Stephanie Ibbotson - Product Manager

Name:Stephanie Ibbotson


Born:Langley, BC

Profession:Product Manager - Clinical Diagnostics

Disease diagnosis is tough work. To try to ease the workload, many Canadian companies are working just as hard to develop clinical diagnostic tools. Product managers stay with these new products all the way from the first light bulb moment right through to the marketing and sales to the hospitals and doctors offices where they're needed.

What is a Product Manager?

A Product Manager is in charge of a specific product line for a company. They are involved in the development, production, marketing, sales and implementation of the product.

What is a typical day like for you?

A typical day for me is to work at the office with my team. At the office I deal primarily with coordinating with the different teams including marketing, sales and manufacturing. I spend a lot of time talking with customers to ensure they are happy and potential customers to develop new business. Other aspects of my job include doing market research, making presentations to customers, answering questions and dealing with issues relating to the product. As well I travel extensively to trade shows, customer sites and suppliers.

Did you always want to be a Product Manager?

No, I started my career in sales. Though I enjoyed it, I wanted more of a challenge. By moving into product management I was able to continue doing what I loved when I was a sales person (interacting with customers) but now I get the added benefit of working with a product from its beginning to end to ensure it meets the customer's needs and developing the marketing to drive sales.

What courses in high school prepared you for this field?

To do my job I need a strong background in Science but as well as knowledge of business. When I was in high school I focused mostly on Science courses and didn't take any business courses. Because of this I have now gone back to school to gain some business knowledge.

Where did you go to university/college

I went to the University of Western Ontario and graduated with an honours degree in Genetics. Currently I am taking my MBA at Wilfred Laurier University.

How did you decide where to go?

I chose Western based on the quality of the Science program and student life on campus.

Was there extra training required for this career after you finished college/university? If so, what?

I didn't require any extra training for this career but once I got my first job I decided to take some sales courses to increase my skill level.

What is the coolest part of your job?

The coolest part of my job is getting to interact with people all over the world. I work frequently with customers and suppliers from Europe, South America and Asia. I also get to travel extensively.

What's the worst part of your job?

The worst part of my job is the amount of time it requires. I work 60+ hours a week and often take work home with me. As well I travel more than 60% of the time so there are many hours spent in airports and planes.

What's the salary range for this particular job and field?

The salary range is anywhere from $60,000 to $120,000 depending on the company size and your experience.

Ooooops! Everyone makes mistakes so what was the dumbest thing you've ever done at work?

My biggest mistake so far was not properly calculating the time zone change and missed a deadline for submitting the paperwork for a large contract. Because it was late my company didn't get the deal, it went to our biggest competitor.

Any advice that you would give others seeking a similar career?

The advice I would give anyone seeking a similar career is to be persistent. Go after what you want, it is worth putting a lot of work and effort into it.

What are some great web links or references for someone interesting in reading up more about this career?

What's your motto?

Work hard, play hard.

What country would you most like to visit?


What's your favorite cartoon character?

Marvin the Martian. He's so misunderstood.

Which is better: Phone or on-line?

Phone. Always phone. On-line is way too impersonal.

What's your zodiac sign?


Would you rather have the face of Albert Einstein but the body of Brad Pitt or be as smart as Einstein but have a tail of a kangaroo?

Smart as Einstein with a kangaroo tail.


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