Our Meet the Hiring Manager series allows you to get to know the people who grow teams at VMware. You will learn about our hiring managers’ career paths and what they look for in candidates during the interview experience. We hope you enjoy getting to know Karl Brown, and we welcome any questions you may for him. Please leave a comment on this post or send us your questions via Twitter or LinkedIn.
Sr. Director, Product Marketing
Home Office, California
VMware Careers: Tell us about your career journey to date?
Karl Brown: I joined VMware in 2019 to lead product marketing for the VMware SD-WAN solution, where I am fortunate to be part of a great team with a successful product. At this point, I have over twenty years of experience in networking, spanning wired and wireless, voice and data, enterprise, system vendor, and service provider environments. This experience includes roles at large companies (Verizon Wireless, Nortel Networks, and Citrix Systems) as well as roles in startups of various stages. Some of my roles were very customer-facing, while others, more operational and R&D focused. My professional experience is complemented with an engineering degree from the Georgia Institute of Technology as well as an MBA from Indiana University.
VMware Careers: How is VMware different from any other tech company you have worked for?
Karl Brown: I am in my first year at VMware, and so, I am still learning a lot about the company, its products, and the culture. Sure, in some ways, VMware is like many other technology companies. Still, the good news is that the very top of the organization is pushing for broader internal collaboration, diversity of thought, and the sharing of information.
However, what has impressed me is how much the company embraces its products. Unlike other technology companies, VMware is truly “eating their own dog food,” across many product areas, which will allow us to see first-hand what our customers experience.
VMware Careers: What has been the biggest lesson you have learned as you moved upwards in your career?
Karl Brown: Biggest lesson? Don’t be bound by your job description! A job description describes your role expectations, but it is not meant to limit your contributions. Think about the larger goal of the business. Identify how you can help your team achieve those goals. Take on projects that may fall outside of what your role entails typically. You will gain valuable experience, understand more about the business, and your leadership will appreciate your initiative.
VMware Careers: Your team is hiring. Can you tell us more about your organization’s charter?
Karl Brown: Within the VMware SD-WAN business unit, product marketing plays a critical role in successfully driving products into the marketplace by understanding the current market needs, communicating the product features/benefits, and developing a strategy for awareness of the VMware solution. In addition to helping our customers understand how the product can solve different challenges they may be facing, we also have the task of ensuring our field teams and partners follow this as well.
VMware Careers: If someone reading this was coming to interview with you tomorrow for a role in your org, what interview tips would you give them?
Karl Brown: If you have a good number of years of experience in enterprise networking and enterprise software, you will find many career opportunities as long as you maintain your skills and professional network. Thus, your mindset in a job search should be about finding the next step in your career journey, as opposed to getting a job offer.
Our interview is meant to help you confirm that a role is indeed the right next step. Are the market, product, and technology exciting to you? Do the key responsibilities align with your interests? Will you enjoy working with the broader team? Will you like the work environment — and so forth. At the end of the day, I want and need you to enjoy the role.
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