Product Manager - Rejected! Need help for Appeal/Review

Hi Everyone, @Francisca_Chiedu @badesemowo

I applied for Exceptional Promise and was rejected :sleepy:

Below is the documentation that I submitted and feedback from the Technation reviewer. I would love to appeal and would love your honest feedback

My Documentation

Letter of Recommendation

  1. Letter from co-founder of a tech startup backed by YCombinator (Currently works with them as a product manager)
  2. Letter from a LinkedIn top voice, tech co-founder, Nelson Mandela fellow ( Knows my works)
  3. Letter from a Tech Venture capitalist, Tony Elumelu mentor, Startup Advisor (Knows my work and has collaborated before)

Mandatory Criteria

  1. Evidence I led the growth of a product-led digital technology company -

Used my current place of work which is a YCombinator-backed startup where I talked about my contributions to no-code tools. Attached is pictorial evidence of a Screenshot of a product document, a Slack conversation about the development of the product with the engineering team, and a News clip of the cofounder talking about the product.

  1. Evidence I command a high salary - I talked about the average salary of a product manager in Nigeria and how I earn 40% higher from my full-time job. I also highlighted that in my product consulting capacity in an Expedia-backed startup where I earned five times what an average product manager earns.

  2. Evidence of my contribution to leading product development at a product-led digital company- Talked about my contribution to improving user experience with metrics numbers. Also, wrote about myself leading the product development of the Web2 auth product that allows Web 2 users to log in on the web3 platform instead of using connect wallets.

Pictorial Evidence - Screenshot of Standup calls (Highlighted me), Product requirement document for web 2 product and user experience, Figma design for web2 and showing myself interacting in the comment section with the product designer. Attached screenshot of a tweet from the CELO network announcing the launching of the Web 2 product

  1. Evidence Of My Impact at a Product-Led Digital Technology Company - Talked about the credit gap in Nigeria using EfinA data and how the credit tech startup I led as product lead is solving the problem. Talked about my contribution to leading the team in building the loan product, and building the low-code product for rural communities to access loans. Pictorial evidence - Screenshot of PRDs, Excel sheet showing initial traction, Customer reviews, Metrics dashboard, flowchart, Product demo on YouTube

Optional Criteria

  1. Evidence I led the development of a high-impact product at a Product-Led Digital Tech Company - Used another product I led development at the YCombinator-backed startup

  2. Evidence Of Public Speaking And Mentorship - Used the Intelligent People mentoring program, I was a special guest on Tech Podcast talking about Imposter syndrome in Product Management and was the lead speaker at a Web 3 webinar

  3. Evidence of my significant contribution as an employee at a product-led digital technology company - Used a fintech startup I worked in 2019 where I talked about my impact as a business analyst in user research, regulatory and compliance framework, etc. then I transitioned into Product Manager where I led the development of the first web app

  4. Evidence of my contribution to leading product development at a product-led digital company.- Used a fintech where I was Product lead where I led the development of product roadmap and webapp, led agile rituals, documented PRDs, flowcharts, and customer reviews.


The applicant is a Product Manager for (the YCombinator-backed startup). She has been with the company for just over 3 years. The applicant wishes to relocate to Birmingham and is currently seeking employment in the UK. She has applied for the Exceptional Promise route selecting Optional Criteria 1 (a proven track record for innovation) and Optional Criteria 3 (significant
contributions made including to the wider field).

Unfortunately, based on this application the applicant has not demonstrated that she meets the
requirements of any of the mandatory or optional criteria. Also, there are a few anomalies in the
application. The applicant has applied for Exceptional Promise but she has included (the Fintech startup I worked for in 2019) as a letter of recommendation provider. If she is including her time employed at (2019 Fintech), then she has more than 5 years of experience in the digital technology sector and is no longer eligible to apply for Exceptional Promise. We were unsure so we have assessed her for Promise.

Also, the applicant has ticked the OC1 box but the evidence supplied for that criteria is public speaking and mentorship, which is OC2. Finally, the applicant's LinkedIn mentions that she had two full-time jobs during most of 2023; (YCombinator startup) and (CreditTech startup).

In terms of the mandatory criteria, the applicant has provided 3 letters of recommendation. The first
from the co-founder of her company, (YCombinator startup co-founder) gives a lot of detail about her job description and her day-to-day work, but it does not give any insights as to how or why the applicant should be recognized as an exceptional individual. With the other two letters, it is unclear how well those referees know the applicant as the content of the letters is both quite vague and repetitive of information in the applicant's CV and personal statement.

The usual evidence to support the mandatory criteria (an exceptionally high salary or remuneration
package, keynoting at notable industry events nationally or internationally, sharing of thought leadership via the media, and independent awards won) are absent from this application and we do not have enough compelling evidence to award the mandatory criteria.

There is no evidence supplied that describes an innovation track record to match with OC1. The
applicant has provided some information about her pro-bono mentoring role but it is insufficient to meet the requirements of OC2, so we are unable to award either of those criteria. Other evidence relates to OC3, which looks for an applicant to have made significant technical, commercial, or entrepreneurial contributions to the field as a founder, senior executive, board member, or employee of a product-led digital technology company. The applicant has provided evidence of working as a Business Analyst at (Fintech startup 2019) and also freelancing as a Product Lead at a (credit Tech startup), but the
tasks she performed for both organizations were fairly low-level (launch of a new website or overseeing creation of a mobile app, for example). There is also evidence from her current role at (YCombinator startup) which demonstrates that the applicant is a valued team member and a versatile Product Lead but the evidence as provided does not link individual contributions to outcomes. We are unable to award OC3.

@Timi based on the evidence you provided, you didn’t provide compelling evidence that show you have been recognised as a promising talent. It appears you also mixed the optional criteria, you chose to proof what outside immediate employment…(OC2) but your application shows you selected innovation(OC1). While this must have impacted you application, the evidence for OC2 is also not compelling.

Mandatory criteria:

  1. 3 out of 4 evidence was about products you built which are mostly self authored. Besides the content of the evidence you provided do not necessarily demonstrate you led product. No third party validation of your claims to support your claims or news clipping crediting that you led product.

You didn’t provide evidence of your recognition and contribution to the tech sector in the form of conferences, thought leadership publications. Evidence of leading product is just one evidence among other type of evidence that appear to carry more weight. Also salary is also not strong enough. Based on the evidence you have shared I am not sure how you want to convince an assessor but you can give it a try as you know the content you submitted.

Your optimal criteria
Is pretty much a repeat of the evidence style for MC which is still about leading product.

What exactly was your impact? What metrics did you use to show your impact in OC3. No letter from your employers to confirm your impact, showing your product launch and revenue.

Thank you for your honest review

You are welcome. Don’t despair still ask for a review, you may be lucky.

1 Like

Bad luck, Timi, good luck next time. Do you know when you submitted your application and how long it took for the results.

I applied on the 29th April