by Parth Shah
I’m Parth and I’m a 2nd year FT MBA candidate at UCLA Anderson. This summer I had the incredible opportunity of interning with NFL Sunday Ticket (NFLST) at DirecTV/AT&T as a Product Manager (PM). Given the recent events with NFL athletes protesting the national anthem, NFL viewership has declined YoY. So, I was tasked to evaluate NFLST holistically and recommend how we can increase user engagement in short and long term – quite a daunting task considering I’m transitioning from a small early stage startup to a company with 250K+ employees and into a new role that can impact 300K+ subscribers. Nevertheless, I was ready for my summer challenge!
Much like any new PM, I spent the first several weeks getting to know my team, the product, and the market. I met with marketing, design, engineering, QA and even other product owners to understand how and why certain features were built. I evaluated other sports and video apps to see what new features we could add and then ran customer focus groups to see how NFL viewers to react these new features. In fact, I even met with one of the pioneers behind AT&T and Magic Leap partnership to see how AR/VR could augment the sports experience. However, my favorite experience was participating in a live focus group (with the 2 sided mirror) with design team to see how real NFL viewers interact with fantasy and watching games. I was surprised to how learn how important the audio experience (i.e. sound played when clicking a button, etc.) is to the customer experience.
Once I decided on what features I could implement in the short and long term, I spent the next several weeks building wireframes using Sketch and Proto.io (never used them before!), writing feature stories, and negotiating with engineering and QA team to understand how to prioritize the development of the feature in Agile sprints. In 11 weeks, I not only recommended features we could incorporate in the long term but implemented several features to increase user engagement and improve our user’s journey within NFLST.
Today when I’m watching my Bengals play on Sunday with my friends, I take every chance to point out the my features in the NFLST app! I wouldn’t been able to gloat without the support of Anderson and AnderTech. The PM class at Anderson gave me product development knowledge and strategy class gave me the frameworks to evaluate competition’s next move while AnderTech introduced me to the alumni who hired me for this internship. I’m grateful for the opportunities my MBA experience has provided me.