Right now, these courses are exclusively for Alex and Ani employees, with course fees picked up by their respective internal department, Rebelo says. “We spend between $900 and $15,100 dollars per team member [for AAU tuition], depending on their role within the organization,” Rebelo says. “We deeply commit to learning.”

Does this mean AAU courses are required?

Rebelo is sensitive to the word “required,” he says. “There’s a line of people who. . . want to take more courses, and we say, ‘Not just yet. You’re almost at the point where you can qualify for the next class.’

“It’s like owning an ice cream stand,” he adds, laughing. “Everybody wants the courses.”

But aren’t Rafaelian’s ideas on vibrations, shamans, and radioactivity at odds with the values of more traditional, established universities?

“I’m not sure that what she said [to the Times] regarding shamanism is disconnected from learning,” Rebelo says. “In fact, it’s very connected to learning. . . The best kind of research as human beings that we ever encounter is ‘me-search’: understanding one’s self. And I think that was Carolyn’s intent.”

So does he, like Rafaelian, believe Alex and Ani’s products are imbued with “energy”?

Absolutely, he says. “I couldn’t be here and not feel that the product is as she proclaims it to be.”

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