General Assembly Product Management Review: Is it worth it?
Product management is increasingly becoming an in-demand skill. Various institutes and product schools, such as the General Assembly product management courses, offer a great way to specialize in this area and become a product manager.
That being said, General Assembly’s product management courses aren’t the only options you can pick.
This raises a question – are the product management courses offered by General Assembly even worth it?
To that end, in this article, we’ll review the main ones in great depth, discussing their pros and cons, and wrap up by discussing a few alternatives to consider.
Let’s jump right in.
General Assembly Product Management Review
The company has expert instructors, comprehensive courses, and a professional community to offer. Their philosophy is to fill the gap between employment and skills.
General Assembly provides learning content tailor-made for employment requirements.
As far as their product management program goes, the two main options include:
- Online Product Management Course – this course includes components that have real-world applications. Offering both online and in-person learning options, the courses teach essentials and helps participants build a great PM portfolio.
- Product Management 101 (Online) – As the name implies, this course only offers remote training. The course discusses product management science from various angles and is perfect for beginners who want to take this career path.
None of these courses have any prerequisites. Anyone can enroll themselves, as they are beginner-friendly. However, some sort of exposure to product management will certainly make your journey easier.
If you're interested in learning more via video, then watch below. Otherwise, skip ahead.
Online Product Management Course
The Online Product Management Course by General Assembly will hone your project management skills and turn you into a full-fledged product manager.
For instance, you’ll be able to take critical decisions in stressful environments, create a positive customer experience, understand data, and much more.
All of this is possible due to the best-in-class curriculum, curated and delivered by expert instructors from Google, Vari Solutions, and Tempered.
This course will teach you about subjects like:
- Product lifecycles
- Data analytics (important metrics, how to analyze data, etc.)
- Stakeholder management
And that’s just the tip of the iceberg.
Like most online courses, you can take advantage of self-paced learning to juggle any work, learning, or additional responsibilities to comfortably finish the course in its entirety.
You can either choose to learn everything over 10 weeks as a part-time course, or opt for the 1-week accelerated learning program if you’re in a hurry.
Here are some reasons why so many people opt for the General Assembly Online Product Management course:
- Connections – participants of the General Assembly online product management course get to interact with industry peers via the global network of 75k+ alumni.
- Flexibility – the course offers multiple schedules. If you are a busy professional, you might like to go for the 10-week option. However, a 1-week sped-up course is also available.
- Employer Pays – General Assembly can send an employer sponsorship package to your manager.
- Industry-Ready – the board ensures that the course meets the employer demands and students can handle any situation when they enter the industry.
- Curriculum – the course outline includes stakeholder management, working with data, and agile best practices. Also, it explains the complete product management process and its essential concepts.
- Pre-Course Prep Lessons – the course provides self-paced preparatory lessons to help you get familiar with product management before you begin your actual course.
- Portfolio Projects – when you graduate, you have a ready-to-display project. This can help you build up your product portfolio/experience right off the bat.
- Expert Help – the experts are always there to provide guidelines that let you excel in the course.
- Final Project – you will get to apply all concepts you learned, helping you develop hands-on experience.
Overall, this General Assembly Product Management course focuses on 360-development, a focus on real-world applications, and access to a global community – making it a decent choice.
Here are some downsides of this course (when compared to other product management courses and as reported by some past participants):
- While the course is very beginner-friendly, some pro product managers complain that the content lacks depth.
- Support for part-time students is much low in quality as compared to full-time students.
Apart from the aforementioned drawbacks, the course is pretty solid.
General Assembly has a bunch of flexible pricing options. With complete employer sponsorship, it can even be as low as zero dollars.
The full tuition fee, however, is $3,950. You can pay the full amount upfront to save $250.
You may also opt for one of the installment plans. Choose either a two, three, or four payments plan based on your requirements and budget. Installments can be as low as $988.
You can also apply for an interest-free loan through either Meritize and Climb. However, you’ll have to qualify first. Payments can be as low as $206 for 18 months.
If you're interested in checking out more cost-friendly alternatives, take a look at PMHQ's bootcamp and certification courses.
Product Management 101 (Online)
Product Management 101 is an excellent remote product management online class offered for free by the General Assembly. The class serves as an in-depth introduction to the vast, versatile world of product management.
You may also think of Product Management 101 as an online workshop.
The workshop represents a comprehensive picture of today's product management industry and helps you learn the responsibilities of a typical product manager.
After this course, you will be able to:
- Devise problem statements.
- Recognize the risks involved in a product or feature idea.
- Design a basic minimum viable product (MVP) that validates initial assumptions.
- Understand other fundamentals of product management, such as risk identification.
All you need is a computer and a reliable internet connection to attend the General Assembly product management workshop. The class takes place in Eastern Time.
In every session, they will provide you with login information and a link to the platform.
Visit their website for updates regarding upcoming classes.
Here are some qualities that make the Product Management 101 class worth attending:
- Get the basics of product management down without having to spend a dime.
- Design an MVP to apply what you’ve learned so far.
That’s pretty much it.
A major drawback of the General Assembly Product Management 101 course is that the curriculum/roadmap is rather limited.
There are much better courses out there that offer a much more in-depth learning experience.
However, that’s what you can expect from a course that’s free.
You can attend the workshop from anywhere in the world for free.
Alternatives to General Assembly Product Management Courses
General Assembly provides some practical and reliable courses. But what about others?
Here are some platforms that offer courses/bootcamps/programs on product management – some of which are far superior than the ones offered by General Assembly:
Product Manager HQ: Product Management Bootcamp
First one on the list is the Product Management Bootcamp by Product Manager HQ – far less expensive alternative with one of the world’s largest communities of students.
The bootcamp, which lasts a total of 3 months, teaches participants the fundamentals and advanced knowledge of product management, through extensive modules on product strategy, product design, product marketing, and more.
Participants also apply whatever they learn on real-world projects. This allows them to build up an impressive portfolio before even graduating.
Furthermore, they get 1:1 mentorship from an industry expert on a weekly basis, where they get to ask difficult questions and further expand their knowledge.
However, the best thing about this program is the consistent career and job search support participants receive, both while they are enrolled and post-graduation.
If you don’t get a product management job within 6 months after graduating, you can avail the 100% money-back guarantee offered by PMHQ.
And the best part – after graduation, you’ll always remain a part of PMHQ’s massive community (bigger than the one offered by General Assembly), where you can always turn for professional advice. Once you join, you’ll always remain a part of it.
As of now, the full tuition fee of the PMHQ bootcamp is $8,940. You may end up paying less or more, depending on the payment plan you pick:
- Upfront – pay only $7,500 upfront for the whole bootcamp and save 16%.
- Monthly Plan – under this plan, you can pay $1,490/month for up to 6 months.
- Deferred Plan – pay $655.5/month after getting a job for 18 month in addition to a $700 fee at the time of enrollment.
- Climb Credit Loan – under this financing program, you pay anywhere from $52 to $104 per month during your course and from $274 to $303 for 36 months after graduating.
Visit the website to learn more.
Berkeley Product Management
The almost nine-week program aims to teach students the critical skills of crafting and selling their product stories, team management, agile methodologies, and more.
The immersive learning experience makes Product Management Studio a great alternative to the General Assembly product management courses.
You will learn essential concepts like startup/business model canvas, negotiation tricks, pricing strategy, and design thinking in depth. New product development process and product planning are also in the course content.
Enjoy access to practical exercises that allow you to apply the tools and skills you learn along the way.
Everything is taught through video lectures, taught by seasoned product experts, and team activities with fellow students.
Here are few learning outcomes of the course.
- Master and Use Storytelling Art – consumers buy stories, not the products. The course will enable you to devise a story that relates to your target audience.
- Execute the Ideas in Innovative Ways – the Project Management Studio focuses on teaching customer-centric design thinking.
- Become an Authoritative Product Owner – finally, the program aims to help every student become a successful product owner.
The Berkeley Product Management Studio entertains both experienced and beginner product managers, and will set you back $3,750.
Stanford Product Management
Last one on the list is the Product Management: Transforming Opportunities into Great Products course offered online at Stanford.
After paying a fee of $675, the course will be accessible for two months. In total, it consists of four hours of videos and four exercises.
Readings of different lengths are also part of the course, with a final exam at the end to test your knowledge and newly-found skills.
All in all, this Stanford Product Management program will help you build a product manager mindset and teach you how to solve problems in the real world.
All things considered, are General Assembly product management training courses really worth your time and money?
Some people might disagree, especially considering there other options with superior curriculums and better communities – a good example of which is the PMHQ Bootcamp.
At the end of the day, it all boils down to personal preferences, goals, and your budget. However, when making your decision, consider the overall value for money, which includes not just the syllabus, but also additional benefits, like career support and 1-on-1 mentorship.