Product & Design
Mar 30, 2023

Lateral Thinking: How Varied Experience Facilitated an Internal Career Move

María Múgica
Product Manager

When María Múgica heard about our Associate Product Management program, she leapt at the opportunity to pursue a passion for finding solutions through tech. Now Product Manager on the Search team, she explains how mentorship, diverse experience, and communication landed her a dream role. 

After joining GetYourGuide’s Site Merchandising team back in 2020, I realized that my true calling was the role of Product Manager. The company’s supportive culture of internal mobility made this dream possible by offering an Associate Product Management program for employees who wanted to kick-start their Product career as a lateral move. I applied as soon as the program was announced, and in 2021, joined my first Product team. Fast forward to now, and I am currently the Product Manager for the Search team, where we ensure that travelers receive the most relevant information at the right time and in the right format, allowing them to effortlessly find and book their dream travel experiences.

Throughout my journey at GetYourGuide, one thing has remained constant: how engaged and passionate my colleagues are about creating great tech products that deliver incredible travel experiences. Here’s how I’ve been able to support that mission across various roles, and how a holistic approach helps me achieve success.

A Passion for Problem-Solving

After starting my career in management consulting in my native Madrid, in 2018 I relocated to Berlin, and moved towards the tech industry. Two years later, I joined GetYourGuide with the goal of building our Site Merchandising team, which focuses on strategic projects that require close collaboration between the technical and business sides of the company.


I had been thinking about moving to Product for a while, and during these shared projects it became clear that it was the natural next step for me. However, I knew that making this move was difficult given that I hadn’t followed the more “traditional” Computer Science/software development path. 

A Stepping Stone to Product Management

I was able to make this career switch through GetYourGuide’s Associate Product Management program. The program gave me the opportunity to rotate through various Product teams over the course of a year, gaining valuable insights and perspectives on different aspects of the business.

Throughout my transition, I was fortunate to receive constant support and mentorship from experienced Product Managers at GetYourGuide who provided guidance on how to navigate the challenges of my new role. I continue to benefit from their mentorship through regular one-on-one sessions, and this open and supportive approach to Product Management is one of the things I like the most about the company.

Transitioning from a senior role to starting a completely new job was both challenging and humbling. Although I had previously worked closely with Product, the day-to-day responsibilities were very different. They required a more in-depth technical understanding of how our products are developed and much closer collaboration with the Software Engineering, Design, and Analytics teams.

Benefits of a Lateral Career Move

Although I’m now working in the Search team, I’ve also had product management experience in the Recommendations and Relevance team. Working across various departments at GetYourGuide has made me a well-rounded Product Manager, and I can clearly see how my experience complements my current role. For example, Site Merchandising provided me with a good understanding of where tech and business meet – and the needs and challenges of both sides – together with a deep knowledge of how our inventory works. 

On the other hand, Recommendations and Relevance, which is a team focused on machine learning models, has enriched how I understand the Search world. I’m now aware of technological opportunities that can bring Search to the next level, and I’m looking forward to the two teams working together to make it happen.

The exposure to different teams, customer problems, and challenges has given me a holistic perspective to approach product development. I can now transfer best practices across teams and feel empowered to propose technical solutions that I learned from working on different parts of the product.

Additionally, the close relationships I've built with colleagues across the company have allowed me to build a robust network and develop stakeholder empathy, making it easier to work together on new projects.

I find it amazing to see how teammates became stakeholders, and our existing connection makes collaboration so much easier and effective.

Tips for Navigating Career Change

There are three pieces of advice that I’d give to people thinking about changing careers:

  • As a first step, try getting to know the team or area you’re interested in. This can be through informal exchange, like meeting for coffee or lunch, to ask all the questions you have and get a better feeling for what the other role is like. Even better if you can directly work with the teams you’re interested in on shared projects, or receive formal mentorship. You’d be surprised at how many people would be happy to become a mentor when asked!

  • Communicate to your manager that this is what you want, and also to peers in the team that you’d like to join. You don’t need to do this alone, and this way they’ll think about you when opportunities come up and can help you get there.

  • Understand which hard/soft skills you’ll need in the new role, so you can start looking for specific training. It’s easier to get the role if you get a head start. Training can be anything that helps you grow: receiving mentorship, reading books, attending conferences, and so on. When you start your new job, be a sponge for feedback and advice: you’re in the “training phase”, which is very forgiving for learning and making mistakes. So ask all the questions and shadow experienced peers when possible.

The travel experiences industry is thriving, and I feel fortunate to be at the forefront of innovation as a part of GetYourGuide, a market leader in this exciting space. I am inspired by the company's ambitious plans for the future, and I am grateful to have a front-row seat as we shape the industry and bring our vision to life

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