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altMBA - A month later

It’s been about a month since I finished the altMBA. Was it worth the $3850 dollars that Seth Godin asks for it?

In one word:

Yes.

In more words:

I took the altMBA because I felt a bit stuck in my life. I had a hard time deciding what to pursue and with what intensity.

On the one hand I have a great job and career path as a Software Engineer. And on the other hand I have lots of side projects and tons of ideas, but I never seem to really stick with one long enough.

I’ve come to terms with that, part of it is just who I am. But what the altMBA has shown me is that I can use that as a place to hide. It’s given me some tools to make better decisions without feeling attached to the outcome. It’s given me a network of people who care about what I set out to do and are keeping me accountable.

As a result, I’ve now decided to focus on the following:

  1. Health: Creating good habits and breaking bad habits to improve my quality of life.

  2. My Job at Giant Swarm: It’s a great place for me to apply and practice the things I’ve learned.

  3. Public Speaking - Overcoming a fear, opening new doors and career opportunities.

  4. Game development - I need side projects, and game dev is a personal passion.

I came to the realisation that improving my health should be my top priority. I knew this already on some level, but the altMBA helped me to really internalise this and to take it seriously. I realised that the cost of not fixing my back pain, my overweightedness and overall low fitness level would have huge repercussions for me later in life.

My key takeaway from the altMBA is that coaching and leadership are not difficult, but they require a lot of practice and experience. And you can apply leadership and coaching to yourself. Self leadership is totally a thing.

You might have experienced that getting asked the right question at the right time can open up a whole world of growth and realisation. By participating in the altMBA you’ll have a chance to receive such a question at least 3 times a week. Just as importantly, you can practice coming up with such questions for as long as you have the stamina. If you ever wanted to practice empathy, deep listening, and coaching in general, then the altMBA is a fantastic place to do that.

Now when you ask a question like ‘was the altMBA worth it’, you might really be asking ‘what is the return on investment?’. Or in other words: ‘Did you get back more than the $3850 dollars you put in?’

Only one month later, it’s too early to tell. It might sound like I paid $3850 just to realise I need to go to the gym every now and then. But it’s much more than that. Of course I knew that I needed exercise. That’s not what the altMBA taught me.

If I manage to stick with my goals, then I think the altMBA is truly a bargain. If I could pay $3850 to instantly become the fit, focused, confident and productive version of me that I’m trying to become I would. The truth is there is no shortcut and I have to work at it daily. That might be something you can realise without having to take the altMBA. For me though, being surrounded by generous and caring people and really engaging with the prompts helped me to taking certain things more seriously.

I believe that the altMBA is as good of an investment as you make it.

I know that’s a bit of a cop out, but the altMBA is not an asset and it’s not a well known university name that will get you into a high paying career path. So doing the return on investment math isn’t as straightforward.

I think the altMBA gives you a set of tools that you can apply at work and in your personal life. It gives you a chance to try out the tools right away, and to see others trying them out too. You are then asked to comment on how they did, and to help them use the tools in a better way. Finally you’re asked to reflect on how well you used the tool yourself. This cycle, which repeats 3 times a week is a fantastic way to learn something. I was always a hands on learner, so this was a really great way to start learning these ‘soft skills’ in a practical way.

The tools you get will help you with the following topics:

  • Decision-making
  • Operating under ambiguity
  • Understanding worldviews
  • Risk-taking
  • Critical thinking
  • Storytelling
  • Marketing
  • Strategy
  • Driving innovation
  • Securing buy-in
  • Management
  • Making change happen

(From: https://altmba.com/info)

The questions you have to ask yourself are:

  • Do you need these tools? Are the ones you have right now already sharp enough?
  • Will you use these tools? Will you take the time to learn how to use them? Will you maintain them?
  • What do you want to use these tools for? What changed that you now want to get better at one or all of these things?

For me this will be an ongoing journey. The altMBA might have finished, but a new phase has started!