Pros: Great environment, phenomenal network, amazing camaraderie. In just 10 weeks of the Product Management Immersive (PMI) you can go from a newbie to someone who's well-versed in all things PM. You work through five projects in that time period, including... Read More
For the ten weeks you're in, your class, your teams and General Assembly community are your family and your world. Post-grad - that's your go-to network in case of anything. And I mean it. You do not stop being a part of that community just because you graduated.
Instructors are experienced veterans in the field and impart a great deal of pragmatic/working/applicable knowledge to their students. They also push you a lot. It's not called a bootcamp for nothing. Practical exercises are abundant in every lecture and the learned skills are solidified through projects.
GA has a producer for everything: admissions, course, outcomes (job coaching and recruitment). Those are the people that help you progress from start to job.
We had a chance to present (and defend) out final projects (a full-scale site) at an industry night in front of a panel of industry experts. Additionally, there's a Meet & Greet event upon completion of the program where employers come in to look at your projects and you get a chance to network with them.
Cons: PMI is a relatively new GA program as compared to others (as of the date of this writing - 08/11/2015). There are some curriculum glitches, as the instructors are still trying to adjust it to the needs of every new cohort. Sometimes there was too much information provided which could not be properly soaked into our already exhausted minds. Having said that - everybody has their strengths, whether from prior experience or personal acumen, and some topics might be easier or harder for you specifically. The classmates help each other to catch up on whatever is needed (see "camaraderie" above).
Job coaches are very helpful, but overworked. They teach and assist you regularly, while during especially hectic weeks (like meet and greet weeks) it might be tough to get a hold of them. Nevertheless, these guys are extremely knowledgeable and very amicable. You come out with a great professionally looking resume, a GA profile (don't underestimate the GA profile) and a LinkedIn page worth mentioning.
Conclusion: PMI at GA is an outstanding program overall. Even with a few problems, you get highly rich pragmatic education that manages to compress years-worth of MBA, design schools and project management training into a 10-week program, and with better results. Additionally, you get into a very entrepreneurial/startup spirit during the course. Business development does not seem like a scary arcane monster anymore after you learn as much as you can in PMI: it's just a collection of processes for which you have now been endowed with a set of practicable tools.
The burning question: the job search. I know this is one of the major concerns for every bootcamp applicant and attendee. It's been a couple of weeks since the graduation and I'm applying in batches. So far I have some interviews coming up and replies from companies about when they'll beefing up their staff ranks (it's August, and many companies wait for fall budget approvals). Some of my classmates either already got into an internship through their client project connections or going through rounds of interviews.
During the course we had a number of panels with former students who either currently working or interning as product managers or in similar positions. Similar, that is because product managers are often not called product managers in many companies. You have to go by job descriptions. It might be strategists, marketing managers, producers, and whatnot.
GA has its own job board, which appears to be effective since I've got a couple of interviews out of it coming up this week. Following advices of career coaches seems to help a lot in getting interviews.
The bottomline from lessons of those who've done it before us is you really need to network and ACTIVELY search for the job. Unless you are independently wealthy and can afford a nice year-long vacation. Good for you, I say, good for you.