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Product management is a role that was unfamiliar to me prior to my internship this past summer, but after 3 short months as a PM intern, I knew that product management was a really great mix of business and technology and perfect for me – like ISE! Little did I know that this newfound interest would lead to so much more.

After the internship, I started applying to product management jobs. With a lot of entry level jobs, experience is key. That’s where Code the Change comes in. Code the Change (CTC) is an incredible organization that I have been a fan of since freshman year. CTC pulls together student PMs, developers and designers to help build software products for nonprofits, usually in the LA area. What’s really great about this work is that the students are using their education and what they’ve learned to give back to the community. 

As a senior, I finally felt like I had the experience to apply for a PM position. And I got in! Joining CTC is really one of the best decisions I’ve made because I get to lead a team of developers and designers, all USC students, to build a product for a nonprofit I really care about.

Outside of leading a team and building a product, I also get a really unique opportunity to work on an impactful and important project that allows me to build up my experience in this type of position as well.

Finding an organization that aligns with my values and finding people that are passionate about the same things, like social tech for good, has really helped me to be excited about life after graduation. In addition, it just feels really great to do work that I think I’m well suited towards.  

More importantly than professional skills I’m taking away from this experience is the community. The best advice you’ll get coming into college is to join some clubs and organizations – you’ll meet friends with overlapping interests and gain a sense of community. I’ve never felt quite at home like I do at CTC meetings or my team’s meetings. We all get along and work towards a common goal together, but the best part is seeing my team in action. I work with some of the most talented students on this campus and they make me a better person, leader and PM. 

As graduation comes closer and closer, I keep trying really hard to remember the tiniest details about everything here at USC but there’s so much more to remember. When I look back on my college days, the late nights I spent with my team are the ones I’ll be happy to remember and so grateful to have experienced.

This is dedicated to my beautiful family at Code the Change, especially Matthew, Bridget, Sarah, Raymond, Shirley, Eric, Yash, Ipek, Anna, Ashley and Janelle. I really don’t know what I’d do without them.

You should definitely check out our work at!

Mahima Varanasi