Inside Qonto

"Showing empathy and curiosity is essential to be a good Product Manager."

September 23, 2020 by Marianne Medioni

1. What is your background before you started at Qonto? (Studies, professional experiences etc)

I grew up in Southeastern France, and arrived in Paris at the age of 18 to study at the University Paris Dauphine. 

I started with a Bachelor's degree in Management, during which I also spent a semester studying abroad in the USA. I then completed my Master's degree in Marketing with a specialization in Business Development. 

At the end of my studies I did an apprenticeship in a fintech called Younited Credit as a Product Manager. I knew right away that this job was meant for me!

2. Why did you join Qonto?

A family friend who used Qonto for his company told me about the project which I found very interesting and ambitious. I quickly decided to apply for the Product Manager role. It was when I met with the team during my recruitment process that I realized that Qonto was undeniably a start-up in which I would grow professionally and personally! 

Two main things pushed me to join Qonto: 

  • The ambition of the project: only two years after its creation, Qonto already  had a successful product that attracted thousands of companies and freelancers, as well as its own core banking system under development. I was really impressed by the rapid growth of the startup, and I was really excited by the upcoming challenges. 
  • The opportunity to learn and grow: I joined Qonto fresh out of college, and I wanted to continue learning about the Product Manager's job in a dynamic environment where I would be given the means to do so. 

In the end, I quickly realized that there was no magic bullet, but a lot of hindsight and collective and individual continuous improvement in order to achieve Qonto's ambitious goals.

3. What aspect from your recruitment process impacted you the most?

All the Qontoers I met during my interviews were able to answer my questions and give me a clear idea of what I should be expecting regarding my role, the company’s culture and the general atmosphere.
The defining moment for me was when I came to the office to do my study case. I was able to fully feel the overall energy and the teams’ dynamism which enabled me to see myself working at Qonto. I was also able to learn more about the startup’s processes, including working methods that I was not yet familiar with, such as the use of visual management as a work and collaboration tool.

4. What moment stood out from your onboarding at Qonto?

We were 11 newcomers to arrive on the same day! Everything went very well, the onboarding was very smooth and perfectly organized. The teams were incredibly welcoming and warm. 

During the first week, the People team and my manager gave me all the information I needed to get my bearings in Qonto and in the Product team in particular.
One thing that really struck me during this onboarding process was the lunch with Steve Anavi and Alexandre Prot (Qonto’s co-founders) and the rest of my “class”. The fact the founders took the time to have lunch with the new team members, to make themselves accessible, answer our questions and give us confidence really made a huge difference. And I can assure you that they continue to make themselves available even though we are now more than 250 Qontoers!

5. Can you define your role of Product Manager at Qonto ?

I work on the onboarding part of the clients. The role of my team is to simplify and facilitate opening a Qonto account for SMEs and freelancers.

Being a Product Manager at Qonto means being an expert of my subjects and remaining involved in the development of our product, from the thought process to the production launch.

I must therefore be unbeatable on all the functionalities and features I work on. I have to understand the blocking points and the needs of our customers but also the ones of the different teams working on the product. And finally, I have to think about the best solutions to meet them. Designers and developers are embedded in this design phase, which allows me to gain the knowledge and expertise of each of the professions very early on. 

Then, my role is to coordinate the development of these features, and make sure the developers have everything they need to move forward. When the release date approaches, my role is also to keep up to date the other teams involved in the project, and to test the development before it is launched.

At the same time, we also need to make sure that our users don't face any issues using our product. And if they do, we need to prioritize and resolve them quickly to ensure that their first steps with Qonto go as smoothly as possible.

6. What qualities does a PM need to have?

In my opinion, empathy and curiosity are two important qualities. We need to put ourselves in our users' shoes to create the best customer experience and to ensure Qonto's promise of "creating the bank all businesses love". You also have to be curious, willing to test everything in order to learn and cultivate your User Experience sensitivity.

The Product Manager must also have a lot of energy and know how to communicate seamlessly with all the different teams, whether it's to collect their needs, challenge them or inform them about the evolution of a product.

7. If you had to sum up your daily life in 2 sentences at Qonto in the Product team?

The job of Product Manager is so vast that no two days are alike. 

My daily work as a Product Manager is above all to interact with different teams to successfully solve all types of problems, from production incidents to complex projects, in order to satisfy our customers. 

It is also punctuated by informal exchanges such as team lunches or coffee breaks, which we still maintain following all sanitary measures, even in the midst of a health crisis. Occasionally, we also have team events or other afterworks after our monthly All Hands.

8. What is your biggest challenge and/or success as a PM ?

My adventure at Qonto is a daily challenge. This is my first job after graduating, and I have the chance to work on increasingly complex and interesting projects, which allows me to continuously learn. 

The one success that made me the most proud, is when we enabled our clients who are company creators (capital deposit) to benefit from our own core banking system. This was the first big project I was responsible for. I had to work very closely with the developers and the operational teams involved, which taught me so much.

9. Among the 4 Qonto core values (Ambition, Mastery, Teamwork, Integrity) which one speaks to you the most and why?

I would answer teamwork because in my opinion, it brings out even more the 3 other values of Qonto! 

To sum up, since joining Qonto, I have learned tremendously by working with my colleagues and other teams. This teamwork has made me grow in my role as Product Manager (Mastery), delivering complex and ambitious (Ambition) projects that I was proud of (Integrity).

10. If you had to give a message to future Qonto candidates?

Qonto is an ambitious project. Our customers challenge us every day to improve our products and services, to offer them ever more innovative features that help them in their daily business finance management. In short, at Qonto we grow for and thanks to our clients. 

Here, every misstep is not seen as a failure but as an opportunity to take a step back, to assess the situation, and to improve so that we satisfy our customers by combining speed and quality. What more could you ask for?!

11. Do you have a quirky or fun story to share with us since you joined Qonto?

I find it hard to choose only one 😅! I will try to get off the beaten track, and not mention the Off Site under the sun of Palermo, great parties and karaoke nights. 

Instead, I will share with you two anecdotes only the true Qonto OGs know about. 😉

The first one is the “Pince à Cornichon”, a bar that quickly became our HQ to meet after work when our office was still located in the Sentier district (Paris). This place became a famous spot for many Qontoers and even gave its name to a meeting room in our new offices!

My second anecdote is the general craze for sports at Qonto. Every Monday at lunchtime, fifteen Qontoers go together to do an indoor cycling class at Dynamo like a happy summer camp 🚴🤩.

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