The King Internship : Be bold and write your own story
Ricardo Brandao Costa (MBA2021)
With a background in consulting and healthcare, I chose something I had always liked but had never actually considered for my summer internship: mobile gaming. At King – mostly known for the Candy Crush franchise– I am work as a Product Manager of two new games, Knighthood, a Player vs. Environment role playing game, and the soon-to-be-launched Crash Bandicoot mobile game.
In this post, I talk through my internship search, my role at King and provide, what I believe, is useful advice for MBA2022s and beyond.
The Internship Hunt: don’t follow others
My summer internship hunt was everything except a straightforward process. I started 2020 with a single idea in my mind: get an internship in a private equity (“PE”) fund. The only problem was that I did not want to work in PE. Due to social pressure from my MBA colleagues, I found myself pursuing opportunities that were not a priority for me- money and prestige to name a few. Despite numerous weak signals telling me not to follow this career path, I only gave up on PE recruitment when the Brazilian PE Trek was cancelled as a result of Covid-19.
It was already mid-March and I had to pivot my entire summer internship hunt amidst all the turbulence Covid-19 caused in the world. Fortunately, tech was always a plan B for me, so I had applied for a number of opportunities and had good knowledge of the industry.
Due to Covid-19, King had officially cancelled their summer internship programme. But, when I thought I was not going to get a summer internship, I received a phone call from King asking if I still was interested in do my summer internship with them. Luckily for me, two teams had decided to move forward with summer interns anyway! The opportunity at King fit like a glove. It was in a sector which I liked, in company whose values were highly compatible with mine, and in a position I wanted to pursue post-MBA.
To put my internship hunt into context, I applied for more than 50 opportunities and wrote more than 30 cover letters. In the end, I was fortunate enough to get the internship in something that made sense for me and my career. This hunt taught me (once again) that the career decision is much more about self-awareness and deep research than brute force.
The position – Product Manager (“PM”)
As I write this post, I am halfway through my internship. I have another month to conclude my projects but I will share with you my current understanding. Feel free to reach out to me during term time if you would like to understand how my final month was!
The scope of a product manager varies significantly across sectors and companies. However, I believe every PM has common responsibilities: own the product story and ensure everyone in the team is working to solve the high-level business questions.
At King, my time is evenly split between monitoring the game performance and managing the game design. We work in an agile and data rich environment with small development cycles, which means that we must track multiple metrics to continuously learn about player behaviour and needs. I am responsible for the high-level analysis in a data aggregation tool, while the deep dive is usually completed by data scientist in an SQL environment. As a product manager, I must always understand which big questions we must answer, support the rest of the team in solving these questions, and effectively communicate our learnings.
The designing side of my role is more open ended and requires more creativity. For me, it is the most amazing part of the job as the games feel like a sketch on a whiteboard that can be erased, re-written or expanded. Although there are game designer leads, game improvement is a team effort, and PMs must animate the discussion to ensure the best ideas/insights are based on data and discussed with the whole team. It is also in our scope to manage the product roadmap, and bring the relevant analysis and competitors benchmarks to enrich the debate.
- The MBA is a 2-year journey to prepare you for your next career move. Although the social and academic pressures are real, take the time to learn about your career goals (e.g. networking, self-reflection). This will help you make the most impact in your chosen field in the long-term.
- Do not feel tempted to do something you don’t want. Your friends may follow a structured path – but prepare to be bold and write your own story.
Ricardo Brandao Costa (MBA2021)
MBA2021, London Business School