Stanford Product Management Review: Is it Worth it?

Updated on March 12th, 2021
Stanford Product Management Review: Is it Worth it?

Product management is a rapidly-developing discipline. With the need for fresh and improved talent increasing, product managers have never needed to up their game more. Luckily, programs, such as the Stanford product management from Stanford University, are providing managers with the knowledge and credentials they need.

The Stanford product management program is great, but is it really worth it – especially since there are so many other online communities and programs available out there?

If you’re wondering the same thing, keep reading. In this article, we’ll break down Stanford product management program, review it from a neutral perspective, and list some other alternatives you can try.

Let’s get started.

Stanford Product Management Review

The Stanford product management program offers two primary courses, both of which, focus on creating smart, agile, and dynamic product managers. 

These courses help candidates figure out how to identify problems within their product and come up with an effective product strategy to overcome such setbacks.

While everyone can apply for the Stanford product management program, people with engineering backgrounds are encouraged to enroll in these courses. Graduate-level students who want to create a successful career in this field are also encouraged to apply. 

Although, you can also apply if you are an entrepreneur or a full-time employee.

In a nutshell, the Stanford product management program aims to teach its students the essentials of product management and provide them with knowledge and skills to make progress within the issues that society is facing. 

We’ll go through the two main courses of this program and review them one at a time:

Product Management: Transforming Opportunities into Great Products

One of the courses that the Stanford School of Engineering offers is the 2-month course known as the Stanford Product Management: Transforming Opportunities into Great Products. 

By purchasing and enrolling in the Stanford Product Management course, applicants get a 60-day access. 

Program Schedule and Breakdown

According to the institution, the Stanford Product Management program carries approximately four hours of video content, along with four hours of various activities/exercises, and sixty assigned readings. 

The course material for the Stanford Product Management Program can be downloaded online from the video pages. Moreover, the program is broken down into nine modules, that include: 

  1. Course Introduction
  2. An Overview of the Product Lifecycle
  3. Understanding What the Problem Is
  4. Designing the Solution
  5. Launching the Solution
  6. Distribution and Deciding a Market Segment
  7. Building Product Roadmaps
  8. Build Models/Products
  9. Course Conclusion

As mentioned, each module has its reading materials, which are then followed by a video that builds on the key points. After completing the work, applicants are required to give a final exam for each module. 

Pricing

For the 60-day access to all the online course material, the Stanford Product Management costs applicants around $675. 

Once you have purchased the course, you can access all materials anytime you want within 60 days of registration. If you are a fast reader, there is a high chance that you won’t even need all 60 days to complete this course. 

The Pros and Cons to Stanford Product Management

Here are some things that make this course stand out:

  • If you’re a beginner at product management, this course is very informative.
  • It teaches you crucial product skills that you can use to solve real-world problems. 
  • The reading material is good and is bound to provide excellent learning. 
  • Since it is online, the course is pretty flexible. 
  • An exam at the end of every module is a great form of assessment for applicants.

Like all programs, this Stanford product management course isn’t perfect. Here are some downsides:

  • Some of the reading material is extremely helpful, but easily available online for free, especially everything related to digital marketing, product marketing, metrics, product development, go-to-market strategies, user experience, and Scrum methodologies. 
  • For someone with previous experience in product management, this course doesn’t offer anything new. 
  • If you’re enrolling in this course for academic credit, this course doesn’t provide any. 
  • The program is restricted to only 60-days of access and you cannot revisit the material after two months. 
  • It is a rather high-priced course for material that you could otherwise find online for free. 

All in all, the course is worth a shot if you’re completely new to product management, and looking to expand your list of credentials.

Product Management Fundamentals for the Real Economy

The other main course, offered by the Stanford School of Engineering, is the Product Management Fundamentals for the Real Economy. It is open for registration once a year as a graduate course, however, registration is currently closed. 

The idea behind this course is to teach students how to apply managerial skills and build products that are fit for the real economy. It teaches students to assess the product life cycle framework with the help of several case studies within a team setting. 

Everyone has creative ideas that could’ve gone big, but to be able to market them correctly and manage them efficiently is a tough task. In this course, students get the experience of how to do exactly that especially by hearing about the experiences of several veterans.

Program Schedule and Breakdown

Like other graduate courses, registrations for this Stanford product management course are available only once a year. Registration is closed currently, and the next date to register shall be for the upcoming semester.  

If you wish to start now, you can always enroll yourself in the previous course. However, to reiterate, that is a professional course and will not land you any academic credit. 

As the semester starts, Stanford provides students with the opportunity to take classes online, or in-person. Moreover, students can even collaborate with each other to join study groups or connect with instructors through voice chats or video calls. 

The Stanford Product Management program is designed specifically for passionate leaders or production managers that are brimming with new ideas and are on the hunt for different techniques to launch their products. 

Like every other program, you will be spending 8/10 hours a week in the course and will earn a certificate by the end of your term. 

Pricing

Since the Stanford Product Management Fundamentals is a graduate course, it costs $1,395 per unit. Each course usually ranges from 3-5 units that are already indicated. 

Moreover, if you wish to have lifetime access to all your college transcripts and material, you must pay an additional one-time fee of $125. 

The Pros and Cons of Stanford Product Management Fundamentals

Registering in a graduate course is a big commitment and requires tons of effort and time, which is why it is essential to first get to know whether the Stanford Product Management Fundamentals is worth registering for or not.

Here are the advantages of picking this course:

  • It instills a sense of team building within you and teaches you how to work in one team, especially in startups. 
  • You get to learn from the experts from Stanford’s excellent faculty, including project management, computer science, and product experts that work at top companies like Apple, LinkedIn, Adobe, or other Silicon Valley and San Francisco companies.
  • By giving students real-life examples, it provides them with better learning and knowledge they can apply, especially related to stakeholder and customer needs.
  • The material, templates, and transcripts provided can be kept lifelong if paid for. 
  • Students learn how to launch their new products effectively using cross-functional channels.
  • Enrollment is pretty easy and straightforward. 

Here are the drawbacks of opting for this course:

  • It isn’t available all year round.
  • The same instructors teach the other product management course which costs way less. 
  • Online learning is probably not as efficient as on-campus due to the need to be physically present. 
  • You can probably find other free or more affordable options.

Before picking any course, weight in all the pros and cons and make a choice. 

Alternatives to Stanford Product Management

With the given demand for product management, and the need to become skilled product managers, several accredited institutions have come out with different product management courses. Stanford just happens to be one of them. 

Other product management programs are just as credible and may even provide better services than Stanford Product Management.

Let’s take a look at the 3 best alternatives: 

Product Manager HQ: Product Management Bootcamp

First one on the list is Product Manager HQ (PMHQ) bootcamp, which is a less expensive alternative, with one of the largest communities of students and experts.

The bootcamp offers a great way to develop foundational skills and knowledge on key areas of product management.

Participants get access to useful online resources and learn via a curriculum that’s designed by actual product experts and is split into 18 units, including product strategy, design, development, analytics and experimentation, and more.

What’s more – they receive 1:1 lessons from their mentors on a weekly basis to expand their real-world skills, get answers to the most difficult questions, and learn from their experience.

Throughout the bootcamp, you’ll also get to work on real-world projects to build your product management portfolio.

However, the best part about the PMHQ bootcamp is that even after graduating, the participant will always remain a part of its vast community. You’ll also get career support towards the end of the program and a 6-month job guarantee.

All in all, if you’re looking for a program that focuses on 360 learning and development, the PMHQ bootcamp is a great option.

The total tuition fee is $8,940, but maybe lower or higher based on the payment plan you pick, which include:

  • Upfront – students can pay upfront and save 16% by only having to pay $7,500.
  • Month-to-Month – the monthly payment plan spans 6 months, where you only pay $1,490 for the months you need.
  • Deferred Plan – this is a special plan under which you only start paying $655.5/month for 18 months after landing a job (with $700 paid at the time of enrollment). This plan is only available for people residing in the US.
  • Climb Credit Loan – this is a financing option, ranging from $52 to $104 per month during the course and $239–$303 after graduating for 36 months.

Pick an option that best fits your current budget and long-term plans, and enroll in the program today.

Berkeley Product Management

The Berkeley Product Management course is a five-day course full of extensive learning, team building, and boosting performance (APM). Unlike the Stanford product Management, the Berkeley programs are conducted in-person after going through the six-week online component. 

The program costs $7,950, which is significantly higher compared to the other options. However, Berkeley claims to provide the very best real-life experience to its students along with a world-recognized certification. 

In some ways, it may be better than Stanford product management, since once you register, you get lifetime access to their alumni community. If that’s a good enough reason for you to drop $7,950, consider checking it out.

General Assembly Product Management

Another option is the General Assembly product management course. They offer a 10-week extensive program in the evenings or a one-week accelerated program which could either be taken in person or online. 

You can opt for several payment options for this General Assembly product management course. You could either pay the full load that is $3,950 or pay in installments, which is nice if you don’t have the funds to pay upfront.

General Assembly claims have one of the most elite instructors, providing students with real-world relevance and sharing profound market knowledge. At the end, you also get a product management certificate. 

Wrapping It Up

To sum it up, product management has become somewhat of a necessity its today’s world and economy. 

Stanford product management isn’t the only option out there. However it could be a decent choice based on your career goals.

Some may argue that paying $675 for a 60-day session is not worth the material or learning provided. However, it’s not like your options are limited.

Comparatively, the PMHQ courses have a lot more to offer for a significantly lower cost. Not only do you get lifetime access to all the course material, but you also get lifetime access to their slack community, and if you pay extra, you can even purchase their one-on-one membership.