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- Scott Galloway is an NYU professor, entrepreneur, and author. He also hosts a popular podcast called Pivot with Kara Swisher.
- I've been a follower of Scott for the last couple of years. I read his book The Four and have been listening to Pivot since it launched. Most recently, he became well known as one of the major critics of WeWork's business model ahead of its unsuccessful IPO.
- When I saw that he was offering an online course, via his company, Prof G, to the public that covered a lot of his insights around what makes a successful company, I immediately signed up.
- Unfortunately, there was a waitlist for the course, so I didn't get into the first one, but when the next class opened up, I jumped to sign up for it. The course is currently taking students for the October class, and if that sells out, you can join the waitlist.
Scott Galloway is a well-known investor, entrepreneur, and NYU professor. He's famous for his research on four of the biggest tech companies, Google, Facebook, Amazon, and Apple. More recently, Professor Galloway (or Prof G) was a major critic of WeWork's failed IPO and voiced his support for breaking up big tech companies.
When I saw that Scott was teaching a two-week business strategy course through his company, Prof G, I immediately wanted to take it. I don't have an MBA because some advice I got early in my career was that you should only go to business school if you want to change industries or your company requires it to continue getting promoted. Neither of those scenarios apply to me, so I've decided to save the money. But I have always been curious about whether or not I'm missing out.
The course costs $750, so it is certainly more expensive than other online courses that you can take elsewhere on platforms like Coursera and edX. But in the context of an MBA, it presents a very decent value exchange. I was happy to spend $750 to get a piece of what others would pay upward of $100,000 to receive.
If you want to learn from a well-known business professor about how the most successful companies of the 20th and 21st centuries got to where they are now, this is a great course.
What you get with the class
The lessons themselves are great, taking about 30 minutes each to watch. But is five hours of video worth $750? I know it sounds wild, but this is how I thought about it before I paid for the course. (Note: I paid for the course, but depending on where you work and how the course relates to your job, it's worth checking with your company to see if you may be eligible for reimbursement.) Here's why I felt it was worth the money.
If you listen to Scott anywhere you can find him, then you know that his way of thinking about business is unique, and I value the insights. He's spent a lot of time studying the most valuable companies in the world, and the way he thinks about marketing, branding, and their business models now and in the future always gives me a new perspective. He is not always right with his predictions, but even when they don't come true, they're still insightful.
He's also an incredibly engaging personality and teacher, so five hours of him talking about the characteristics of trillion-dollar companies (he calls it the T-algorithm) made me think about the company I work for differently. If you are a regular listener of any of his podcasts, you may hear some of the same topics and themes discussed. But even considering that, I still took quite a bit away from the course that you couldn't otherwise get without spending hours listening to him and piecing it together.
The case studies, which include companies like Spotify, Tesla, McKinsey, Netflix, Restoration Hardware, Spotify, Waze, Away, and Shopify, drive home the points and make the examples more digestible for the real world.
And while the course itself is a great learning experience, what I really enjoyed was the way Prof G was able to create a classroom feel for several hundred students. A few days before the class starts, you get invited to a group Slack channel where you and your classmates can discuss the lessons, case studies, and final project.
Students from the course when I took it were from tons of different countries and industries, so it was great to see the discussion around the lessons and how they applied to everyone's various companies and industries. The attendees worked at a range of different company sizes, too, from the big technology companies down to one-person startups.
I loved the Q&A section at the end of the two live-streamed lessons because it's Scott reacting in real-time to the groups' thoughtful questions. Scott's team also posts videos of him in the Slack channels sending encouraging messages to the students.
I do want to be very clear, though, this class teaches you a framework for how to think about business in general, the business you work for, or the business you may want to start or run. It is not a shortcut to building a successful company, nor is it a full MBA. The hard part comes after, which is to take these themes and apply them to your real-world scenario. And you may find that not all of them are applicable. That said, I've been working for 10 years, and I felt that if I had taken this class earlier in my career, I might have been able to think differently about some of the choices that I made.
After the class, you have access to your course materials and Slack groups for several months. I made some great connections in my study group. In the general channels where everyone could chat as a group, I watched people at various stages of their careers ask what it would take to get jobs at big companies like Google or Amazon. I'd see them get directly connected with people within those organizations who were also part of the group. No guarantees if you take this class you'll be in the same section as employees from any of these companies, but my feeling was the type of people attracted to this class are the ones who want to have an impact.
I don't have an MBA and don't have any plans to get one, so this is probably the closest thing to a business school class I will ever see. As more and more talented people take this course, I hope The Prof G School will be able to create networking opportunities. It's still very early, but I could see that being possible.
Let's compare this course to the traditional business school model:
- A network of smart and interesting people, check.
- Insights into top companies, check.
- A framework to apply the knowledge in the real world, check.
- Cost: $750 versus ~$5,000 ($140,000 NYU Stern School of Business tuition divided by the estimated number of classes taken).
The bottom line
So, if you've read this far, you might wonder, is this the course for you? I feel like anyone could get something out of it, even if you're just curious about big businesses. But for the people who want to make a difference at their companies or start one eventually, this is a great resource. As more people take this course, it will be a great way to connect and network with other interesting people too.
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