June 15, 2023

Dr. Marily Nika: Shaping the Future of AI Product Management

By Wes Kao
Co-founder of Maven
Discover how Dr. Marily Nika, AI Product Lead at Meta, crafted the most popular AI product management course on Maven through innovative teaching methods and hands-on experiences.

Marily Nika has taught AI product management to 400+ students over 9 cohorts. Here’s how she built the most popular AI course for product managers on Maven:
Marily is an AI Product Lead at Meta (and previously at Google), Executive Fellow at Harvard Business School, with a PhD in Machine Learning. Her course was initially about technical product management, but she soon realized her students were most interested in AI. Her students’ eyes lit up when she went deep into how to build AI products.
She pivoted and decided to teach Building AI-Powered Products 101. And it took off. Her students love the course:
  • 600+ on the waitlist
  • 9/10 rating over 9 cohorts
  • Course alumni have started companies together
  • Students love building working prototypes with no code tools
How did she achieve this?
By focusing on interactivity. It might sound obvious… But we learn more from courses that make us *do*, not just learn. 
For example: In the first session, Marily demos how to train a model using AutoML, and then students create their own prototypes. One student created a sentiment analyzer that could predict emotions in photos with 80% accuracy.
Marily hosts “speed dating” events where students network with other ambitious PMs. She brought in a guest speaker to conduct a hands-on prompt engineering exercise. And for the job seekers, she conducts live mock interviews to prepare for interviews.
Recently, she launched Advanced AI Product Management, which goes even deeper on technical concepts and has an incredible 9.7/10 rating.
Three lessons for folks looking to level up in AI:
1. Take courses that offer hands-on application. You can watch Youtube videos and read articles to get the basics. But you learn more from exercises, projects, demos, and live feedback/critiques. One of Marily’s students said:
“I love how we got our hands dirty by actually coding our way into being successful AI product managers.”
2. Learn from practitioners with on-the-ground experience. There’s a lot of noise about AI, so look for operators who are actively building AI products themselves. Experts like Marily have dealt with the same problems that you’ll face tomorrow.
"The course provides tons of applicable information in a fast moving and growing space." 
3. Give feedback and ask questions. If you’re taking a course, speak up during Q&As to dive deeper on concepts and ask about relevant edge cases. Here’s a secret: instructors love when you do this because they get to nerd out with you.
"Dr. Marily Nika's open minded approach to teaching this course made a huge positive difference. She sought and implemented feedback from the cohort on a near real time basis."

If you’re a product manager interested in leveling up in AI, Dr. Marily Nika teaches multiple courses for PMs on how to build AI-powered products.

For aspiring/early career PMs: Building AI-Powered Products 101
For experienced PMs: Advanced AI Product Management
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