I'm Product Information Manager at home retailer west elm. Part of the copy team, I ensure that everything we say about our products is helpful, engaging and—importantly—correct. I spend a lot of time supporting seasonal launches, vetting copy, juggling last-minute changes and learning everything I can about our assortment (party trick: if you invite me over and own something from west elm, I'll be able to point it out, by name, within seconds).
Because of the altMBA program, I've stopped obsessing over finding the right answer—of doing things the right way. I've learned that while there may clearly be wrong answers, rarely in life is there one single right answer, one perfect way of tackling a problem or one best way to start a project. Lessening my focus on obtaining perfection means that I'm now more open to, and energized for, thinking creatively. This mental shift has actually increased my ability to create (and ship) something unique.
The feedback! I didn't realize how starved I was for it. Granted, we get all kinds of daily assessments from colleagues, friends and family on what we're doing, but it's often one-directional and rarely is it deep-diving or generously framed. The altMBA's feedback loop provided with me five classmates' invaluable insights on each post I published and ensured that I did the same for five others. The introspection on both sides made the feedback rich and highly insightful, never sugarcoated or unduly critical. I will never look at feedback in the same way again.
I'm approaching the concept of "purpose" differently now. Whereas I came in thinking it needed to be concrete and validated by others, I see now that the journey for me is winding and that I'm the only one who can guide it. What's more, I saw more clearly that I'm already traveling in the right direction. What's great about the program is that some classmates came in and experienced the exact opposite, deciding to completely change course. The process helps you get to the truths that are right for you.
If you're on the fence or feel trepidation about doing the altMBA, that's a pretty good indicator that you should. You'll get to work with an interesting mix of people who will inspire you in a way that you probably haven't experienced in a while.
The program dates:
altMBA16/17 Winter: January 15 – February 13, 2018
The application takes about 20 minutes to complete.