Jigar Shah had two graduate summer internships in the bag when he got the call from Addepar. What sealed the deal? “I loved the whole interview process—they were already treating me like a product manager. I felt so comfortable and respected by the whole team,” Jigar said.
Addepar felt like such a good fit from the get-go, Jigar quickly changed his plans and bought a ticket to New York. He was drawn to the power of the Addepar platform and the openness of the product team.
We recently sat down with Jigar to hear about his summer internship experience, including what he worked on (and the project he referred to as “a beast”) and why he believes Addepar’s culture gave him an advantage among his peers.
Tell us about your summer—has the Addepar internship experience been what you expected it to be?
The job itself was very close to what a real product manager does. I was pleased to find there were no gaps between what I was told and what the job involved.
Solving problems that matter is a value at Addepar, how did you see this come to life?
Addepar says they expect employees to act like owners, and they do.
For example, most of my friends who were interning at other places were working on one project. I was given two major projects and worked closely with my manager and team to define how much time to give to each. I also got to help build the road map and define what success looked like for my projects. That taught me ownership and accountability which gave me an advantage among my peers.
What is the culture like at Addepar?
You can typically send a Slack to anyone at the company and they have answers for you. I think it’s really embedded in the culture of Addepar that everyone is out there to help you.
In fact, the best thing about Addepar was that there was no resistance created by hierarchy. I recently emailed our CEO Eric Poirier and said, “Hey, I’m Jigar, I’m a product management intern, and I want to share my internship experience with you.” He was kind enough to accept my invitation, and I was really glad that we sat down and had a conversation. That’s not available in most organizations.
Can you give us a brief overview of the projects you worked on?
My projects were divided into two parts. One was a strategic project, and one was a tactical project.
The strategic project was researching whether Addepar should build a new feature to help our clients use data to strengthen their investor relationships. Research suggests that financial advisors will have to work hard to retain assets as they transfer to heirs. We looked at whether Addepar should help wealth managers leverage account log-on and usage data to, for example, identify opportunities to call a certain family member.
I worked with the design team to create mockups of the new feature, then we tested it with our clients and gathered their feedback. My final deliverable was what I thought the feature should look like and why, based on client feedback.
The second project was a beast! I was working on the adoption of a particular feature, and because it is deeply embedded in the product, the work flowed to a lot of different teams, giving me the opportunity to work cross-functionally. My recommendations were related to client onboarding so Addepar’s implementation and customer support teams could adopt new workflows, accelerate the client onboarding process, and increase clients’ usage of in-product content.
What’s up next for you?
I’ve got one more semester to wrap up at Johns Hopkins University, then I plan to join a company as a product manager in 2020. And yes, I’m talking to Addepar about a possible position. They’ve helped me identify the remaining skills I need to be successful and get to where I want to go.
Name: Jigar Shah
Hometown: Fansa, GJ – India
Studying: M.S. in Engineering Management at Johns Hopkins University