Embarking on the post-graduation journey from intern to full-time is a transformational time, holding the promise of professional development, personal growth, and valuable lessons. This blog introduces you to Aanchal (pronounced aa-chal), an Associate Product Manager (APM) intern in the Academy Product Group of 2022, who later joined as a full-time HubSpotter.
We wanted to see what that journey looked like up close, so we virtually caught up with Aanchal to get a glimpse into the start of her career and “woah moments”. Over to you Aanchal!
Aanchal getting inspired by Dharmesh’s cutout
If you’re in any way associated with HubSpot, you might’ve heard the buzz about HubSpot’s culture and people. Initially, it sounded too good to be true but having spent merely three months at the Cambridge office, I’ve seen what an empowering company culture truly means. Now, I’m a full-time Associate Product Manager, and signing the offer letter was one of the easiest decisions I had to make. And I’ll tell you exactly why.
But first, what is the Associate Product Manager Program at HubSpot?
The APM Internship Program at HubSpot is designed to build the next Product Leaders by teaching interns how to solve problems in a creative and customer-centric way. Through this program, interns get a taste of the Product Management (PM) lifestyle. Interns are given charge of a specific project and are encouraged to be curious, make mistakes, and learn from them.
I worked on the Academy Product Group then and my project required me to get an all-rounded perspective of the product by talking to Engineering, Design, UX, Marketing, and Sales representatives. Throughout my internship, I watched customer calls, organized brainstorming workshops, analyzed company data, created GitHub issues, and finally created a detailed brief on my initial problem statement.
From Impact to Offer
While from my previous experiences, I was used to guidelines and structure, HubSpot gave me a lot of autonomy. I would tell my manager the specific skills I wanted to focus on and together we were able to tailor my internship experience to enhance those skills. This autonomy was new for me and it meant I was ideating high-impact and long-term solutions as an intern. There were a lot of variables at play and I was just starting out.
In a 1:1, my manager advised me to be “comfortable with the discomfort of uncertainty”. We came up with tools that guided my decision making with which I was able to substantiate my solutions. This was a core learning experience because the decisions of a PM are almost never fully clear-cut. I had begun developing a framework for becoming a PM and I was hungry to know more. By the end of the internship, I felt like I had just begun scratching the surface of HubSpot’s ecosystem. My recruiter held a final check-in meeting with me around this time and I was elated to get a return offer!
The Process and Progress
Now, as a full-time employee, the experiences of my internship echo in my head as I strive to grow better. I am on a new team now (Developer Product Group), and while my product has changed, the PM mindset remains similar. I have now learned how to document my process and observe my progress. There’s a lot more responsibility to be proactive and curious now and I have an amazing team supporting me as I navigate this new journey. My advice is to keep asking questions. If you don’t understand the answer from one person, ask another, and keep going.
One of the biggest motivators behind my choice to stay at HubSpot full-time is (surprise, surprise) - the culture. These are a couple of my stories from last year that give a glimpse of what HubSpot’s culture looks like to me. I call these my “WOAH” moments.
⭐ “You can make mistakes and still feel like you’re growing?! WOAH.”
I was tackling a new project, and in my excitement to move quickly and experiment, I made the mistake of overlapping with someone else in the project’s work. My colleague scheduled a 1:1 with me and expressed how the tasks of a PM can get blurry with others on the team and how to communicate through such an overlap.
I walked away from this meeting feeling like a stronger PM. Instead of blaming myself, I felt like I had learned something new. This experience also taught me how to give and receive honest, thoughtful, and respectful feedback. I was content to know that my team would hold me accountable, support me, and grow with me.
⭐ “You can actually be yourself at work?! WOAH”.
Around the same time, I was given the opportunity to host an AMA session with our former CPO Steph Cuthbertson. One of the things she said has stuck with me to this day. At most other companies, she said, employees are supposed to bring their “work selves” to work. This implies the conventional notion of separating your personal, social, and political thoughts and issues from the person you are during working hours. But at HubSpot, she said, you are encouraged to bring your whole self to work and that’s how we’re defining the future of work culture.
This strongly resonated with me because the small things that make us who we are - the global mobility policy, the ability to bring your dog to work, the vulnerable moments shared over Zoom, co-workers asking for the pronunciation of your name - all of it matters on a micro and macro level.
⭐ “Work doesn’t always take priority?! WOAH.”
For me, the biggest example of bringing your whole self to work was on June 24th 2023 - the fateful Friday that Roe v Wade was overturned. I remember seeing the news notification and being frozen, unable to fathom what this meant for women and folx throughout the country. The more I dug deeper into the news, the more paralyzed I felt.
My phone pinged again. This time it was a Slack message from the #women-at-hubspot Slack channel. One person spoke about how they were deeply upset. Another was sharing resources for protests in Boston. Another shared how they were spending the day crying and gave their team the day off. Another was organizing a community check-in. Another even offered their home to stay in if anyone needed it to access healthcare. I had tears in my eyes when I saw these messages. The feeling of fear and isolation still lingers in today’s political landscape - it’s terrifying but having a compassionate community brought me hope on a dark day like this. This wasn’t just fluff. This was real support, solidarity, and togetherness.
This is why I chose HubSpot. We value our work and we value our people. I am proud, excited, and infinitely grateful to be here. I’m happy to help anyone looking to know more about the APM program. Let’s connect on LinkedIn!