The altMBA – Advice to future students from an Atlanta alum, Kristen Green

This article was written by Heatherlee Nguyen and originally published on LinkedIn

To kick off a great new year I will be challenged to do more and be more than I ever thought to before. In one week I start the altMBA. I get to work with 99 crazy interesting professionals from all over the world. I get to push myself and my ideas while learning from Seth Godin’s team of coaches.

I’m thrilled! Since I got the news I've been all over Twitter checking out the scene. And when Kristen Green's face showed up several times I wanted to meet her. Kristen's freshly minted project, ATL 1X1, totally struck a chord with me. And she graciously let me interview her about her experience. (Read on for a full shout out to her cause). Not only did I want to share some insight about this program with all of you, I wanted to get as much advice as I could about joining this tribe. Kristen Green was part of the inaugural altMBA class in June of 2015. In a nutshell, here are some things I learned about the program from her.

The altMBA: 
• Is a refining process
• It gives you new perspective
• It's very self-initiated
• It's long nights, early mornings, and exhausting
• It's 31 days of pressure cooker
• It will refine the way you work 

The biggest thing that I got from Kristen and the other alumni is that …this program is transformative. The altMBA helps people turn risk into opportunity, leaders into change makers and fear into confidence. Sounds like a good thing right? Let's hear more about the altMBA from Kristen herself...

 

It is a refining process, with personal impact. 

I was able to learn from all these rockstars in the program, hone my skills and break out of an invisible rut. It exceeded my expectations by giving me new tools, reinvigorating me, creating an awesome network of colleagues that I can still rely on for feedback and encouragement.

It gives you a new perspective. 

As we worked through the 13 projects over the 31 days, I had a new perspective on how to take what I was passionate about and turn it into something tangible. Plus, I also learned that shipping consistently and constantly is imperative.

Good ideas aren’t always popular at first. The colleagues you surround yourself with are very indicative of the product that you’ll be able to create.

It's very self-initiated. 

You will have coaches, but they intentionally step back after a couple weeks to allow for peer-to-peer interactions to takeover. All of that to say, if you do find the answers to your questions they will come from hard fought work with yourself and your peers. Not from a lecture or class type environment.

Honestly, I’ve found that most people know the answers they just need some blank space, encouragement and a pressure cooker effect to help them rise to the surface and be refined. So batten down the hatches, because you’ll be crazy busy and exhausted.

It's long nights and early mornings, and you'll be exhausted. 

It’s a lot. No way to sugar coat that. You know that phrase ‘eating the elephant one bite at a time’ ... well this is actually eating the elephant in one meal. Lots to read. Lots to process. Lots to write. Lots and lots and lots of writing. If you struggle to churn out quality content at a fast pace, then this course will stress you out. But if your writing flows freely then that’s a benefit.

Extracurriculars are not a thing during this month. 

Neither are hanging out with your VIP people like family, etc. It’s a heads down kind of experience, but it’s only 31 days. You can do anything for a month, and I think it’s worth the short sacrifice of time.

I would just encourage you to warn those closest to you and maybe prep your boss that you’ll need to be more rigid about what time you leave work for this window of time. But tell them that they’ll be getting a better version of you when it’s done.


It will refine the way you work.

It has taught me that constantly shipping is vital, because it’s like muscle memory. I learned that professional failures will inevitably happen, but professional perfection is the result of iteration (aka shipping).

Is this sparking your interest? Kristen revealed that Seth and his team aren't looking for a particular background or professional standing to get accepted into the altMBA, they just want people who will work hard and who have good intent.

 

If you had to describe the one defining characteristic of your classmates, what would it be? 

Drive. We all had different things driving us. But at the end of the day we all had that extra oomph that helped push us to create what we were creating at an insane pace.

Do you have to have a particular background? 

Definitely not. They are looking for passion, intent and work ethic. They just want people that are willing to put in the long hours, tough conversations and grit to produce a great product for themselves, their team and the world.

What's your advice for future altMBA students?

I encourage people to pursue the altMBA program, because it’s a refining process. Whatever your goals or objectives or cause or business, it makes you better at that thing. Being in a pressure cooker of brilliance with other people who are focused on specific goals with the same timelines produces great things - no matter what.

There will be bumps in the road, but the transformation of yourself and your work are well worth the input of effort.

Read all the books before class starts!!! 

Once you begin meeting with your team, reading the books becomes a joke unless you never want to sleep.

With that... I look forward to meeting my cohorts and making a ruckus! Stay tuned to hear about my experience. Huge thank you and cheers to Kristen as she continues to do work that matters!

 

 

ATL 1X1 is a passion project Kristen Green created to inform the citizens of Atlanta of social issues that exist; to provoke conversation amongst our communities of how we can respond; and to inspire all of us to take action and help others one by one.