If you’re an aspiring entrepreneur who wants to run your own startup or a marketing trainee looking to excel in the trade, product management would be a critical skill in your arsenal. Many institutes and platforms offer specialized programs and bootcamps – one of which is the Berkeley product management program – that can certify you for this skill.
However, with so many in-person and online courses/programs out there, are the ones offered by UC Berkeley even worth it?
In this article, we will investigate just that, by breaking down the Berkeley product management programs, and discussing a few popular alternatives.
Let’s get started.
Berkeley Product Management Review
The Berkeley product management aims to teach essential skills and strategies through engaging lectures followed by hands-on exercises and active discussions to shape successful product professionals.
Berkeley offers two programs in product management: The Product Management Certificate Program and Product Management Studio.
The Product Management Certificate Program
If you are interested in learning how to deal with customers and improve your cross-team collaboration skills, the Berkeley product management certificate program could be a decent choice for you.
This is a seven-week program divided into two components – online and physical. The program starts with the online component.
The six-week-long online component comprises customized video lectures given by industry experts and renowned faculty present at Berkeley. Furthermore, interactive exercises and up-to-date reading reinforce the concept taught in the classes.
This is followed by the physical component that provides you with an in-person experience at the Berkeley Haas School of Business. This is vital for your hands-on learning. Peer coaching by industry experts will help you in applying the taught concepts into real-life situations.
Additionally, networking sessions with the faculty and access to the program's alumni can help you create connections with individuals that may help you land product/project management jobs and career advice.
Enrollment happens only in September, November, and December.
Berkeley's product management certificate program stands at $7,950. A great thing about this program is that the university supports you in seeking payment assistance from your employer.
The Berkeley product management certificate program will help you:
- Master the Skill of Business Communication – throughout the program, you will learn how to cross communicate with other departments essential to product management, such as production managers, suppliers, and sales specialists.
- Increase the Profitability of Your Product Line – you will learn new strategies and skills to cut production costs and increase product profitability. This will help you manage your product line more effectively.
- Upgrade Your Management Capability – the Berkeley product management certificate program will teach you essential leadership skills, enabling you to lead in high-pressure, unfavorable situations.
- Learn Essential Decision-making Skills – you will learn how to make fast and effective decisions regarding your product line and implement them effectively.
Overall, the program is fairly decent.
All these opportunities come at a relatively hefty cost of $7,950. The price is not pocket-friendly considering that it's a seven-week course that is mostly going to be taught online with a limited immersive experience.
To some people, this might not seem like good value for money.
Berkeley Product Management Studio Program
This program is a good option for managers looking to boost product awareness by using tried-and-tested marketing tactics. It will help you in creating a story around your product and then communicate it to the masses.
The Berkeley product management studio is an eight-week program that is based entirely online. However, it's incredibly specialized, allowing you to directly apply the concepts learned in class into real-life situations via interactive simulations.
The program will be taught by world-renowned professors and expert product managers. The instructors will keep weekly live sessions to answer any queries you might have regarding the material (or any other concerns that need resolving).
Throughout the Berkeley product management studio program, instructors will give you small team exercises, engaging activities, and constant feedback. This will help you in understanding the taught concepts.
The Berkeley product management studio program is divided into eight weeks of immense learning, broken down as follows:
- Week 0 – this will start with an introduction to the course, followed by pre-work and team coaching sessions.
- Week 1 – this includes classes regarding product management canvas and innovation capabilities. The week ends with a live online video session.
- Week 2 – the week starts with an introduction of storytelling for product managers. Towards the end, students get to learn from an interactive online video session.
- Week 3 – during this week, you’ll attend classes on data-based decision making, customer-focused design, customer journey mapping, and team coaching sessions.
- Week 4 – this includes classes regarding segmentation and targeting, along with an invigorating exercise revolving around new product positioning statements. The week ends with another live online video session.
- Week 5 – this includes classes on innovation ecosystem, channel strategy and choice, hypothesis testing and strategic iteration, and team coaching sessions.
- Week 6 – throughout this week, you’ll learn about price tools and strategies. After this week, you’ll enjoy a break.
- Week 7 – after returning from your break, you’ll start learning about product lifestyle and stakeholder management, taught via classes and team coaching sessions. Furthermore, you’ll also be involved in a learning exercise that will teach you how to engage your product team.
- Week 8 – in the 8th and final week, individuals will be asked to tell their product stories and will be taught product portfolio planning. The week will end with one-on-one coaching sessions and live online video sessions.
The exact roadmap and curriculum is subject to change. Reach out to the program coordinator or visit the Berkeley.edu for any updates.
The Berkeley product management studio program will set you back $3,750.
Like with the certificate program, Berkeley gives you the option of seeking payment assistance from your employer.
Opting for the Berkeley product management studio program will help you:
- Learn How to Deliver a Great Customer Experience – you will be able to employ a customer-centric approach to your product development and marketing initiatives.
- Increase Innovation in Your Current Product Line – you will discover how to incorporate customer research and market signals into product design thinking and development.
- Learn How to Generate a Story Around Your Product – mastering the art of product storytelling will enable you to engage and excite potential customers.
- Improve Managerial Skills – the program will help you learn effective managerial practices, such as decision-making and task delegation, that will help in performing your role as a product manager.
As a whole, this product management course will deliver the perfect balance of soft and technical skills, along with foundational and the industry knowledge needed to excel in the field of product management.
The only drawback (if you want to call it that) is that it’s conducted entirely online.
Even though online learning is highly convenient for many employed individuals, it may stifle the range of discussion and learning that can occur in a physical setting due to the setup's apparent limitations.
Alternatives to Berkeley’s Product Management Programs
Berkeley product management programs may be some of the best, however, as mentioned above, they may not be the ideal options for everyone.
Luckily, other institutes and platforms offer similar programs.
Product Manager HQ: Product Management Bootcamp
The Product Management Bootcamp offered by Product Manager HQ (PMHQ) is a less expensive alternative to Berkeley product management programs – offering one of the largest communities of students and better hands-on learning than any other program.
You can consider it a 3-months long MBA on product management, except, no MBA program can match the learning, exposure, and support you’ll get from this bootcamp.
As far as the learning goes, the bootcamp will educate you on critical areas and teach you essential skillsets necessary for any modern product manager, through modules on product strategy, design, agile methodologies, marketing strategy, and more.
Overall, the bootcamp consists of:
- Over 500 hours of curriculum, curated by industry experts who know the ins and outs of the field
- 1:1 mentorship from an expert on a weekly basis where you can get deeper insights
- Chance to work on various real-world projects (like the ones you can expect in Silicon Valley/Bay Area) to build up your portfolio
- Career/Job support from the community (via resume resumes, employer network, and coaching)
The total tuition fee is $8,940, which can vary based on the payment plan you pick. Here are some quick details:
- Upfront – pay $7,500 upfront and get a 16% discount for the whole thing.
- Monthly Plan – pay $1,490/month for up to 6 months.
- Deferred Plan – under this plan, you pay $655.5/month for 18 months, but only after getting a job. At the time of enrollment, you’ll have to pay a $700 fee.
- Climb Credit Loan – pay from $52 to $104 per month while you’re attending the bootcamp and from $274 to $303 for 36 months after graduating.
The best part – PMHQ offers a 100% money-back guarantee, which comes into effect if you don’t land a part-time or a full-time job 6 months after graduating.
Stanford Product Management
The prestigious Stanford University also offers an online product management program costing $675, far less expensive than the ones offered at Berkeley.
This Stanford Product Management program consists of 4 hours of videos, 4 hours of exercises, and 60 readings. You are required to give an online exam to complete the course. After passing the exam, you have to fill in the course evaluation form to get the completion certificate.
By opting for this program, you will be able to:
- Solve Complex Problems – the program teaches individuals essential strategies and insider-secrets for solving day-to-day and complex challenges of product management.
- Finish Learning at a Comfortable Pace – the Stanford Product Management Program allows individuals to finish the course within 60 days of purchase. This added feature will enable you to complete it at your own pace, balancing work and academics.
The only drawback is that the course lacks vital interaction between the instructor and the students and the interactive exercises offered in the Berkeley product management programs. Furthermore, it’s not as in-depth as some of the other options on this list.
For some people, the content available for the course may not justify the price.
General Assembly Product Management
The General Assembly Product Management course is ideal for working professionals as the program allows individuals to either opt for a 10-week evening class program or a one-week accelerated program.
The program has around the same price as the Berkeley product management studio program, as full tuition costs $3,950.
This program is taught by professional product managers. The program aims to teach vital skills and strategies to help you in your career as a product manager.
Here’s why it’s a fairly good option:
- It is Taught by Professional Product Managers – benefitting from their experience, you’ll learn skills and strategies that will further your career as a product manager.
- It Has Flexible Financing Options – to pay the course charges, you can opt for employer sponsorship, loans, and payment installment plans.
However, like the Berkeley product management programs, this one is priced a bit higher. This is due to the portfolio projects, instructor support, and strong alumni connections.
The Final Verdict
Is the Berkeley Product Management Program really worth it?
The answer: It depends.
One cannot deny that the Berkeley Product Management Program is a full package, as it delivers all the essential for an individual to kick-start a career in product management (and succeed at it).
If you are looking for a program with a much larger community and the best curriculum – one that helps you build the fundamentals of product management and actually pursue the career – the Product Management Bootcamp by PMHQ is the best option.
However, the final decision still rests on you, as the factors that you find essential in a program may not be as significant to others.