How learning to understand problems in PM101 landed me my dream internship and enriched my daily life

August 14, 2023
Startmate PM101 Product Management

As humans, it’s part of our survival instinct to try and quickly solve problems the moment they arise. This often results in missing the first and most critical step of taking time to understand the problem. There is no formal training on how to understand and define problems in school, uni, or at work.

All of this contributes to why I chose to do the Product Management 101 Fellowship and why ‘Finding Meaningful Problems’ (PM101 Session 2) moulded my character and lead to subtle but enriching changes in my daily life.

Why I chose to do the PM101 Fellowship from Startmate

Building something meaningful from scratch that individuals use daily is challenging, exciting, and empowering. That defines my motivation to enrol in a Product Management 101 Fellowship.

My favourite session

My favourite framework had to be the ‘Double Diamond’. It’s sequential, iterative, and holistic. As a process-driven person, I could easily digest this session and implement them in my daily lifestyle.



  • Creating designs is complicated and requires experience with Photoshop and other advanced solutions.


  • We discover more about the problem by going broad. We look at various aspects like support ticket, reviews and churn reasons.


  • Finally, we define our focus zone by prioritising the UI which is intimidating and needs fixing. This is my hypothesis on how Canva was formed.

This framework conveys the importance of patience during the discovery phase and also works well outside of the product management space.

Landing a dream internship:

With the help of Startmate’s Talent Engine, I got an internship at a Voice AI start-up in Sydney. I gained the confidence and necessary knowledge from the course to identify the problem space that resonates with me:

Futuristic + B2B SaaS + Technical Driven with learning scope.

I came across CuriousThings and instantly felt a connection. I wrote a cold email to the recruiter (who was also a Startmate Fellow!). It was a mutual fit and my best corporate experience until now. I believe my passion for this problem-space and being a part of a category-creator is what set me apart and it was the PM fellowship that allowed me to reflect on what excites me and how to sell my passion.

The beauty of Product Management is it requires similar skills to working in a start-up:

  1. You are actively problem-solving and need to deal with constant ambiguity beginner’ mindset
  2. You are sandwiched between customer and business needs – stakeholder management
  3. It takes a while before you see success – resilience

Course Elements


The session delivery was highly interactive. Harry took a break after every few slides to check understanding and group activities pushed me to meet wonderful people every week.

In addition, the fellowship involved a ‘squad group’ (a team of 3-5 based on location). The purpose is to form closer connections through inclusion through regular in-person meetings. As an international student, I’m bound to the people I meet in my neighbourhood and university. Through this fellowship, I got the chance to push myself and meet new people which was enriching. Even though the course delivery was online, I felt it was a good blend because of the regular meets.

Tech Stack

The combination of Notion, Slack, and Talent Engine fits well with the program. Slack channels encouraged conversations and removed barriers from talking to anyone in the program. Notion meant I could use one platform as our single source of truth for all content management. Talent Engine allowed conversing with start-ups which led to me landing an internship.

Highly Practical

Toward the end of the course, the ‘Hackathon’ was conducted. This is an opportunity to implement our learnings from the fellowship into a real-life start-up. I was working on ‘Tutero’, an EdTech start-up. In a small group, we experimented with the platform and ideated solutions based on the learnings from the course.

Working directly with the founders of ‘Tutero’ is an experience that fuelled my passion for working in start-ups.

To me, when a solution is half-baked, being a part of a tight-knit team and offering a new solution to the market is fulfilling.

Hackathons are an excellent chance for fellows to understand what working in a start-up is like because you directly collaborate with the founding team to iterate and improve a solution.

Moreover, the activities and homework involved executing our learnings. Here are some of the tasks:

  1. Creating a User Customer Journey Map for Uber and identifying potential improvements in the process
  2. Developing a RICE framework to understand prioritisation in Product Management
  3. Break down 3 PM metrics into their key drivers

To conclude, the course gives you a holistic flavour into the life of a PM through theory, practical exercise, and networking. The environment is inclusive, and there’s a sense of learning and growing together. It’s been over 9 months since I finished my fellowship, but I still feel part of the community.

PSA: The Product Management 101 Fellowship is now accepting applications.

Apply here.

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Startmate x Harry Hamilton Product Management 101 is a 7-week program that provides aspiring and early-stage product managers with the knowledge, skills and network to supercharge their product careers.

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