The Commons Digest (07/22/2022)

The COmmons Insider Newsletter

The Commons Weekly Digest

ICYMI, this week we announced that Skillful is now The Commons. Learn more about our rebrand and what The Commons represents to us here. And without further ado, welcome to our Weekly Digest. Think of it like a TL;DR of the massive group chat that happens in The Commons community every day.

In this week's issue:

  • Meet Imran! Mentor at The Commons and Strategy & Ops at Uber 🌟
  • Events & Sprints at The Commons
  • Your Weekly Level Up:
  • ✏️ Practice Interview Question: The dreaded "weaknesses" question
  • ✅ Community Reccos: Key BizOps metrics you should know
  • 💭 Thought Starter: How to leverage multiple offers in a negotiation
  • 💡 Brain teaser
  • 🚀 Resources: Interview resources for Product Management roles


Meet Imran, mentor at The Commons and Strategy & Operations Manager at Uber

Imran tells us how he landed his first role in tech, what motivates him as a mentor and his feelings on ketchup (yes, ketchup!).

Hey Imran! What's your current role & location?

📍Strategy & Ops at Uber, in Washington D.C. (but I'm originally from Toronto, Canada!)

How did you identify what industry you wanted to be in?

As someone who has always done Analytics and Strategy related work but has worked in three different industries (Politics, Banking and Tech), I can’t say I focused on a specific industry. I was always looking for interesting roles that satisfied a different itch in my career at that time - as long as the work was in Analytics and Strategy and seemed interesting to me, the specific industry wasn’t a determining factor.

How did you land your role at Uber?

My network! I didn’t even know Uber was hiring until a mentor reached out to me to let me know he had heard about a job opportunity at Uber that I might find interesting. Never underestimate the power of your network and make sure to keep in touch with them regularly!

What was the Uber interview process like?

Uber has changed its interview process since I interviewed but I had 4 “interviews”. Started with a call w/ HR, then was given an at home analytics test before having a 1v1 interview with a hiring manager and ending with a on-site super day.

What originally seemed like a daunting process actually made me more eager and interested in the role! By the time I finished interviewing I had done so much research and was so excited about working for the company that when the offer came in I knew it was a no-brainer to accept.

So, you decided to mentor at The Commons. What are your favourite things about being a mentor?

💭 Watching the individual growth and understanding of my cohort from Day 1 to the final presentation day - it’s amazing what they can accomplish in just a few weeks!

👀 Seeing the team dynamics at work! Watching strangers become friends and develop into their own network is energizing to see.

🤝The access to The Commons community! It’s amazing to see how many smart, talented, driven people there are that are also willing to help and drive each other forward - it’s truly inspiring.

What's your favourite way to keep involved with The Commons, beyond mentoring?

Attending virtual speaker events and participating in the Slack conversations!

Tell us more about your role at Uber! What team are you on?

I work as a Strategy and Special Projects Manager for Uber’s US and Canada Rides business. In this role I report directly to the Head of US City Operations and work on leading and driving Special Projects forward that span multiple teams and cross-functional stakeholders at Uber. It’s a fairly new role - there’s currently only two of us at the company in this role - so it’s also been a unique opportunity to be able to help scope and define what success looks like.

What's a cool project that you've worked on?

  • Project Objective / Overview: Determine the root cause of rising wait times for Uber across the US and Canada business over the past year! What’s going on?
  • Your Role: Led a team of four analysts to find out the cause of rising wait times, propose solutions and put them into action
  • What made it so rewarding? I could see the results of my work in real time when we implemented the solution! My work helped uncover a nearly $600M business opportunity for the company that is being scoped and acted on today!

Okay, let us in on the good stuff - what's a fun perk you can expect when working at Uber?

Pros: You get free Uber credits each month!
Cons: You’re now automatically the friend who calls the Uber every night 😆

Any advice for someone who wants to follow in your footsteps? What advice would you have given your former self at the beginning of your job search?

RELAX! I haven’t had a fairly “traditional” career path and there have been many times over the years where I’ve been worried / stressed that things aren’t working out as perfectly as I drew them up in my head or that I don’t have things as figured out as my friends or colleagues.

As long as you have a solid process that you’re committed to, things will work out and there’s no need to be so hard on yourself. Just because a door has closed doesn’t mean another one - with perhaps even better opportunities - won’t open.

And now, a few fun facts about you:

📰 Where you get your daily news: Morning Brew, NY Times Morning Update, and a little too much Twitter

🎨 What you're doing outside of work: Struggling to improve my golf game

🌟 A CEO or leader you admire: Masai Ujiri

💡Fun Facts:

  1. I’ve never intentionally eaten Ketchup (the color / texture combo throws me off).
  2. I’m a soccer fanatic (Manchester United is my club) and have been lucky enough to sit pitch-side at Old Trafford for a match vs. Liverpool!

➡️ Want to be mentored by someone like Imran? Join the upcoming Core Sprint (it kicks off next week!). Apply here.

🪂 What's happening at The Commons

Upcoming events at The Commons:

  • Making the move from Individual Contributor to Manager | July 25 @ 7PM EST | Community only, secure your spot here

Recent past events - community members, you can access the recordings on the platform:

  • No-Code/Low-Code 101
  • Office Hours: Pivoting from Consulting to Tech
  • Office Hours: Pivoting from Accounting to Tech
  • The Commons Summit: Business Teams in Tech

We're currently reviewing applications for the following Sprints:

  • 🚀 Core - Summer cohort starts the week of July 25th | Fall cohort starts in late September
  • 🖥 Product - starts August 8th (an incredibly stacked roster of mentors from Uber, Tonal, Shopify, Spotify and more)


What the community is talking about...

Discussions in The Commons are prolific. Here’s a top one from this past week: Celebrating our June Core Sprint alum, who just wrapped up final presentations last weekend!

Each cohort, we celebrate alum who were nominated by their teams for absolutely crushing it across three categories: Team Trooper, Growth Mindset and Data Wiz.

Missed it? Cohort alum, hop into Slack (below) to check out the superlatives and other celebratory shoutouts in the thread. 🌟

See the discussion

Your weekly level up ⏫

✏️ Practice Interview Question
Type: Behavioural
Question: Tell me about the toughest piece of feedback that you've received.
What They're Testing For: The interviewer is trying to understand how you deal with feedback and failure. It's likely that the role they're interviewing for operates in a fast-paced, feedback-driven culture and they want to see how effectively you can grow and pivot.

🌟 Tip: Similar to the 'tell me about 3 weaknesses'  question, you'll want to respond with something meaningful and truthful, avoiding fluffy examples. If you've never received tough feedback, they may read into that as you're too junior / not seasoned enough for the role - especially if it is in a fast-paced, feedback-oriented culture. So you're better off tactfully sharing a real example than side-stepping the question. We recommend including: brief context, the feedback & who it was from, how you responded to it (in the moment or thereafter) and how you conducted yourself moving forward with respect to that specific issue (i.e. how have you specifically worked on ring-fencing the issue - this helps demonstrate how growth-oriented you are). Be sure to avoid harping on any past colleagues - this never looks good and the interviewer may assume that you bring a negative attitude to company culture.

✅ Community Reccos
This week we're talking BizOps metrics! ⚡️Here are a few recommendations from the community on metrics you should know when heading into a BizOps interview (especially if it's a marketplace company):

GMV (Gross Merchandise Value): The dollars that are transacted in a marketplace. For example, at Ebay, it would be the $200 you spent on buying a table.
Revenue or Take Rate: This is the revenue realized by the company - think of it like commission. For example, at a food delivery company, it could be take rate (~30%) X GMV ($20) = $6
Orders per user: Total orders in the time period / cohort. For example, at Ritual you usually look at the weekly OPU and how that trends over time.
Match Rate: The rate at which buyers can find sellers, and vice versa. How to define this metric depends on the unique business, but it's important because a marketplace facilitates supply / demand matching. For example, at Lyft, what % of the time are riders being matched with a vehicle.

Bonus: Want to build reps diving into metrics like these? Join the upcoming Core Sprint, where you'll tackle a marketplace business problem and learn to leverage SQL to analyze data. Apply here.

💭 Thought Starter
Often, community members are interviewing for multiple roles at once. Here was a question posed to the community on how to leverage multiple job offers in a negotiation: "Is it appropriate to bring up other job offers as a negotiating technique when dealing with a hiring manager? Is there an elegant solution to this problem?"

And, here's how one of our mentors responded: "Yes, you can compare offers against one another if you haven't accepted an offer. Everyone is logical and understand that this is how the process works. Employers are purchasing your talent as much as they're offering you a job. Don't be arrogant or unkind; communicate with transparency, respect and integrity."

Want more thoughts on how to handle this? Pop into this Slack thread for advice from Shane, Fairuz and Scott R.

🧠 Brain Teaser
What is the next number in the following sequence: 0 0 1 2 2 4 3 6 4 8 5 ?
Check here for the answer!

💡Community Share
The Commons community is filled with tidbits of advice and interesting shares. In case you missed it, here's a popular share from last week 👇

Thanks for leveling up with us!

If you want to chat about The Commons, text us at +1-416-619-9042 or jump on a call HERE.

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Skillful is now The Commons.
We’re more than just skills training. We're the place where high achievers come to fulfill their career potential. We combine education, mentorship and community to empower the next generation of ambitious professionals to achieve their career goals.
The time to build the education institution of the future is now. And we're doing it.

Careers are catalyzed through skills-training, mentorship and a supportive network. At The Commons, we're delivering those critical career elements together through learning experiences that are social, mentorship-based and community-first.

Join to learn and stay for the community.