Wise’s mission has caught the attention of users across the world, bringing borderless money to their customers and making people with international lives easier.
So it’s no wonder that product managers everywhere are itching to work there! Even those who have never worked in the Fintech space before.
If that’s you, and you’re wondering how to get started, this is the guide for you. We’ll go over what it’s like to be a PM at Wise, what they’re looking for, and how to land an ace an interview.
What to Know About Fintech Product Management
If you’re looking to get a product job at Wise, chances are you’ve already had some experience in Fintech and you’re looking to make the move to one of the hottest companies in the industry!
But in case you haven’t, there’s a few things that might be good to keep in mind about Fintech product management.
- Mistakes and high stakes
When you’re working in Fintech, especially in a B2C Fintech company like Wise, you’re asking for an incredible amount of trust from your users. Trust that’s hard to win, and even harder to win back once lost.
- Innovation, innovation, innovation
The Fintech industry is fast moving and ever evolving, with AI and blockchain being implemented in new ways every day. Keeping up with the trends will be integral to being a fantastic Fintech PM.
- Precision and detail are everything
Whether you’re in B2B or B2C, these high stakes come with an added pressure to be detail oriented in absolutely everything you do. Security must be a top priority.
At Wise in particular, solving problems for customers and building solutions that previously didn’t exist is the number one priority. Product people in this space have to be user-focused and ready to take leaps into the unknown.
A Brief History of (Transfer)Wise
TransferWise, as it was previously known, began in 2011 when co-founders Taavet and Kristo realised that the traditional banking system was broken. Customers were constantly being ripped off, and presented with hidden fees and confusing financial lingo that made it impossible to know if you were making good decisions, or choosing a bank you could trust to handle your international transfers.
So they came up with an alternative, which aimed at helping people move their money across borders without paying extortionate fees.
In 2014, Richard Branson invested in TransferWise and empowered the company to embark on a journey of serious growth. In 2020, they achieved a $5 billion valuation and grew to a team of over 2,200 across 4 different continents. In 2021, they rebranded as Wise, to reflect that they’re about so much more than transfers. You can even have your very own Wise debit Mastercard!
Average salaries: 55,000-70,000 GBP, 105,000-120,000 USD, 80,000-110,000 SGD, 3000-4000 EUR (in Estonia monthly), 750,000-1,000,000 HUF (monthly)
Benefits: Benefits may vary according to role/region, but may include subsidised activities, a paid sabbatical after four years, flexible working hours, pet-friendly offices (with saunas!), and stock options.
Locations: Wise has offices in several locations, with product teams in including London, New York, Singapore, Budapest, and Tallinn. Wise also offers ‘mobile Wiser’ support which allows employees to spend time in other offices.
Product management isn’t a discipline that’s simply pushed to the side and misunderstood with project management. At Wise, it’s an integral and leading force in the company. Product teams are at the heart of it all, which means that as a product manager you’re setting yourself up for an exciting and fast paced career!
For a more in-depth look at how product is organized at Wise, check out their full product management career map.
Company Culture, Mission, and Values
Wise’s main mission is ‘money without borders.’ Wise works to make international transfers fair and simple, allowing people to send money and get paid in any currency, anywhere.
Operations at Wise are driven by self-organizing, autonomous teams. Somewhat similar to The Spotify Model, these autonomous teams are organized into Tribes. Day to day leadership is described by Wise as being ‘embedded’ into the teams, with Senior Product Directors providing guidance, direction, and strategy, but without telling people what to do. Those with familiarity with agile product development practices will do well here! Speed and agility are the name of the game at Wise.
At a company, Wise are mission-driven, and leadership encourages an atmosphere of collaboration and feedback. The customer’s voice is always the loudest in the room.
You can check out their ‘How We Work’ guidance to understand how they operate.
Background and Skills Required for a Wise PM
Different teams will ask for different things of course, but generally to get a product manager role at Wise, you need to have worked in product management for 3+ years. So while Wise won’t be your very first PM role, it’s a great place to learn and grow in the early-ish stages of your career.
To land a Senior PM role, you’ll need to have at least 5+ years of product management experience, as well as some experience of people management.
It’s important to note that Wise doesn’t just care about how many years of experience you’ve had, but what the quality of work during those years was. For a PM position you’ll be expected to have launched one large or two medium projects with engineers as part of a product team. For Senior PMs you’ll need to have launched 3 or 4 projects with significant impact.
Wise never asks for formal education in tech (like a CS degree), but you do need to have enough technical know-how to understand how and why things were built the way they were.
If you’re a graduate or self-starter, you can also look into internships and grad schemes at Wise, which are designed to give you your first step into the industry. (Available only in Budapest, Cherkasy, London, New York, Singapore and Tallinn.)
You might also be interested in: Product Managers and Technical Skills…What’s The Deal?
Landing and Acing a Wise Product Manager Interview
Step 1: Landing the Interview
One thing Wise cares about is impact over experience, so when presenting yourself to a recruiter or via their jobs portal, don’t just tell them what you’ve done. Tell them the results of that. It might be as simple as tailoring your resume to include some data rather than blanket statements ‘I did this’ and ‘I did that.’
Step 2: Acing the interview process
Wise follows a very similar interview process to most large tech companies. You’ll be invited to several rounds of interviews with different members of your potential future team. As each team is different and operates in a slightly different way to the others, there’s no way to guarantee that every candidate will experience the same interview process.
You’ll be told well in advance of each of your interviews who you’ll be meeting and what the purpose of that round is. The best way to prepare is to ask yourself two questions about the people you’re meeting with:
- What do they want to learn about me?
- What do I want to learn from them?
For example, if you’re meeting with the hiring manager, they want to understand whether or not you’re capable of doing the job and willing to learn what you’ll need to do it successfully. The core skills they’re looking for are the skills any good product manager has, such as good decision making. They’ll also be looking for culture fit.
But when you’re meeting with the other product managers, who you’ll be working side by side with, they’ll be more interested in what it’s like to work with you. They need to know that you both be good at the job, and that you’ll be a good team player.
So try to look at your interview from the perspective of those who will be interviewing you, and give them the information they’re most interested in. That’s not to say ‘tell them what you think they want to hear’, as honesty should still be the best policy. But it’s a good strategy to think about what you interviewer needs to know about you.
Check out this great tips slider created by the Wise team to help you ace the interview:
Step 3: Don’t stress!
One of the things that almost everyone agrees on, is that the people at Wise are a friendly bunch with empathy built into everything they do. Interviewees report that the interview process, though long, is transparent and the team are keen to make it as painless an experience as possible.
Typical Interview Questions at Wise
Here are some of the reported interview questions asked in real Wise product manager interviews.
(For a complete list of product manager interview questions, check here. Don’t forget to also think of some questions for you to ask.)
- Tell us about a time you moved a metric. What problem were you solving, how did you solve it, and what was the impact you had?
- Tell us about a time you influenced a decision through data and customer feedback.
- Walk us through an example of a product you shipped end to end.
- How have you used data in your decision making?
- How do you manage a roadmap?
- Why do you want to work at Wise?
- How do you encourage engineers?
- Tell me about a project of yours that significantly benefited your company.
- Describe a project where you had to learn from failure.
Learn from Wise Product Managers
While you’re preparing for your Wise interview, check out some of these great talks by Wise product leaders:
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