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The Best Business Schools for a Career in Project Management

Project Management

Broadly defined by the Project Management Institute, project management is “the application of knowledge, skills, tools, and techniques … to meet a project’s requirements.”

A successful project comes to fruition only with the leadership of someone who is trained in time management, resource allocation, negotiation, conflict resolution, and budget planning. These are all skills one can acquire with a project management focused MBA.

A major benefit of this specialty is the wide variety of fields in which it can be applied: data analysis, software development, architecture, construction, engineering, and sales all currently have high demand for talented project managers. Businesses of every size and scope may require this role, from startups to multinational corporations. So, an MBA with a project management focus is an obvious asset.

The Best Business Schools for a Career in Project Management

Penn State University’s Graduate Certificate in Project Management at the Smeal College of Business offers valuable openings for a PM career. The interdisciplinary, 12 credit program uses a problem-based learning model that gives students the theoretical and practical foundation they need to emerge into a competitive job market.

Students can customize their studies based on the framework of topics like cost and value management, commercial law and project procurement, organizational theory, and corporate strategy. The stand-alone PM Certificate, while valuable on its own, is best combined with an MBA or Master’s for the widest range of opportunities.

The Lehigh University College of Business and Economics offers a Project Management program within its part-time Flex MBA degree. A good fit for professionals who want to improve growth potential without interruption to their current careers, this concentration consists of 12 credits. Courses proceed from the fundamentals on through to scheduling, estimating and budgeting, risk management, decision making and ethics, and advanced scheduling and tracking tools.

Lehigh’s program culminates in a capstone module which affords students the opportunity to demonstrate their skills within a real world project or approved case study.

The forthcoming Flex MBA at Georgetown University’s McDonough School of Business, to be launched in fall 2019, features a project management component. Offered in a 28-60 month duration, the program begins with a foundational course before advancing to the elective portion where students can hone in on the specialty.

Georgetown’s PM module is within the Operations and Information Management Electives portion of the Flex MBA.

Boston University’s Questrom School of Business offers a Project Management curriculum via several different delivery methods. The MS, MS in Computer Information Systems, and a Graduate Certificate all have a PM concentration. MBAs may find any of these to be valuable courses of study, but the Graduate Certificate is the most efficient way to integrate into MBA studies.

BU students in the program learn elements of project communications, mega-project governance, software development, project planning and control, methodologies of effective leadership and motivation, and management of project quality and procurement.

Looking out west, Golden Gate University offers a project management concentration in its MBA program, along with a graduate certificate in both PM fundamentals and practices. Budgeting, communication, strategic resource management, leadership and team building are all part of the skill set one can earn during their studies.

GGU focuses on the potential of graduates to manage local, global and outsourced projects. The degree offers online options, a wide network of alumni, and a leading financial aid package.

According to PayScale, a PM can make a median salary of $72,000 USD to start, and $109,000 at the higher end.

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About the Author

Maggie Boccella
Maggie Boccella

Maggie Boccella, a lifelong resident of Philadelphia, is a freelance writer, artist and photographer. She has consulted on various film and multimedia projects, and she also serves as a juror for the city's annual LGBTQIA Film Festival.

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