A Day at Product School – What It’s Like to Study Product Management

There are a number of ways to study at Product School so our classes fit your schedule. You can study live online from anywhere in the world, and learn part-time on weekends or weeknights, or full-time with our accelerated 5 day program. Here’s how a typical day could look with our part-time program…

Class is about to start! You make yourself a refreshing drink (nothing too strong, you’re going to have to focus!) and login to your student portal. You check what you will be learning today, and cast your eye over the previous few lessons to jog your memory. Then you jump over to the chat, and say “hi” to your classmates.

Your peers will be from a diverse range of backgrounds. Some will be software engineers. Others will be startup founders. Some will already be working as PMs. Others may be working in sales or business. Many will end up being your friends for life!

Your instructor logs on. Chances are, she’s signing on straight after work where she leads a Product Team at a major technology company (our current instructors work at Airbnb, Google, Facebook, and Tinder, to name a few). Before you begin, she’ll no doubt have a few stories to share about her day at work, and how her company solved product related problems and kept the team on track.

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Class Begins

Roll up your sleeves, it’s time to get to work! Oh, did you think you’d just be sitting through a lecture? Think again! At the start of the class, your instructor will divide you into groups, and give you a real project to work on. Maybe you need to add a feature to an existing project, or balance the conflicting demands of stakeholders for a new product you are building. Your team will brainstorm and together you’ll devise a plan and come up with a final presentation to share with the class. Your instructor will analyze this, and give you feedback based on her years of real world experience.

Particularly if you’re studying our flagship Product Management certification, your instructor will focus not only on hard skills like creating user stories, conducting research, iteration and product launches but also on soft skills. These are skills like public speaking and leadership, the more subtle characteristics that are essential for any successful product leader. Practical group work happens in every class, so when you login to your student portal, you know that you gotta bring your A-game!

“Rather than just sitting through lectures, you’re forced into group exercises that test your knowledge of the frameworks and processes you learn each week. Homework is due every week so you also have accountability to get things done.”
Product School Graduate Kel Wu, Sr. Product Manager at Quotient Technology

Have a Question?

As you’re working on your group project or learning from your instructor, you and your colleagues will frequently pause the lesson to dive deeper into specific situations.

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You may have a question about how this particular method on quantitative analysis can be applied to your industry, or maybe you’d like the instructor’s opinion on how to better prioritize features for your new app. No doubt your classmates will have opinions to share too, and these new perspectives will help you move forward.

“There were slides that the instructor would talk through, but discussions would quickly evolve. We’d talk through different aspects of Product Management – How to create a persona. How you create a story. How you identify your superpowers. Everyone would describe their different situations and ask real world questions. There’d be a lot of debate.”
Product School Graduate Jesus Cagide, Now Works as a PM at PayPal

Work on Your Project

Throughout your cohort, you’ll be working on an ongoing project that you will present to your instructor at the end of your course. This could be an MVP based on your own idea, a concept for an improvement to an existing product, a new feature you want to introduce at your company, or even a new procedure for gathering user feedback and analyzing data. It’s up to you!

Whatever you choose, your project will take you through the entire life-cycle, from hypothesis to execution. This will show you what it’s actually like to be a Product Manager working in a high-pressure environment.

Today, you may talk through your progress with your classmates, and ask your instructor for some feedback. Because your classmates are from a range of backgrounds, they will all bring different perspectives and maybe give you a few “aha!” moments that you wouldn’t have reached on your own.

I dug deeper into how I wrote specifications, gathered requirements and justified the reasons of how I made decisions in the past. We talked about the times when it was hard to get engineers and others on board with an idea and how I went through that.

Product School Graduate Jessica Uelmen, Got Her First Job As a Product Manager at FitBit

Grab a Virtual Coffee?

The class is over. It’s late, but you’re not tired anymore. Your mind is buzzing with the new ideas and insights that you have learned. One of your classmates suggests jumping on Zoom to brainstorm ideas. Of course, you say yes!

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When you have some downtime the next day, you may work more on your homework project. This is going to be a key asset when you start applying for real Product Management jobs because it shows that you can develop and execute ideas that stand up to scrutiny. If you have any questions, you can reach out to your instructor and peers on Slack. You’re excited to attend the next class!

“Thanks to Product School, I got to meet brilliant minds hailing from different sectors. I have a powerful network that I am moving forward with.”

Product School Graduate Parul Joshi, Product Manager at Ensa.com

Have any questions about a typical day at Product School? Contact us here. Or hit us up on Twitter, and let us know what aspect of your course you’re most excited about!

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