Project management involves planning, gathering, and organization of resources necessary for the successful execution of projects. The task of a project manager is to achieve project objectives and to ensure the completion of the project within the prescribed time frame and the prescribed budget.
Masters in Project Management allows student to merge business principles with project management strategies. Students learn the following skills from this degree:
They learn to plan and manage complex projects, using industry tools and techniques.
They learn to incorporate change during the lifecycle of a project.
They acquire skills to deal with cross-cultural, political, and social issues impacting international projects.
They learn how to lead and work with diverse groups of people.
They also gain awareness about incorporating ethics in their communications and activities.
Although, admission requirements for the degree can vary from one institute to another, following are some of the key admission requirements.
Bachelor’s degree from an accredited college or university
Transcripts from all educational institutes attended
Resume, statement of purpose, and letters of recommendation
Standardized test scores such as GRE or GMAT
IELTS or TOEFL scores required from international applicants
Program Structure and Coursework
A master of project management typically takes two years to complete. However, the duration can vary from one institute to another. It is important that prospective students who wish to pursue a Master of Project Management have an undergraduate degree. Candidates with work experience are preferred. Leadership qualities and good communication skills are a pre-requisite. Students are able to consolidate their knowledge of the various stages in the life cycle of a project. They are able to develop crucial problem solving skills essential to overcome various challenges effectively and efficiently. In addition to a final project, students may take the following courses:
Enterprise Risk Management
This course enables students to study management issues related to assessing risk environments present in both private and public sectors. It includes topics such as elements of risk assessment and operational continuity, project management framework of planning, organizing, and controlling. Students also learn about the role of firms in crisis management and response. Besides, they study systems and interactions that are vital for operations.
This course introduces project management students to the concepts, methods, and problems of accounting and financial analysis. Some of major topics in the course include accounting principles, financial statement analysis, measurement and disclosure issues, time value of money, cash flow projection and analysis, capital budgeting and project evaluation, cost of capital and capital structure, and bond and equity valuation.
This course examines how businesses can use internet and web technology effectively. It covers topics such as ecommerce procedures, payment methods, applications in different sectors of the industry, security, challenges of starting and maintaining electronic businesses, and comparison with traditional businesses.
Quantitative and Qualitative Decision Making
This course allows students to explore decision making and policy formulation in organizations. Key course topics include goal setting and planning process, rational models of decision making, evaluation of different options, decision trees, cost benefit analysis, uncertainty and risk assessment, prediction of results, and procedures for evaluating outcomes.
Careers in Project Management
In addition to getting a college degree, project managers need to have some relevant work experience. Graduates can get work experience with the help of internships, co-op experience, or via paid jobs. Essential skills for project managers include good oral and written communication skills, strong interpersonal and decision making skills, and multi-tasking skills. Project managers must be able to work under pressure and adapt to changes, because things rarely go as initially planned. Following include some of the key careers available in the project management field:
Project coordinators or facilitators work directly under a project manager. They are responsible for overseeing a certain aspect of a project such as organizing meetings, handling materials, or overseeing team members. Graduates who land a job as a project coordinator can work their way up to become executive level project manager. This job is the first step to becoming a project manager.
New Product Development Manager
Individuals with new ideas, an analytical mind, and love for challenging work can enjoy working as product development managers. New product development managers are not only interested in the development of a product but they also have to pay attention to its commercial and marketing aspect as well.
Manufacturing and construction are some of the most common fields for project managers, so acquiring experience in this field can be quite fruitful for graduates. Depending on the size and scope of the project, the role of a project manager can vary in the construction industry. Project managers are involved in both small and large projects. They have to work closely with architects and contractors on larger projects, while on smaller projects they have one-on-one interaction with builders.
Information Technology Manager
Information technology is a relatively new career for project managers. Many large corporations require IT departments to deliver a product or perform duties in an efficient and cost effective way. A number of large corporations prefer project managers with an IT background. IT project managers require a very specific skill set and a computer science background can be very helpful in the field.
Many companies do not need full time project managers or coordinators. Individuals, who like to work on case-by-case basis and want to work on newer projects, can consider starting their own consulting firm. As a freelance project manager, they can have the freedom to work on projects of their choice and can select projects that are more appealing and rewarding for them. Another option for them is to join an already established consulting group, which can help with experience and skills.