What do Product Managers (PMs) do at Borealis AI? In one of our LinkedIn Live events, Borealis AI Product Managers talked about their work, what their typical days look like (hint: every day is different), what they love about working at the cutting edge of machine learning and finance, how to get into product management and what growth looks like, as well as the impact the team is making.

At Borealis AI, the Product Management & Business Development team moves quickly, challenges the status quo, and owns the delivery of AI-based products that aim to shape the future of banking. Here’s a summary of what that looks like on the ground, day-to-day:  

Every day is different

PMs at Borealis AI work collaboratively with researchers, machine learning engineers and business stakeholders at RBC to tackle challenges and opportunities using AI that can drive substantial value for the bank. Borealis AI builds cutting-edge machine learning products that often commercialize novel research within various domains of finance. This means no day is the same. From RBC Capital markets to personal and commercial banking, Borealis AI PMs connect the dots to bring ML expertise to real problems in finance and deliver value and impact at scale.

Interesting problems to solve

At Borealis AI, business development work closely with top executives and stakeholders at RBC to zero in on some of the most interesting problems. Business Developers (BDs) and PMs have a hand in building our product and business strategy roadmaps, considering not only what we are doing today but where we are going in the future as an organization. They ensure we continue scaling our products and our impact. The team then works with researchers and engineers to deliver products that quite literally shaping the future of financial services. While this sounds like a tall claim, PMs here have seen how just a single model can bring significant positive change. This level of impact drives PMs to tackle new and challenging problems. We conduct discovery and proofs of concept (POCs) to make sure a particular problem or domain is a good fit for machine learning and how the team can best add value. Product managers can also help shape the work by identifying interesting and worthy projects: At Borealis AI, we have an incubator program that encourages PMs and others on the team to bring, develop and commercialize their own ideas. Given RBC’s 17 million clients and Canadian market leadership, the potential for impact is enormous and exciting.

Constantly working with the business  

Delivering successful industry leading machine learning products takes a diverse set of skills and expertise. PMs get to collaborate with researchers, engineers and tap into deep domain expertise at RBC, whether it’s Capital Markets, P&CB or other areas of the bank: we do win together as one RBC. There are seemingly endless opportunities to learn about new domains and business lines, and so it helps to be working closely with subject matter experts with deep experience in finance, banking and financial products and develop better awareness of their users’ needs, and where other processes and ideas can be leveraged.

Time series forecasting

Banking lends itself to time series type modeling for machine learning. Most interactions with banks – things like market trades, transactions, and bill payment, for example – happen in a time series. For those with a technical background, we’re focused on asynchronous, multi-source time data and understanding the representation of users to help predict next events, transactions or client needs.

PMs have many exciting opportunities to build products with outsized impact and take them to market: an example of this is NOMI Forecast, embedded into RBC’s NOMI platform used by millions of Canadians across the country. Using a machine learning model allows RBC clients to manage their cash flow and account activity more confidently. 

It's a growth story

Borealis just turned five, and has already delivered IP, cutting-edge research, and innovative products that improve people’s financial lives. There’s a lot more work ahead, and so a commitment to constant learning, on-the-job and in the fields of AI and finance is incredibly important to keeping PMs at the top of their game.

Each day our PMs are exposed to new ideas and perspectives, accelerating their learning and growth. The PM team works closely with top talent at RBC every single day across various domains, sharpening their skills and deepening their domain understanding. Mentorship can be very valuable, both in providing PMs with opportunities to learn from more senior people and in providing them with opportunities to grow their own leadership skills by mentoring those more junior. More importantly, PMs tend to have some leeway for moving around the organization, allowing professionals to really develop their own path to growth and development as a PM.

Want to explore the opportunities and challenges facing AI and ML Product Managers? Interested in learning what it takes to deliver business value from machine learning? Want to find out what a day-in-the-life looks like for a Product Manager at Borealis? Check out this recording of the LinkedIn Live event.