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Study Project Management for Career Freedom

From globalization to automation, many factors will impact the workplaces of the future. Given the uncertainties, it’s hard to know what the job market will look like. Which begs the question: How can you best prepare yourself with skills, knowledge, and training that will be in demand by employers? One of the best ways to future-proof your career while maximizing your opportunities is to choose a job with in-demand and transferable skills. Enter project management, which uniquely positions people for a variety of job paths. Here’s a closer look at project management studies, how they lay the groundwork for tomorrow’s career freedom for today’s graduates, and one school where you can build the foundations for your dream career.

Apr 2, 2020
  • Education
Study Project Management for Career Freedom

What is project management?

“Project management involves the planning and organization of a company's resources to move a specific task, event, or duty towards completion. It can involve a one-time project or an ongoing activity, and resources managed include personnel, finances, technology, and intellectual property,” according to Investopedia.

While fields like engineering and construction may first come to mind with mention of project management, it’s increasingly utilized in any other field, including healthcare and information technology.

Wherever it’s used, project management has the same goals: to define a project’s objective and determine the action items that need to be achieved (and by which team members) in order to reach completion. Furthermore, project management also involves creating quality control checks designed to ensure that all components attain a particular standard.

In short: project management involves seeing a project through all of its phases, from planning and initiation, to execution and monitoring, and finally to its closing. Common tasks may include deciding which skills are required; setting the budget; leading progress-tracking meetings; setting the schedule and time frame for the project and its components; deciding how and by whom the work will be completed; reporting on the project’s progress to stakeholders; and managing the culture of the project team.

Daily team meeting around agile product development board with scrum or kanban framework, lean methodology, iterative or incremental organization project management strategy for software design

While project management always has the same overarching goal, it’s important to note that not all project management methods and methodologies are the same. In fact, several different techniques are used, including traditional, waterfall, agile and lean. Also, the field benefits from knowledge and experience in many disciplines.

“This is a very interesting discipline,” says Alexandr Tovb, president of the Russian Project Management Association (‘SOVNET’), author, and editor of a professional journal on project and program management. “It is not a canon; it is a developing discipline. Ten years ago, apart from a very small number of people in programming, not many were talking about it, but now a lot of people are talking about agile methodologies. Previously, it was soft skills which were important. Then, in ten years, it will be a new trend. Project management is not a dogma.”

“People who want to be professional should have a good combination of [disciplines and skills] and the main purpose of this study of self-development is to get experience and knowledge of best practice and to get knowledge of management thinking. Even things like theatre and oratory can help.”

Many project managers also hire out as contractors, experts, and consultants, which comes with unique benefits, too. These include the freedom to choose the types of projects you will work on; the opportunity to take time off for personal development; the opportunity to get more varied experience; and the chance to network and build relationships across many companies and countries.

Project management and career freedom

If you’re looking for a career with near-endless opportunities in a diversity of sectors, look no further than project management. In fact, according to research from the Project Management Institute (PMI), there is a project management talent gap with demand for project managers growing at a much faster rate than for other jobs.

The Project Management Job Growth and Talent Gap 2017–2027 report predicts, “The project management-oriented labor force in seven project-oriented sectors is expected to grow by 33 percent, or nearly 22 million new jobs” through 2027. This means employers will need nearly 88 million people in project management roles less than a decade from now. Without them, meanwhile, the PMI predicts the creation of nearly $208 billion in GDP over the same 10-year-period.

One of the major reasons project management is future-proof is because project managers are in demand across a broad range of industries all over the world. In addition to engineering, construction, IT and healthcare, other project-oriented industries include public administration, business service, finance and insurance, oil and gas, manufacturing, utilities industries, logistics, education, the space industry, marketing and branding, and event management.

Another future-proof element of project management? Studies and work in this area cultivate the development of critical transferable skills. These include time management and organization, verbal and written communications, research, finance, problem analysis and solving, and the ability to work as part of a team. All of these skills will continue to come in handy throughout your career across all sectors.

Gaining the inside edge in project management

We’ve established that project managers will be in demand, but all project managers are not created equal. Only the most qualified professionals will find themselves with their pick of jobs. Studying project management can help you establish yourself at the front of the crowd. The State University of Management’s International Project Management for Business Leaders (IPMBL) master’s program is designed to do exactly that.

The State University of Management, which recently celebrated its 100th birthday, is one of Russia’s largest state universities. Specializing in training managers, it comprises more than 10,000 students from Russia as well as from all over the world across 45 bachelor’s programs, 25 master’s programs, and more than 30 professional development programs.

IPMBL is a full-time, 18-month program. Developed and delivered by a highly qualified international team of teachers from top universities through Russia, Europe, and East Asia, this English-taught program seeks to provide the next generation of project management specialists across all spheres of business. By bringing together people from all over the world, the IPMBL creates a unique, cross-cultural environment which prioritizes the exchange of experience and knowledge during the development of new professional competencies.

“This university was one of our founders,” adds Alexandr Tovb, who has twice been elected as vice-president of the IPMA and worked with the State University of Management as president of the Russian Project Management Association. “This is a university with some history. They have this historical experience and it is very important for project management that they are leading at this discipline, which is a combination of management and industry knowledge. That is from my point of view their USP; that’s the focus.”

“It is very well developed from an infrastructure view -- it has a very good campus. In addition to history and infrastructure, there are young people who have drive and energy to look at all these goals from the modern point of view -- to look at things such as industry 4.0 and digitalization. Its alumni are very, very mature professionals who are making their careers happen.”

Meanwhile, Ilya Vinokurov, Head of Department of Project Management in Public Sector in the Analytical Center of Russia's government, also has high praise for the IPMBL program. Since 2014, he and his colleagues have worked on the development of project-based culture in public organizations, holding various events on training civil servants on project management. For seven years in a row they have organized the Project Olympus contest, gathering hundreds of participants to show their achievements in project management. Last year, the State University was one of the medalists in the competition.

“This is logical since the university has been developing project competencies among its employees for a long time and is teaching students about project management,” he says. “And I’m sure that the new International Project Management for Business Leaders master's program will significantly expand the circle of true project management professionals.”

“I think that a serious advantage of the program is the involvement of real practitioners of project activities as consultants and invited teachers who have already achieved success in their field of activity. Fortunately, or unfortunately, aspects of the practical application of the knowledge are often far from what they write in books, and students who receive valuable practical advice can save a ton of time and money in their future work. At the program, you will learn a lot of new, interesting practical solutions and approaches, methods and tools.”

“I am glad that the university is launching the program. project management is a necessary skill in the modern world, especially for people in leadership positions. I am sure that graduates of this program will take a worthy place in the leadership of companies, and the knowledge gained will allow them to achieve new levels of effectiveness.”

So the sky is the limit in the field of project management and the opportunities are endless -- if you have the right background, skills and training, that is. Russia’s State University of Management’s IPMBL master’s program offers a unique and exciting route towards students career goals.

Article written in association with the State University of Management.

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State University of Management
Joanna Hughes

Author

Joanna worked in higher education administration for many years at a leading research institution before becoming a full-time freelance writer. She lives in the beautiful White Mountains region of New Hampshire with her family.

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