Is it worth finishing “Product School” in SF / London

New / Product AYbS01
Aug 12 17 Comments

I am a designer with 10 YOE, as i started working with startups and started wearing many hats, i realized that my joy is really in product management.
As I don’t have a management degree i am considering to finish “Product School”. Is this a good idea or just a waste of time and money? Any help, jumping in PM would be helpful.

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TOP 17 Comments
  • Imperial College London / Strategy
    Sr.Con

    Imperial College London Strategy

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    Just read Lewis Lin or Gayle Laakmann, do YouTube and practice. There are whole communities you can practice with .
    $4k? WTF?

    If you have slack join here: pminterview.slack.com
    Aug 12 5
  • Facebook / Product fb🦄
    I think those courses can teach some useful skills, but nothing you couldn’t get from reading some books. I don’t think they’ll help you get a PM job or are seen as relevant when interviewing for a PM role. One of the issues w those courses is most of the time PMing is about really complex trade offs in time, metrics, politics, design, etc. Those courses give you buzzwords but don’t let you flex the muscle of actually dealing w the types of trade offs you’ll need to deal with on the job. That comes from experience. This is different from an eng boot camp where you’re learning a hard skill that you can demonstrate later through writing tangible code.
    Aug 12 2
    • New / Product AYbS01
      OP
      I understand. What would be a good way to approach this career change in your opinion? Really appreciate your help!
      Aug 12
    • Facebook / Product fb🦄
      Start doing PM work where you are.
      Aug 12
  • TI / Product ucc
    I hope I can cover the good, the bad, and the ugly:

    I took the product school class and got value from it. However, I didn’t see $4k as an exorbitant fee. 40 hours of face-to-face instruction, plus the instructors take time to review your assignments, make recommendations, etc.

    They are very open in that they do not offer career services such as job placement, and don’t actually track success rate of alumni finding PM jobs.

    That said, I do not assign value to the certification itself. I doubt employers do either. Maybe some will see it as a sign that at least you are serious enough to move into product that you spent money and your free time to position yourself better.

    The most valuable part for me was the networking. I met many people who are in product, are working toward becoming product managers, or just happen to work in tech companies I am targeting. Along with the instructor, these are now people who can give me a referral into their companies.

    After finishing the course, I have already had several get-togethers with my cohort, and shortly will be applying at a company where one of my classmates both got into Pm while taking the class, and now got promoted since completing the course. Another classmate was a stay-at-home mom (with a SWE background) who had been away from the industry for many years when we started, and after a couple of months of applying for jobs after completing the class, she is now a PM at a tech startup.

    Aside from the network, the most valuable stuff from product school you can get for free: download the Product Book and their other free books in PDF form. Watch the content they have on youtube. Attend the free meetups and network with aspiring and current product managers. Watch the online webinars, including ProductCon live-streams.

    A quick trick if you want to be cheap: enroll for the class, and then withdraw after a week or two. Make sure to download all the course materials while enrolled, and add the instructor and classmates on LinkedIn. You will have to pay the processing fee (in the US it is $250) plus prorated cost based on however many classes you attended. I have not done this, so try at your own risk. I don’t know how quick they are to process the refund, or whether they make it a hard thing to do. They offer installment plans, so maybe you only risk the first installment being tied up.

    Good luck! If you love PM, it all clicks and makes sense in the end, regardless of which route you take.
    Aug 21 0
  • DoorDash hiKu57
    4k could be worth it if the school will confidently place you somewhere you want to go. 4k is nothing in the grand scheme of career moves

    A lot of people who went to coding bootcamps made the return on that investment no problem
    Aug 12 0
  • What is “product school”?
    Aug 12 0
  • LinkedIn
    🤷🏽‍♀️🙏🏽

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    I did product school in Bay Area. Found it very useful specially because I was very far off from product teams in my current role. You will find it beneficial if you haven’t had an opportunity to work as a PM.
    Aug 12 2
    • Bank of America / Product Quacky
      Is it worth the 4k though?
      Aug 12
    • LinkedIn
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      That’s exactly what I thought. But then i got a 30% comp hike in the new role. 4K isn’t that much.
      Aug 12
  • Google / Product gottem
    An MBA is a 200k career change :)
    Aug 12 0
  • New / Product dowop
    Not worth if you are paying it.
    Aug 12 0