Vice President, Product


Newark, DE

Industry: Financial Services


15+ years

Posted 278 days ago

  by    Devin Sinnott

This job is no longer available.

Position Summary:

The Vice President of Product in the Private Loan Product team plays a critical role in driving the profitable growth of the Private StudentLoanportfolio by defining and executing against the product strategy for the private studentloanportfolio. The role's responsibilities include: developing a cohesive strategy and road map for product positioning and messaging; identifying, recommending and implementing product enhancements for existing private studentloan products; and developing new products to drive greater demand for private loans. The person in this position is required to provide team leadership not only of their own direct reports and within the Product Management team, but more broadly across the organization to conduct analyses, build business cases, prioritize initiatives, and lead complex cross-functional projects. He/she must possess creativity, deep institutional knowledge, sharp analytic skills, polished leadership skills and be able to work effectively in a dynamic and challenging work environment.

Given the aggressive growth goals set for the Private LoanPortfolio, mulitple innovative products and new features and benefits are required to drive incremental demand for private loans. This results in the need for multiple projects to be conducted at the same time. The Vice President of Product will, therefore, be supported by a direct team whom the leader will manage to coordinate research efforts, size oppportunities, conduct analyses, create business cases, lay out implementation plans, and draft presentations.

In addition to their own internal team responsibilities, the Vice President is the leader of cross-functional work groups that focus on diverse projects ranging from: designing and conducting prospect and customer research; identifying product enhancements and new product and feature/benefit ideas; drafting white papers and business cases; defining technology and operational business requirements; and drafting and approving marketing messages for school and direct-to-consumer channel communications. As such, a strong analytic, financial and broad operational background, as well as a keen marketing perspective are essential.

The person in this role interacts on a daily basis with counterparts at all levels in Demand Analytics, Sales, Credit, Originations, Marketing, Risk, Finance, Compliance, Legal, Operations, and Marketing. The Vice President is also responsible for presenting strategic business cases to senior management, and to various internal committees including CPSAC and Credit Committee. In this capacity, strong communication skills and a mature business accumen are a must to gain and maintain the respect of peers and superiors.

The Vice President of Product must be a strategic thinker with a strong background in consumer marketing. He/she will have wide latitude in approving all marketing communications across all channels relative to product positioning and messaging and must bring a marketing mindset to a broad range of operational projects. He/she will drive on-going consumer research initiatives to understand consumer preferences and develop product strategies to meet these needs and provide innovation, differentiation and a competitive advantage for the Sallie Mae loan products.

Key Responsibilities:

Develop innovative and cohesive strategies for new products and features/benefits to meet customer needs and drive demand for the private student lending products - 40%

  • Design and commission consumer research projects
  • Identify opportunities for loan growth 
  • Develop business cases, including financials, to support recommendations
  • Draft implementation plans to execute strategies

Gain institutional buy-in and support for product strategies - 30%

  • Craft presentations that lay out product strategies
  • Socialize recommendations with all key stakeholders
  • Present to senior executives and at relevant Sallie Mae committees, e.g, PSL, CPSAG, Credit

Create marketing messages to roll-out new strategies - 20%

  • Craft product/feature positioning statements 
  • Work with school and DTC channelmarketing teams to create marketing materials
  • Review, edit and approve all marketing materials in MRM

Personnel management - 5%

  • Manage efforts of the people on the team
  • Ensure all goals and reviews are written on time 
  • Review team's performance periodically and provide guidance for improving performance
  • Attract, develop and retain talent on the team

Budget management - 5%

  • Create annual budget bottoms-up based on the expected projects for the upcoming year
  • Manage team efforts to budget
  • Identify opportunities to economize where appropriate


  • Bachelor's Degree in business, marketing or equivalent experience 


  • 15+ years of student lending and/or consumer lending experience specifically in Marketing area
  • 15+ years of experience in product management / strategy development
  • Previous experience in consumer credit field strongly desired
  • Previous experience in product management strongly desired

Knowledge, Skills and Abilities:

  • A high-energy, results-oriented, self-starter, who is capable of quickly taking charge of the PSL products responsibility and building it into a high performing business area, integrated with the spectrum of products and services offered
  • An extremely bright, creative executive with a solid understanding of the total business process and the need for teamwork in a matrix organization
  • An individual who can attract and retain quality people to the organization and develop and motivate these individuals into a cohesive team
  • An informal and flexible executive, with strong operations understanding and a hands on orientation to driving growth and profitability while contributing to building the brand in alignment with the Marketing Teams
  • An entrepreneurial and innovative individual with exceptional vision who is motivated to deliver superior value to consumers, build a business, and serve as an agent of change as Sallie Mae strives to achieve revenue and profit objectives
  • An individual with excellent oral and written communications skills, and the ability to establish rapport and credibility across all functional areas in the organization
  • Marketing, web business and financial services experience 
  • Creative thinker, with proven track record of building businesses, growing revenue and innovating
  • Self-starter, positive attitude, and desire to win
  • Strong financial acumen 
  • Ability to topple barriers, and quickly identify the decision makers and resources necessary to accomplish goals
  • Must have great business instincts and an understanding of consumer brand dynamics
  • Ability to work in a fast-paced environment, and to prioritize and manage multiple projects under tight timelines
  • Ability to think strategically and implement tactically
  • Great organization and detail-orientation 
  • Willingness and ability to travel (approximately 20% of time) and work flexible hours 
  • Strong written, verbal and presentation skills
  • Strong project management skills
  • Effective people management and development skills 
  • Microsoft Office including Word, PowerPoint and Excel
  • Ability to manage multiple priorities