At Adobe, we strive to bring in new, exciting perspectives by scouring universities to find the best and the brightest talent to take on a variety of roles including positions in product marketing and management, software development, quality assurance, corporate strategy, procurement, talent acquisition, public relations, human resources, legal and much much more!
On our hunt for talent, we found Stephen N. working on his MBA in marketing at the Kellogg School of Business. Stephen has been with Adobe just under a year and is working in Seattle as a Product Manager in our Digital Media Business Unit. We interviewed Stephen to find out more about his background and experience at Adobe. Here is what he had to say:
Product Manager, Digital Media
Seattle, WA, USA
Time at Adobe: < 1 year
Q: Where did you work prior to Adobe?
A: Pre MBA I was in Seattle in Boeing’s IT leadership development program and then in its Flight Test organization. I led software development teams creating software for airplanes that would generate reports based on flights; my work was mission critical and fun, but not near as fun as what I do now at Adobe.
Q: What initially got you interested in Adobe?
A: I visited Adobe at a Tech Trek when I was in MBA school. As I listened to a panel of current employees talk about their time at Adobe, I was impressed with them and with the variety of experiences they were gaining in their roles.
Q: How did you get your job at Adobe?
A: I saw an internship working with the Photoshop team, and it quickly jumped to the top of my list. I got the internship and used my summer to determine whether or not Adobe was the best fit. I, by far, had the best internship experience compared with those of my classmates and decided Adobe was a perfect match for me.
Q: What did you do as an intern?
A: I did something similar to a product management role. I focused on photoshop.com and on something called Headlights – a product improvement program. Our team collected data on how people use Photoshop and then used that data to create models to make decisions and made recommendations based on findings.
Q: What do you do now?
A: I am a Product Manager for Photoshop and Photoshop Touch. I also research new opportunities and support product launch activities. My role is sort of at the intersection of customer research, marketing and product development, engineering, and strategy. I focus on ensuring Adobe builds the right product for the right market and addresses business opportunities.
Q: What was your first week on the job like?
A: My manager gave me a list of 17 projects, talked with me about them, answered questions and then left for his sabbatical giving me the autonomy to take the lead on the projects.
Q: What surprised you the most about Adobe?
A: Just how lean the company is. I thought there would be hundreds of engineers and product managers with a lot more hierarchy. I was surprised at how ordinary it was to run into a VP in the hallway and then have that VP invite you to sit down and chat; the level of exposure is great.
Q: What’s the coolest project you have worked on here?
A: Right now I am knee deep in two projects that are really fun. One is the launch of Photoshop Touch for the iPad. I went to Barcelona to launch it and had press interviews and was on a radio show. The first week after the launch, our rosy projections were blown out of the water. It was my first time executing such a huge project; it had big social media exposure.
I’m also involved with a Photoshop press tour talking about strategy for CS6. It’s fun to show off awesome products; I can’t take credit for what they are, but I have fun going out and showing them off.
Q: What is your favorite part about working at Adobe?
A: The company trusts its employees to do a great job and gives its employees a lot of flexibility to do their job and to manage their work and life well.
Q: Any classes you are glad you took in school that help you do your job?
A: Tech Marketing because of its relevance to my role and industry and Leading and Managing Teams because of how important team dynamics are; I’ve gone back and referred to those notes many times.
Q: What do you do for fun in Seattle?
A: There are great things to do outdoors. I am ten minutes from the lake for wake boarding and 45 minutes from skiing. I want to join a rowing club; there is one next door to the Adobe office. I have two friends who kayak to work in the mornings in the summer – that’s the coolest commute ever!
Q: Do you have any hobbies?
A: I love photography and did wedding photography before graduate school on the side.
Q: What advice do you have for student looking for their future career?
A: Pursue a variety of different experiences and opportunities. Depth is important but at the onset, breadth is helpful; this is sometimes the less common way of doing things, but sometimes it’s the most valuable.
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