exist between your current capabilities and the requirements of your target role. Not only can ChatGPT help you identify a skills gap, it can suggest practical ways to acquire the skills needed to bridge that gap.
Below is an example of a skills gap analysis using ChatGPT for a Sloan MBA student with a background in economics, pursuing a product management role at Google. Please note that if you run the same/similar prompts, you may see differences in your responses due to the nature of the LLM technology.
ChatGPT is a great tool for basic career research and is a good starting point to get generalized advice for pursuing a career goal. To better understand how the ChatGPT advice fits into your personal career journey, meet with your career advisor for customized advice.
STEP 1: ChatGPT Skills Gap Analysis – Economics to Product Management
PROMPT: I am an MBA student with a background in economics pursuing a career pivot to product management. Use my resume and this job description to perform a skills gap analysis [COPY + PASTE RESUME] [COPY + PASTE JOB DESCRIPTION]
+ ChatGPT RESPONSE
Note: ChatGPT’s response includes items from the original JD (in bold) and its analysis regarding how this student’s resume reflects the criterion.
Based on your resume and the provided job description for a Product Management role, let’s perform a skills gap analysis to identify the areas where you align well and where there might be gaps that you need to address:
Skills You Have:
- Analytical Skills: Your experience as a Financial Analyst and Market Research Analyst demonstrates your ability to analyze market trends, economic indicators, financial statements, and complex data.
- Data Analysis: You have experience collecting, analyzing, and presenting data using tools such as Tableau, R, and Stata.
- Financial Modeling: Your role as a Financial Analyst involved collaborating with cross-functional teams to develop financial models and forecasting tools.
- Communication: Your roles required presenting findings to senior management, presenting research at industry conferences, and collaborating with various teams.
- Leadership and Mentoring: As an Economics Club President, you organized events, seminars, and workshops, demonstrating leadership and organizational skills. You also mentored and trained junior analysts.
- Research Skills: Your experience as an Economic Research Assistant involved designing and conducting research projects, analyzing data, and contributing to research reports.
Skills You Might Need to Enhance:
- Technical Understanding: The job description mentions a preferred qualification of a technical field or vast technological understanding. You might need to deepen your technical knowledge, especially related to Internet products and technologies.
- Product Vision and Strategy: The description seeks experience in driving the product vision, go-to-market strategy, and design discussions. You could benefit from showcasing your ability to define and communicate a product’s strategic direction.
- Stakeholder Management and Influence: The ability to influence multiple stakeholders without direct authority is highlighted. This could involve honing your negotiation, collaboration, and persuasive skills.
- Problem Solving: The job requires distinctive problem-solving skills. You can demonstrate this through your experiences in tackling complex challenges and proposing innovative solutions.
- Cross-Functional Collaboration: Collaborating with Engineering, Marketing, Legal, and UX teams on cutting-edge technologies is emphasized. Highlight instances where you’ve worked effectively across functions.
Potential Action Steps:
- Technical Upskilling: Consider taking courses or workshops to enhance your understanding of relevant technologies, internet products, and technical aspects of product management.
- Networking: Engage with professionals in the field through your MBA program, clubs, and events to learn from their experiences and gain insights into the product management domain.
- Case Studies and Projects: Undertake case studies or personal projects related to product management. This can help you showcase your ability to drive product vision, solve problems, and collaborate across functions.
- Communication Enhancement: Emphasize your ability to communicate complex ideas succinctly and convincingly. Practice presenting your thoughts clearly, especially in the context of product strategy.
- Highlight Transferable Skills: While you might not have direct product management experience, emphasize transferable skills such as data-driven decision-making, leadership, and research skills. (See CDO blog post: 3 Ways Career Changers Can Use ChatGPT to Identify and Convey Transferable Skills on a Resume)
- Resume Tailoring: Tailor your resume to highlight experiences and accomplishments that align with the preferred qualifications in the job description.
By addressing these potential gaps, you can position yourself as a strong candidate for a product management role and showcase how your background in economics, along with your MBA education and relevant experiences, can contribute to the field of product management.
STEP 2: Identifying General Ways to Bridge Skills Gap
PROMPT (continuing thread from Step 1): What are the top 5 ways to obtain this technical experience during my MBA?
+ ChatGPT RESPONSE
Obtaining technical experience during your MBA can be crucial for transitioning into a product management role, especially if you’re coming from a non-technical background. Here are the top five ways to gain technical experience during your MBA:
- Take Relevant Courses: Enroll in courses that focus on technology, data analysis, and product development. Look for classes related to software development, data science, user experience (UX) design, and digital marketing. These courses can provide you with practical knowledge and skills needed for understanding technical aspects of product management.
- Participate in Hackathons or Competitions: Hackathons and competitions offer a hands-on way to work on real-world problems and collaborate with technical and non-technical team members. These events can help you understand the product development process, work on innovative solutions, and showcase your problem-solving abilities.
- Join Tech Clubs or Organizations: Many MBA programs have technology-focused clubs or organizations that offer workshops, networking events, and projects related to technology and product management. Joining these clubs can provide you with opportunities to learn from industry experts, collaborate on tech-related projects, and build a deeper understanding of the field.
- Engage in Internships or Projects: Seek out internships or consulting projects that involve technology companies or product-focused roles. Even if you’re not in a technical role, you can gain exposure to the product development lifecycle, work with tech teams, and learn about the challenges and opportunities in the tech industry.
- Personal Projects and Side Projects: Undertake personal or side projects that allow you to develop your own digital products or applications. This could be creating a simple app, building a website, or working on a small-scale software project. These hands-on experiences can demonstrate your technical skills and initiative to potential employers.
Remember that the goal isn’t necessarily to become a technical expert, but rather to develop a solid understanding of technical concepts, processes, and tools relevant to product management. This knowledge will help you communicate effectively with technical teams, make informed product decisions, and contribute meaningfully to product development discussions.
STEP 3: Identifying MIT Sloan-specific Opportunities to Bridge Skills Gap
PROMPT (continuing thread from steps 1 and 2): What opportunities at MIT Sloan are available?
+ ChatGPT RESPONSE
MIT Sloan School of Management offers a wide range of opportunities for MBA students to enhance their skills, explore their interests, and prepare for various career paths, including product management. Here are some of the opportunities available at MIT Sloan:
- Technology and Entrepreneurship Clubs: MIT Sloan has various clubs focused on technology, entrepreneurship, and innovation. These clubs provide networking opportunities, speaker series, workshops, and events that can help you learn about the latest trends in technology and product management.
- Product Management Club: MIT Sloan’s Product Management Club can be a valuable resource for someone looking to pivot into product management. This club likely hosts events, panel discussions, case competitions, and workshops related to product management, allowing you to learn from professionals and practice relevant skills.
- Sloan Technology Club: The Sloan Technology Club focuses on technology leadership and management. This club can provide insights into tech industry trends, skill development workshops, and connections with industry professionals.
- Entrepreneurship and Innovation Courses: MIT Sloan offers a variety of courses that delve into entrepreneurship, innovation, and technology management. These courses can provide you with a strong foundation in understanding the startup ecosystem, product development, and technology commercialization.
- Action Learning Labs: MIT Sloan’s Action Learning Labs offer real-world experiential projects in various industries, including technology. Participating in these labs can give you hands-on experience working on projects related to technology strategy, product development, and innovation.
- Tech Treks and Industry Visits: MIT Sloan often organizes “tech treks” or visits to technology companies in various locations. These trips can provide you with a firsthand look at the technology industry, networking opportunities, and insights into how technology companies operate.
- Innovation and Design Thinking Workshops: MIT Sloan frequently hosts workshops on design thinking, innovation, and product development. Participating in these workshops can help you understand user-centered design principles and how to create products that meet customer needs.
- MIT Media Lab Collaboration: The MIT Media Lab is known for its interdisciplinary research and innovation. There might be opportunities to collaborate on projects, attend seminars, or engage with researchers at the Media Lab.
- Cross-Disciplinary Opportunities: MIT Sloan is part of the broader MIT community, which means you can explore opportunities beyond the business school. Collaborating with students from other MIT departments can expose you to cutting-edge research and technology advancements.
- Networking Events and Conferences: MIT Sloan often hosts events, conferences, and guest speaker sessions featuring industry leaders and experts. These events can be great networking opportunities and provide insights into the latest developments in the tech and product management fields.
Remember to actively engage with the opportunities available at MIT Sloan, as they can play a significant role in helping you gain the knowledge, skills, and connections needed to succeed in your pivot to product management.
Please note that ChatGPT pulls information from 2021 and earlier. Please make sure to check in with the CDO and the MFin Program Office for new resources and learning opportunities at MIT Sloan that this blog post may not include.