Why You Shouldn’t Get a Master’s Degree for Project Management

by Josh

by jameskm03 via Flickr

Let me explain.

I receive many questions from my Project Management Career Newsletter about degrees.

  • Should I get an MBA or a Master’s degree in Project Management?
  • I have a BS or BA in an unrelated discipline.  Should I go back to school for an advanced business or PM degree?
  • I just got laid off.  Should I go back to school for a Master’s degree?

All great questions.

Education is Never Wasted

If you apply yourself while learning, and apply your learning while working.

Let me get this straight.  I’m not against higher education.  Not at all.

But here’s the deal. It’s easy to see that everyone who undertakes an advanced degree is going to get at least some benefit from doing so.

The nuance comes from the ROI of a particular degree in your chosen discipline and industry, and if the degree is in line with your career goals.

Too many people get a degree so they are at least “doing something” to better themselves.

For the Wrong Reasons

Too many times I see good people who start running down a particular path without having first decided their purpose and goals.

It would be like starting on a project without understanding why you are doing it, or what it is you hope to see as the end result.  It’s jumping to the “how” before figuring out the “why” and “what” in concrete terms.

Write it Down

What I recommend in my Project Management Career Coaching course is to write some things down and make them explicit.  It’s a minimal investment in time to plan your career, and well worth it.

It is uncomfortable however. For some reason long-range planning always is.  I created some worksheets in the course specifically to help make the process less painful.  They are part of a methodology for assessing your starting point, what you hope to achieve and why, and formulating a plan of attack.

Regardless of whether or not you are starting with blank sheet of paper or one of my series of worksheets, write it down.  Make it explicit for yourself.  You owe this to yourself.

  1. Take a deep breath and some time to get clear on a 10-year goal.  I mean crystal.  Write a few paragraphs about your role, the people you work with, your office, salary, benefits, how many hours you work per week, where you live, etc.
  2. From that 10-year goal, start working back and doing 5, 3, 2, and 1-year goals.  Again, crystal clear.
  3. Now formulate the “how” with specific activities you will need to do to achieve those goals.
  4. Execute
  5. Rinse and repeat annually (your goals will change over time as you progress and learn more)

Does Higher Education Fit?

Maybe yes, maybe no.

I see a 4-year undergraduate degree (in something) as the pre-requisite for most organizations for a project manager or line manager.

Frankly, in most cases my opinion is that working hard to land a job even as a junior project manager is going to pay dividends for your career more so than a Master’s degree in Project Management or an MBA.  That is, if your goal is to be a project manager in the short term.

Plus you avoid that student loan debt.

If your 10-year goal includes a higher level executive position, then perhaps a Master’s degree is going to be part of the requirements.  Even so, do you have to go back to school immediately?

If your plans in the next 1-5 years don’t require the advanced degree, I’ll argue you are better off starting a savings account for that education at a  a future date.  Avoid the debt, or at least some of it.  In the meantime, focus on gaining experience.  And more experience.  And more.

Experience Rules

I also talk to many of you who have an advanced degree, even a degree in Project Management, with little or no experience actually managing projects.

With everything else equal, I’d rather hire someone who has 2 years of experience managing projects and no advanced degree, than someone with a Master’s in Project Management and no experience actually doing it.

In project management, experience rules.

A primary focus of the Project Management Career Coaching course I produce is (after you’ve figured out why and what) how to land a project management position.  This is because I want you to gain experience managing projects.  

It’s the best way to learn, and the biggest boon to your value in the job market.

Leave a Comment

{ 141 comments… read them below or add one }

Dave Gordon May 3, 2011 at 1:28 pm

I had been managing projects for quite a few years when I finally started an MS in IT, specializing in project management. I would not have learned as much as a newbie, and I wouldn’t have benefited at all if I had never managed a project. As a mid-career boost, a graduate degree is hard to beat, assuming you’re planning to move into roles with greater responsibilities.


Josh May 3, 2011 at 3:34 pm

That is a great point Dave. After you’ve been in the trenches for awhile, you get a better idea about what value higher education could have for you, and a better idea of where it fits into your career goals.

Thanks for the great comment!


Demarley September 10, 2013 at 6:34 am

Dave where did you do your MS in IT Project Management? I have earnestly been looking for a good school to pursue this degree. You can contact me at I will certainly appreciate your feedback and guidance. Thanks!


DrPDG September 10, 2013 at 7:38 am

Demarly, if you Google on “masters degree” and “IT project management” you will get literally thousands of hits on Universities all around the world which offer “specialty” degrees in “project management”.

Frankly speaking, I think the only meaningful advanced degrees in project management are those dedicated to specialties are worth considering.

One other specialty application which has been around since the mid to late 1940′s are:
Undergraduate, Graduate and Post Grad degrees in Construction Project Management

Take a look at those programs and you can get some idea of what I believe the future of advanced degrees in applied project management will ultimately end up becoming, for I believe that project management is very much contextual, and that “one size does not fit all applications”.

Dr. PDG, Singapore


Demarley September 10, 2013 at 8:03 am

Dr. PDG,

The construction field is not really my forte, however I understanding what you are saying. I have a BSc in Accounting and a BSc in Computer Information Systems, about 15yrs in IT and I am currently an IT Auditor. I was thinking about pursuing a degree in IT Project Management as a means of eventually acquiring a senior position and I am trying to stay within the IT field versus doing financial accounting. I’m open to your thoughts on this.


DrPDG September 10, 2013 at 8:23 am

Hi Demarley,
I wasn’t suggesting that you change to construction project management, I was only using that as an example of the direction I suspect other specialties will head in. Meaning your strategy was, IMPO a sound one.

If you follow my advice about Googling on those specific terms, I am confident you will find many universities who are offering specialties in IT project management. (i.e. Stevens Institute offers a specialty degree in Project Management for Telecommunications and Embry Riddle offers an specialty degree in project management for Aerospace and there are literally hundreds of unis which offer degrees in Construction project management)

Bottom line- keep looking around. I know what you are looking for exists and the only question is whether there is one near enough to you (assuming it requires face to face classes) and within your budget.

Dr. PDG, Singapore


Demarley September 10, 2013 at 10:24 am

Dr. PDG, I greatly appreciate your advice. Thank you and have a wonderful blessed day!


Dave Gordon September 10, 2013 at 2:43 pm

I studied with Capella, and if you are self-motivated and good at learning on your own, I recommend it highly.


Demarley September 17, 2013 at 11:50 am


If you had to do it all over again would you do a Master in IT Project Management or IT System Security? I am looking at two degrees

DrPDG, you can comment as well.

A bit indecisive but will appreciate any guidance.



Dave Gordon September 22, 2013 at 11:01 pm

Hi Demarley,

There are a lot of career paths and organizations where an IT project management degree makes sense, but I would only pursue an MS in IT specializing in security management if I had at least two years in an IT security management position, and I was in an organization with a CISO career path.


Kristen May 4, 2011 at 8:56 am

Great points, both in the article and in the comments.

I agree an undergrad is important for most jobs. Let’s face it, a high school degree isn’t going to get you far. BUT, with an undergrad it’s a bit different (and expected in business).

After that experience rules.

I like how Dave explained it further: specializing AFTER getting the basics under his belt.


Josh May 4, 2011 at 3:25 pm

Absolutely Kristen. Thanks for the comment!


Chet Frame May 5, 2011 at 9:56 am

I use a visualization of the retirement speech as the goal for the long term plan. It gets people thinking about who they want around them and what they have to do to balance their lives. I also nudge people in the direction of professional certifications before they go for additional degrees. It is a lower cost way for them to get something that adds to their knowledge base in a practical world, adds to their resume in a salable way, and it adds to their self confidence and respect as they can get something of value through their own hard work. It may also give them added insight into what path they want to take toward the fictional gold watch.


Josh May 7, 2011 at 4:22 pm

Good stuff Chet. As you eluded to, the key thing is getting enough exposure and experience to figure out what you REALLY want to do.


Travis Anderson May 7, 2011 at 2:53 pm

It is not necessarily about the degree as much as the journey of obtaining knowledge in an area of personal interest. Never lose your curiosity and passion for learning something new. I do agree that it is important to have personal objectives both near term and long term. Taking the Stephen Covey approach is optimal guidance. However, life is dynamic so it can be hard sometimes to adhere to a static set of objectives. Remember to remain flexible and include your spouse or loved ones on determining success factors for obtaining your objectives. Just like on our projects, buy in is critical.



Josh May 7, 2011 at 4:21 pm

Thanks for the great tidbits Travis! What exactly do you mean by the “Stephen Covey” approach in this context?


Travis Anderson May 9, 2011 at 9:50 pm

Stephen Covey has a personal workbook that goes with the 7 habits. He provides a means for individuals to write down specific goals, paradigms, etc…. much to your topic of “Write it down” from above. This is great advice.

If people are looking for a format, this workbook is very helpfull. My favorite part is the “Circle of Influence/Circle of Concern”. We all face many problems in a given day, our health, our children, the national debt, etc… Some of these problems we can influence and we cannot. So I try to tacitly focus on those things I can influence. I never really write it down as you suggest, but I do apply a lot of brain cells on this topic. In my case I did get a Masters as you know. Obtaining this goal was something I could influence and is in line with my long term goal of becoming a Sr. Exectutive.


Josh May 11, 2011 at 5:15 pm

Excellent stuff Travis! A perfect example of how a Masters Degree can be just the thing for some career goals, and not so much for others. The Masters Degree is going to be a prerequisite for the role of a Sr. Executive.

In my case, being a Sr. Executive is not part of my career goals. I want to continue managing projects and training other project managers in the discipline.

Excellent additions to the conversation as always Travis!


Spencer Tesoh September 10, 2011 at 4:49 am

Hi Josh,

I have spent the whole night researching the best Masters/MBA programs in Project Mgt. Then I came to this blog and have been reading on an on. I see interesting input here.

I am new in the US with some project/business experience but no indept Project Management experience. However, while I face a lot of challenges in the US job market because of my foreign degree, with a BSc in Management, I thought the best bet for me would be to go back to school. Project management has always been the dream for me especially with my great organizational skills, and I leave the part where you say you want to continue managing projects and training other project managers. I have been very good and transmitting knowledge and skills to others and working with people in the respect is quite interesting.

Well, while I still hope that I can make it, I would like to speak with you to give me some advise. My email address is

Thank you and I look forward to speaking with you.


DrPDG September 10, 2011 at 5:42 am

Hi Spencer,
You may want to read over this bit of research I have done on behavioral profiles of “successful” project managers-

A lot of people THINK they would like to be project managers, but don’t have the personality likely to succeed. One of the biggest is project managers generally do NOT crave stability…… The very objective of a project manager is to work him or herself out of a job as quickly and as efficiently as possible. This runs counter to most peoples concept of “self preservation”…….

And I suspect with the concept of a “real job” becoming even less likely in today’s world than it used to be, I think a lot of people are going to be shocked when faced with the prospect of being on a project and NOT knowing what will happen at the end of it- whether they will or will not have anymore work……

Consider taking the HA instrument against the Project Manager profile to see how you score……

Dr. PDG, Jakarta, Indonesia


Josh September 11, 2011 at 4:02 pm

In addition to what Paul responded with, I don’t recommend an advanced degree as the best way to get started in the field. Rather, I advise you focus on gaining experience and landing an entry job. In 3-5 years you’ll have a better idea if project management is right for you, and if it makes sense to go for higher education.

In terms of coaching for landing that job, my online course is just the thing:


DrPDG September 11, 2011 at 7:37 pm

Hi Again, Spencer,
Let me second Josh’s point on the importance of getting experience and establishing your name (“brand image”) as a project manager who gets things done.

In the end, experience (provided you are successful) will trump both certifications and degrees…….

Dr. PDG, Jakarta, Indonesia


Spencer October 26, 2011 at 7:56 pm

Thank you both for you input. I decided to push further for a job and I am settling for a Operations and Customer Service Support position for a Import company. I will work from there. I hope that I can find a lead way from it. However, if eventually I am unable to work it out from there, I will concentrate on a logistics career path.


Josh November 2, 2011 at 4:30 pm

Good luck. You can be just as effective if not more from within a company working towards your career goals.



Dave Gordon May 7, 2011 at 4:23 pm

[thunderous applause] This just might be the best personal development advice ever!


James June 2, 2011 at 3:05 pm

I have been an electrical project manager for about ten years. A little over a year ago I finished my undergrad degree in project manager as well as obtained a project management certification from the American Academy of Project Management. I am not about half way through a master program in project management. However with the economy being the way it is, my boss has started managing the project himself again. So I am back to being an electrician again. This demotion has motivated me to move to a formal construction project management postion. Any suggestions?



Josh June 2, 2011 at 9:04 pm

This is a great question James. I’ve pinged some of my contacts with more experience than I with the construction industry in general, and hopefully they will weigh in on your question soon.

If I were in your shoes, I would start researching companies in the area to narrow down a select group which have a culture and emphasis on project management where you can thrive. Network with people ‘in the biz’, many of which you may already know. Reach out to your own network of friends and cohorts in the industry and buy them lunch…ask them how project management works at their organization and what advice they can offer for someone like you who has domain experience combined with education in project management. Ask them who they might know that you could interview about project management in their companies. You’re a student…make it a ‘class project’ even if it’s not something you get credit at school for. The benefits here are not just academic.

In my experience, opportunities arise naturally in the process of ongoing, consistent networking and relationship-building like this. At the time I figured this out, I had struggled for years doing the old fashioned “throw your resume out there and pray” method of job hunting. Then I had 3 offers for positions crop up within 2 weeks of each other, all of which I was told about from people directly in the know or because they had referred me without my knowledge….not because I threw my resume out there or even searched for “jobs”. They just knew I was looking, I had helped and/or shown a sincere interest in them and their work in the past, and they knew I did good work and was passionate about the job.

Hiring managers go for who they know will do a good job for them. That’s either direct experience working with you, or a referral from someone they know and trust. Even if people haven’t had the opportunity to work with you directly, conversations over time will build their knowledge about your abilities, how smart you are, and in general what kind of coworker or employee you would make. I cover much of this at length at, but you have the gist of the networking aspect from what I’ve said here.

My $0.02


DrPDG June 2, 2011 at 10:20 pm

Hi James,
Josh pinged me and as I am also coming from a background in the trades, (carpentry) I will try to provide an honest $0.02 worth as well.

Construction project management has been around for well over 40 years now and is probably the most “mature” incarnation or application of project management- to the point where it is getting quite close to being recognized or accepted as a stand alone profession. (Not quite, but getting closer)

If I were in your shoes (and I have been, back in the last recession- 1980′s) I would start by switching from a GENERIC masters in PM to a CONSTRUCTION Project Management major. If that is not possible, then finish up your masters, on the grounds that it won’t hurt you, even though it may be of marginal value, given you will be competing against people who have specialty degrees.

The second step would be to consider the CMAA certification. Frankly, the Certified Construction Manager (CCM) credential is the only one that carries significant weight in the CM community of practice. (PMI’s PMP is generally considered to be a joke and may actually hurt your chances and I am not really familiar with the American Academy of Project Management, but I have been outside the USA for close to 20 years now)

Lastly, in terms of JOBS, I would start by focusing on the ENR top Specialty Contractors OR the top Construction Management companies and target them. These companies have jobs and with your background in the trades, you should be ESPECIALLY valuable to them, as “hands on” field experience is hard to come by- much harder than getting degrees.

Another option you may want to consider (seriously) is instead of trying to get a CONSTRUCTION PROJECT MANAGEMENT job, that instead consider a job as a COST ESTIMATOR? Again, those jobs tend to be more available and the competition for them is less than the more glamorous job as CPM, and a good estimator can command more money than can a good project manager. And the best thing is, for estimating, field experience is much more highly appreciated than are degrees.

In closing, the only additional advice I have would be to move out of the US or EU marketplace and consider work in the Middle East or SE Asia. You would also be wise to see if you can expand your experience to include electrical work for the oil, gas or mining sectors. (Right now, there are all kinds of jobs open in Australia….) And with your electrical background, why not consider sending an application to Freeport McMoran (Phoenix AZ), Vale-INCO or Newmont Mining? With gold over $1,500, these companies are SCREAMING for experienced help….. BUT, not much work in the USA……

Hope this has been some help to you, and if you have any further questions, please don’t hesitate to email me-

Dr. PDG, Jakarta, Indonesia


Anthony Edwards August 3, 2011 at 9:44 pm


Speaking of SE Asia. Do you think Vietnam is a good market for Project Manager? I do speak fluently in Vietnamese and Chinese but familiar with workforce in these 2 nations.


James June 3, 2011 at 3:11 pm

Thanks for the input guys. I will be sure to cjeck out all those links. SE Asia sounds good. I would love to back to


Josh June 3, 2011 at 3:36 pm

Thanks for helping out Paul, and James I hope our comments have been of value to you. Best wishes!


DrPDG June 3, 2011 at 7:10 pm

@James, glad to have helped some and best of luck to you!!

@Josh, even though we don’t agree on everything, both of us clearly love project management as an honorable and desirable career path option and do what we can to support it.

Dr. PDG, Jakarta, Indonesia


peter October 24, 2011 at 8:36 pm


I have recently completed my masters in architecture in south africa. However, due to the economic climate I am really struggling to get a job as an architect. While I enjoyed design at university, I did always do well in the property economics and professional practise and management subjects I took. I feel that I have the personality for project management, but I’m not sure about going straight into it without work experience in my field. I would love to do it to further my career, but I am wondering if I am too inexperienced for it as I am only 23 and have minimal work in the field. Do you advise I study project management, as I would like to be one in the future.


DrPDG October 24, 2011 at 9:06 pm

Hi Peter,
We are coming from a similar background so I can really relate to your situation.

The first thing I would recommend is to take the Harrison Assessment Behavioral Profile against the Project Manager Profile. This has proven to be incredibly reliable identifying people who are likely to be successful as project managers. The cost is <$100 US, but is a great investment to make before charging off and getting advanced degrees.

Given your age, I do NOT recommend going straight into graduate school. To get the most out of a masters, you really should have 2-3 years experience under your belt.

What I would recommend is getting ANY entry level job you can find in the field of construction that is even remotely related to your architecture degree- Cost Estimator or Scheduler/Programmer are two jobs that come to mind. ("Project Controls") The mining companies are screaming for those people right now and with Gold at $1600+ an ounce, they are one of the few sectors hiring. Oil and gas companies are also hiring.

What you might want to do is contact a fuzzy guy named JC Krueger in Heidelburg. Tell him "Dr. Paul" sent you and while I cannot make any promises, JC has plenty of connections in South Africa and if anyone can help you, it would be him.

Best of luck to you and say HI to JC for me…..

Dr. PDG, Jakarta, Indonesia


Abrie Burger November 6, 2011 at 10:58 am


I am considering a MSc in Project Management. I do not have a B degree and only a formal electrical qualification. Would a MSc in Project Management be worth doing without having a B degree. The University of Liverpool gave me admition to their online MSc in Project Management.

Many Thanks


Josh November 6, 2011 at 3:43 pm

I don’t believe you can do an accredited MSc without a 4-year degree. The more important question: what is your experience in managing projects?


DrPDG November 6, 2011 at 5:32 pm

Hi Abrie (and Josh)
Getting a Masters without a Bachelors first is not uncommon, although not the preferred route. Several of my students at SKEMA have taken this route. NORMALLY, in order to take advantage of those types of programs, requires at least 6 years experience, however…..

Which brings me back to Josh’s question- how much experience do you have managing projects. And by “formal electrical qualification” do you mean you have your electricians license?

Then the last question. What added value does having a masters degree in project management offer to an electrician? What job does it qualify you for that your electrician’s license and X years experience doesn’t? (NOTE that I too have a background in the trades)

Dr. PDG, Jakarta


Abrie Burger November 7, 2011 at 3:01 am


Thank you for your answer, Yes I do have a Electrical License and have 10 years experience in the Chemical, Oil and Gas industry. I also have done commissioning for almost six years on new build plants but did not manage any projects as such. My tough was that obtaining a MSc could lead me to future junior project management positions. I guess it would be better to first try and land a Junior position and then do the study work?

Best Regards


DrPDG November 7, 2011 at 5:04 am

Hi Abrie,
With your trade experience, I would recommend that you first get a job in “project controls” or “project support services” and use THAT as the vehicle to work your way up and into a position as a project manager. Field experience is INCREDIBLY valuable if you can do “cost estimating” or “scheduling (programming)” and not only are there a LOT more jobs in project controls, but top notch cost estimators with oil, gas and mining experience are easily making low six figure incomes right now.

If you don’t believe me, Google on “project controls jobs” or “project support positions” and you will get all kinds of job postings for cost estimators, schedulers, cost engineers and document control specialists. Australia in particular is screaming for them!!!!

Again, the approach I took was I worked at the trades during the day, while attending university at night, and although that is a long hard way to do it, there is nothing like having a degree AND strong field experience. Then after I got my undergrad degree in Construction Management, I worked as a project controls professional and project manager for about 20 years while getting my MS in Project Management and then my PhD just a few years back……. (2007)

But in the end, that trade experience will give you an advantage throughout the rest of your career….

Dr. PDG, Jakarta, Indonesia


Joe M March 9, 2012 at 9:53 am


Thanls for the time you take in your to offer a great advice in this project management.

I am currently working as Risk Officer in the Engineering construction projects for more than 4 years now, I am also half way Btech mining Engineering degree. considering studying Msc Project Management with Liverpool university. do you think this is a good idea.

My desire is to become project Manager in the field of mining projects and oil and gas. what should I do finish my degree first or pursue Online Liverpool Project Management in Oil and Gas? thanks.



DrPDG March 9, 2012 at 6:08 pm

Hi Joe,
As oil, gas and mining construction is my background, let me jump in first.

You can never go wrong with a combination of a technical undergrad degree with a Masters in PM and experience!!!!

So my best advice to you would be to stick with finishing your undergrad degree and then continue on with your MScPM.

What I would also recommend would be to focus on “project controls” in doing your MSc. Very few companies will give you a project to do straight away. Most times, you will have to work on a project team in several capacities and prove yourself before they will give you full charge of a project. Right now, there is a HUGE demand for project controls people (cost estimators, scheduler/programmers, contract management, claims analysis) in the oil, gas and mining sectors around the world.

Best of luck to you, Joe. You are, IMPO definitely on the right track.

Dr. PDG, Jakarta


Chris F. April 23, 2012 at 7:08 am

I worked as a Project Manager for a major Telecommunications/Broadband Company building out their nation-wide fiber optic network footprint for 11 plus years. I was laid off over 2 years ago and have not been able to find work in my field/industry. I notice quite a few software and/or web development jobs available but my experience (as robust as it is) always leaves me out of the running. I was considering getting a Masters in Project Management focusing in IT and preparing for the PMP exam but wondering if the 2 year route is even necessary given my experience. I would like in the future to be involved more in IT based project management as apposed to infrastructure as was wondering if you had any advice (education-wise) as how to break into that field.

-Chris F.


Josh April 23, 2012 at 6:33 pm

ITIL certification might be a good step for you Chris. I’m not ITIL certified myself but I’ve interviewed a few people who know a lot about it.

Here’s an interview about the certification:

I’m also a big advocate of targeting organizations, not jobs. I teach this and write about it often on the site under the Career category, but in general I think targeting organizations you want to work for first combined with continuous and well-done networking efforts is the best method for creating your own opportunities. Many jobs are never posted publicly.


DrPDG April 23, 2012 at 11:23 pm

As project management is so ubiquitous, I don’t see how you could go wrong getting a Masters in PM with an IT focus. (I think Stevens Institute leads the way in your field-

As for certifications, I think the PMP has been grossly over-sold and we are seeing our Telecoms clients moving AWAY from the PMP and more towards the much more technically robust AACE credentials. (NSN, Huawei, ZTE, Lucent et al) BUT, the people from the Telecom/IT sectors in our AACE cert courses are almost all Business Analysts….. And not project managers……. So is that a useful and important trend for you to be aware of in crafting your future career path development plans?

Bottom line- In today’s market, you really need an advanced degree to differentiate yourself from the crowd, and I don’t see you going wrong getting a Masters in PM, PROVIDED you specialize in IT or Telecommunications or Construction or whatever field you are interested in. But based on trends I am starting to see in the Telco/IT space, Business Analyst is something I would recommend you consider-

As for certifications, I would focus on getting any that are COMPETENCY based- asapm in the USA or IPMA if you are from outside the USA….. While not as well marketed as the PMI credentials, there is a growing demand for COMPETENCY in project management.

Hope this helps you some?

Dr. PDG, Jakarta, Indonesia


Vipin June 2, 2012 at 6:31 am

I am a mechanical engineering graduate currently working with JGC saudi arabia as piping design engineer.
I have a total of 7 years of exp in piping design mostly in oil and gas projects.As past of my job I am involved in design activities and cross discipline coordination for EPC projects.
At some point I started having a strong liking towards Project management and would like to pursue it as my career path.

Please advice me regarding the following
1 Will it be the right time for me to step into project management with this experience
2 Will on-line course(Eg.,Liverpool) help in getting a credible degree.
3 Job prospects with 9 years of Piping engineering exp+MSc in Project Management+PMP certification


DrPDG June 2, 2012 at 12:52 pm

Hi Vipin,
With 7 years design experience you are probably a bit young to get the position of a PROJECT MANAGER, however, there is no reason why you cannot or should not be able to get a role in PROJECT CONTROLS, which is a necessary and desirable step into project management.

As a Brit, and given you are in construction, I wouldn’t waste my time or money on getting your PMP. My recommendation would be to get your CIOB, MRICS or PRINCE2 credentials instead. IMPO, the only place the PMP has any significant credibility is in the Telecommunications and IT sectors. There are plenty of construction specific credentials which, although not as well marketed as the PMP, command considerably more respect.

I am not familiar with Liverpool, but I do know Cranfield has a very well respected name in project management, and if you don’t mind moving, the University of Western Australia (Perth) has a very highly regarded project/program management degree designed specifically for the oil, gas and mining sectors. But getting back to my opening statement, my recommendation would be to transition from functional positions in engineering and seek out interim jobs in project controls as a way to transition from a functional role into project management. To see some of the possible job titles that would make a great entry can be found at the bottom of this page- . You can probably figure on 3-5 years in one or more of these roles and if you are good at what you do, it will open the door for position as an assistant or deputy PM and if you succeed in that role then on to project manager…..

Dr. PDG, Lagos, Nigeria


Josh June 2, 2012 at 1:36 pm

Also, which organizations are you targeting? It’s more important in my mind to understand the needs and opportunities of 3-5 organizations that seem up your alley. Network like crazy and get to know people in those organizations. Then you’ll have a very tailored and specific idea of what you should pursue.


pranav j. pandya June 9, 2012 at 11:14 pm

i wanna do master in project management .. but i dont know what is project management nd even dont know what r the opportunities for that… so can plz tell me abt what is project management nd the opportunities ????


DrPDG June 10, 2012 at 1:58 am

Pranav…….. Gimme a break…….!!! You had better do your own due diligence and find out what project management is (have you tried Googling on the term project management defined”?) and whether or not there are any jobs requiring a masters in your chosen field of work before even THINKING about investing the time and money to get any masters degree, regardless of whether the specialty is project management or something else?

The very fact that you are asking this question without knowing what project management is and whether or not there are any jobs in your chosen specialty requiring a masters in project management is an early warning sign that you are being incredibly naive or incredibly foolish.

Dr. PDG, Jakarta, Indonesia


Harry Wilson June 15, 2012 at 3:12 am

Embassy in London,United kingdom.

The program is to bring people from all over the globe to live and work in Canada on permanent basis with lesser qualifications or requirement.

We need a reliable and trust worthy citizen OR persons. to mediate as our agent or representative

BARRISTER HARRY WILSON: When I saw your profile, i believe you are capableand trust worthy too.

NOTE: The duration of the program is 2months.

handle the project.

Harry Wilson


VJ July 7, 2012 at 9:29 am

I am a civil engineering graduate having 15 years of experiance in residential and commercial construction. My previous roles include project engineer, site engineer, site manager, asst. project manager and contracts administrator. Currently working as senior contracts administrator for a construction company doing some civil works on mining sites. I was always involved in project progress and fore cost reviews and assisting PM’s in procurement and financial planning. I am planning to move into project manager role and in future some senior executive roles. I was advised by senior management to consider moving to PM role. I am now looking at joining M.Sc Project Management to gain more knowledge and having masters will improve my chances to reach my career goals.

Please suggest if this masters course boost my advancement chances in anyway.



DrPDG July 7, 2012 at 12:18 pm

Vijay, as construction project management is probably the oldest and most mature of the various project management specialty degrees, I would urge you to get a masters specializing in CONSTRUCTION project management, and not project management in general.

I couldn’t find any Indian Uni’s offering Construction Project Management degrees, but if you go to Facebook, they have an Indian Construction Management group If you are in the USA, then probably one of the most highly regarded Masters in CM is Purdue University

The UK and Australia also offer very credible and highly respected degrees in construction project management.

As an interim, you may want to check out the Certified Construction Manager (CCM) credential offered by the Construction Management Association of America-

FWIW, construction management is my background as well, so I am speaking from first hand experience.

Dr. PDG, Boston, MA, USA


Josh July 7, 2012 at 10:05 pm

Vijay, my background is in IT and related domains, not in construction. So I second Dr. Paul’s advice as I defer to him on questions like this specific to domains he has experience with that I do not.


VJ July 7, 2012 at 9:48 pm


Thank you very much for your suggestions. After my graduation, working four years in India and around seven years in Malaysia, finally moved to Perth in 2008. I believe some of Australian universities offering Masters in construction management. I will search for more information on this.



DrPDG July 8, 2012 at 1:55 am

Hi Vijay,
Best of luck to you!! I have developed and taught courses at the University of Western Australia, and yes, I believe both UWA and Curtain offer graduate degrees in construction project management.

Dr. PDG, AACE Symposium, San Antonio, Texas


Raj July 31, 2012 at 5:04 am

Dear Sir,

I am a Mechanical Engineer with 9 years experience in Refineries EPC projects, I have mixed experience in Engineering, Procurement and Construction in Refinery projects.I would like to do some course in masters to make my career to next level. I need your valuable advice on which university and course opt for my profile.
I have completed my B.E in 2003 than i worked for power project company 3 years and then i have been working for a company at Kuwait since 2007 for refinery projects. Kindly guide me.


DrPDG July 31, 2012 at 8:00 am

Hi Raj,
You are asking for advice but it is hard to provide anything meaningful unless you tell us what YOU want to do or be for the rest of your working life.

If you are happy doing what you have been doing, then get a technical masters in Petroleum Engineering; If you want to become a big boss, then probably you would be better served to get your MBA with a major in Petrochem or from a known and highly regarded petrochem school.

Basically, you need to decide where you want to be in 5 or 10 more years then pick a graduate degree which will best prepare you for that position.

But regardless, in today’s hyper-competitive world, you would be wise to continue your education regardless of WHERE you want to be…….. To stand still in today’s chaotic market is to die………

Dr. PDG, Jakarta, Indonesia


kip enos July 31, 2012 at 4:07 pm

thanx for your rily need help about this issue


Irene Warner September 15, 2012 at 10:55 pm

Hello ,

My name is Irene Warner and currently a student at Devry as a Information Systems with a concentration in Project management . I am currently trying to gain experience as an Asst. Project Manager with a paid internship with a site provided by Devry . I am a former teacher of nine years . Is this the right direction for me ?


DrPDG September 15, 2012 at 11:11 pm

Very difficult for anyone to be able to help you very much on the amount of information provided in two sentences……

Is this the right direction for you? What do you think? You have 9 years teaching, so surely you have enough real life experience to know what is or is not “right”?

As an aside, if you look at each teaching year as being a project (having a defined start and finish) and “unique” given that each year you have different students, perhaps a different administration and different co-workers, I would argue (and have on more than one occasion, given that my wife is an 8th grade science teacher) that “teaching” is but one incarnation of project management. (Didn’t you make “lesson plans”? And didn’t you oversee and help direct students in doing projects for their coursework?) And given you did “project management in the classroom” for 9 years, doesn’t that qualify for you as a PROGRAM manager as well?

Bottom line- Given you have 9 years of both project and program management under your belt already, my best and most sincere advice to you would be to look into “Project Base Learning” and combine your 9 years of teaching experience with your Masters in project management and forge a career path around project based learning.

Dr. PDG, Jakarta, Indonesia


Ashenafi Kebede September 27, 2012 at 3:56 am

hey, i would like to request you for information, how i can get my master degree in project management.
I have BA degree in Community Development and Leadership currently.

i am looking forward to hear from you.
Ashenafi Kebede


Ashenafi Kebede September 27, 2012 at 4:00 am

please what type of master degree do u suggest me, with the background i have already.
to make clear the issue in my BA I have taken many courses of project management.


DrPDG November 21, 2012 at 7:10 am

Gee, I don’t really know what else to offer you for advice, Ashenafi? My original advice was to “Google on the country you live in/want to attend University in and Master of Science (or MBA) with a Project Management major” and given the limited information you’ve provided, there is not much more I can offer you.

Several of our clients currently working for the World Bank or African Development Bank got their Masters in International Development from Clark University, Worcester, MA, USA..

It is a good school but relatively expensive, as are most US Universities.

Two other good sources is the US based Development Ex site If you post your question there, those people will have more current or complete information than I do. The other one is the World Bank Institute.

Bottom line- what is it you want to do with the rest of your life? Answer that question and it should help you identify an appropriate graduate level program to help you realize your life’s ambitions.

Dr. PDG, Jakarta, Indonesia


DrPDG September 27, 2012 at 4:01 am

Where are you located, Ashenafi? There are any number of Universities in the USA which offer both traditional and online Masters in Project Management. I happened to get mine from the George Washington University, which is a very good but very EXPENSIVE program.

Australia, South Africa, China, UK and Europe also offer both traditional and online Masters……

Best to Google on the country you live in/want to attend University in and Master of Science (or MBA) with a Project Management major.

Dr. PDG, Jakarta, Indonesia


Ashenafi Kebede September 27, 2012 at 4:14 am

thank you for the information you provided me. please can you suggest me to find sponsorship for my study.


DrPDG September 27, 2012 at 4:18 am

PMI, AACE, IPMA, AIPM and most other professional organizations or societies offer scholarships to top students, but otherwise, you have to do the same thing most of us had to do- either pay out of your own pocket or get your company to sponsor you or at least reimburse you for your expenses.

Dr. PDG, Jakarta, Indonesia


Ashenafi Kebede September 27, 2012 at 4:25 am

I am from Ethiopia, where i can not find the type of degrees i am looking for. to study abroad the country sponsorship is required for me.


DrPDG September 27, 2012 at 4:36 am

Hmmmmmm…….. I have an advanced, graduate level course in “Applied Asset, Program and Project Management” starting on October 22-26 in Lagos, Nigeria.

It is a 6 month long, blended learning program which will prepare you to sit for the following professional certifications:

Certified Cost Consultant/Cost Engineer (CCC/E)

Planning and Scheduling Professional (PSP)

Earned Value Professional (EVP)

Cost Estimating Professional (CEP)

Certified Risk Management and Decision Making Professional (RMDM) Starting in 1Q 2013.

In addition, this course will also be MORE than enough to prepare you to sit for the PMI family of credentials:
PMP, PgMP, PMI- Risk or PMI- Scheduler.

There is a high demand for the AACE credentials in the oil, gas and mining sectors and it may help you get sponsorship. BUT, there are no guarantees. (I have one student from Sudan right now)

If you are interested in learning more about that option, email me privately-

Dr. PDG, Jakarta, Indonesia


Emmanuel Unokhogie October 6, 2012 at 11:40 pm

Pls i need advice from anyone that can help. I just graduated from school as a mech. engineer but my friend is asking me to go for a “PROJECT MANAGEMENT COURSE.” could any one tell me the benefits involved in studying this course along-side my degree. thank you


DrPDG October 6, 2012 at 11:47 pm

Hi Emmanuel,
With a fresh degree and no experience, my best advice would be to work at your profession as a Mechanical Engineer first for 3-4 years.

Then when you have built your skills as a successful ME and are ready to move into management, THEN you can decide whether functional management (as an Engineering Manager) or Project Management is the way to go,

But to take a course on project management without any real world experience is, IMPO, like putting the cart before the horse……

Dr. PDG, Jakarta, Indonesia


M.Sc.PM October 7, 2012 at 12:17 am

As you know, mechanical engineering is a discipline of engineering that applies the principles of physics and materials science for analysis. It is the branch of the engineering field that requires an understanding of core concepts including product lifecycle. Project management deals with management of the scope, budget and schedule of a project. Mind you some time we complicate what a project is. According to the PMBOK a project is a temporary endeavor undertaken to create a unique, product or results. Oddly as it sounds, a weekend or holiday BBQ can be a project. You have a scope (what work you are to get done.), and schedule (the time in which you must have all food purchased and prepared.) and a budget (The amount of money you have allotted for the BBQ). Project management also includes personnel management (who you are going to invite and or ask to help with the BBQ). As it relates to mechanical engineering, understanding the course principles of project management can be a great assets regardless of whether you are managing in the engineering compactly or not. If you were asking if you should get an additional degree in project management, I would have to agree with Dr. Jakarta. However, taking a course in project management is not changing your degree or career focus. All you would be doing is adding the understanding of a discipline that could and most likely will greatly benefit your career path.


DrPDG October 7, 2012 at 3:30 am

While I fully agree with you that a COURSE in PM wouldn’t hurt, my point was (and remains) that for a fresh graduate, the focus should be on mastering the art and science of Mechanical Engineering. (Or whatever else is their specialty)

What I am seeing in many Gen X and Gen Y people is they get a degree and 3 months of experience then they want to be promoted to the position of “boss of this” or “boss of that”. My concern with so many people (mostly PMP’s) are those who take a 35 hour course studying books of sample questions, then pass the PMP and based on that hold themselves out to be “professional” project managers.

Sorry, but not on any projects where my money is on the line….

Dr. PDG, Jakarta, Indonesia


M.Sc.PM October 7, 2012 at 4:15 am

OK, so first of all, even if you have a four-year degree (bachelor’s or the global equivalent) a PMP applicant still needs at least 3 YEARS of project management experience, with 4,500 hours (2 YEARS) leading and directing projects and 35 HOURS (12 Classes) of project management education. Even an applicant for the CAPM still needs 9 MONTHS on project management experience and 23 HOURS (8 Classes) of project management education by the time you sit for the exam.

So I do not know were or who (Gen X) you are seeing take a 35 hour course studying books of sample questions, then pass the PMP, because they do not qualify to sit the exam. Would I do see is that employers are wanting more and more education with the experience.

What I see as a trend on this board is the berating of solid education. For example, a young man asks “Could anyone tell me the benefits involved in studying this course along-side my degree?” and your first reaction is to tell him to work in his field for 3-4 years when you know that a PM course would help him to better understand the dynamics of an engineering project whether he is managing it or not.


DrPDG October 7, 2012 at 7:45 am

First, you need to read over the PMP Handbook more carefully. It does NOT require that you “led or directed projects”. All PMI requires is that you “led or directed project TASKS”…… (See page 8) BIG difference…….

Furthermore, PMI does NOT require that any of your projects were “successful”. To put the relevance of that in perspective, would you get on the next commercial jet if you knew the pilot had never successfully taken off or landed the plane?

But those details aside, the fact that I recommend to a fresh graduate that he/she hone their technical skills before trying to jump into management is my best, honest and most candid advice.

Understanding that I am NOT an academic, but a senior practitioner who actually does projects where our own money is on the line if they succeed or fail, the last thing I want is a partially competent young engineer pretending he/she can manage a project or worse yet, experimenting to learn how to run projects on my dime. I hire and develop seasoned people with solid technical skills to become project, program and asset managers and that was the advice I gave and is the advice I stick by.

Now, can a course on project management help someone in their day to day personal life? Maybe yes and maybe no. Many of the courses I see today are targeted at one thing and one thing only- passing the PMP exam. And not only do we train PMP’s but we also offer much more advanced courses and let me assure you, what PMI advocates and is covered by their PMP exam is NOT, IMPO, even close to the skills and knowledge I am expecting from my project managers. And again, the projects we do (construction and property development) are funded out of our own pockets. Not someone else’s money buy our own.

Dr. PDG, Jakarta, Indonesia


DrPDG October 7, 2012 at 7:54 am

PS: And not EVERYONE wants to be a “project manager”. We support the oil, gas, mining and telecommunications sectors and the vast majority of those people do NOT want to be project managers, but asset or operations managers.

Project management is NOT the “solution” to everything…… “To a three year old with a hammer, everything looks like a nail”……

Dr. PDG, Jakarta, Indonesia


M.Sc.PM October 7, 2012 at 2:09 pm

This dialog started because a young man asked about taking a COURSE in project management. Not should he become a project manager, not should he start managing projects. Just would it benefit him, and the answer is YES it would.

However, to respond to your deficiencies…

So, PMI does not require that a PMP candidate lead or Direct projects? Odd, I copy and pasted those requirements directly from PMI’s certification requirements.

Your relevance regarding the jet pilot is irrelevant being that a pilot is licensed and is required to successfully complete all operations of the aircraft before being awarded such license. So anyone with a pilot’s license has successfully landed the aircraft they are licensed on.

Not an academic? You bothered to get a Ph.D. in Project & Program Management
and not move into the academic sector. Wow, talk about wasting time and money on a degree that you are not using. I really must say Dr. Giammalvo , you are extremely embarrassing yourself. Giving advice regarding education when you yourself cannot even quote certification requirements properly. Telling people they should not go for a degree that they don’t need when just five years ago you yourself were awarded a Ph.D. that you don’t even use. However, you are right about one thing, being an adjunct professor for less than seven years does not qualify you as an academic.


DrPDG October 7, 2012 at 8:43 pm

Wow MScpm…. Sorta defensive for some reason?

On the original question/response, we are mostly in agreement. A course (depending on the type of course and who taught it) MIGHT help our colleague or it might not. But my advice was and remains that his FOCUS needs to be on mastering his profession, which is not project management but Mechanical Engineering.

As for the requirements PMI has established, the PMP Handbook is the final authority and if you look at the handbook reference I provided, on page 8, it explains that the exam applicant does NOT have to have held the title of “project manager” but only “led or directed” those tasks contained in the PMP Exam Content Outline.

FWIW, there is a lengthy discussion on exactly this topic someplace in this forum.

Lastly, I got my PhD first and foremost as a personal challenge. I hold an undergrad degree in Construction Project Management; my MScPM from GWU and so getting my PhD in Project and Program Management seemed like a nice way to cap off 45 years as a project management practitioner. So now I have credentials as a successful practitioner (we are still in the property development/general contracting business) AND as a trainer/consultant, I also offer our clients a solid academic background.

Bottom line- I offer a lot of people my honest and candid advice, based on 45+ years of field experience. If they listen, great, if they don’t listen, I am not offended. But based on the number of people who write to thank me, I suspect my advice is solid, at least for most people.

Have a great day!!!

Dr. PDG, Jakarta, Indonesia


M.Sc.PM October 7, 2012 at 9:51 pm

With a High school diploma or Associate’s degree – Minimum five years /60 months unique non-overlapping professional project management experience during which at least 7,500 hours were spent leading or directing the project*

With a four year degree – Minimum three years /36 months unique non-overlapping professional project management experience during which at least 4,500 hours were spent leading or directing the project*

35 contact hours of formal education (= approx 12 classes)

The symbol at the end of each requirement dictates the below note.
*Leading and directing the project as identified with the tasks, knowledge, and skills specified in the project management professional examination content.

Taken directly from pg8 PMI-PMP handbook. That means ALL of them.

I have worked in project management in the opacity of project controls, risk management, quality management as well as a project manager. I got out of the Navy right about the time Lockheed Corporation helped Booz Allen Hamilton Corp and the Navy develop PERT. I went to work as a risk analyst for Lockheed after I retired from the Navy. I retired at Lockheed Corporation fifteen years ago right after it merged with Martine Mariette. When I was working, I help a IPMA, CAPM, PMP, ACP, RMP as well as a SP. I have done training seminars for PMI as well as been a member since 1987. Being that I completed my M.Sc.PM at the University of California Berkley the same year you graduated from high school, I would assume I am a little bit older than you. I do get defensive when I see people with Ph.D. degrees discouraging people from furthering their education. At eighty two years old I could have had my Ph.D. years ago. However, there was no need for it. The part that really burns my butt is when a person gets a Ph.D. and thinks their word is gospel even when somebody a lot more experience shows them different.


DrPDG October 7, 2012 at 10:28 pm

Gee MScPM,
In deference to your age and experience, I really hate to disagree with you, but we run ~800 people a year through our 90 and 180 day competency based training programs and many of them sit for their PMP. And I can guarantee you that MANY (if not MOST) of the people PMI is accepting to take the PMP are NOT project managers. Yes, they may have “led and directed” project tasks, but that does NOT mean they led and directed the project itself. (And the last batch of 12 I ran through the PMP exam process was less than 15 days ago, and I have 15 more scheduled to sit in the coming month or so)

But to close this out, I offered what I believe is valid and reliable advice to our young colleague. And I stick by that advice. You have offered him some different advice and I have to assume that he/she is intelligent enough to weigh the pros and cons of the advice provided by two old farts and make an appropriate decision?

Dr. PDG, Jakarta, Indonesia


M.Sc.PM October 7, 2012 at 10:42 pm

You can disagree all you want to. The PMI handbook is very clear. It even goes on to say that experiences is required in all five process. However, it does also say that this experience does not need to be on the same project. So, if you are saying that these candidates have not led or directed the entire project at the same time, I can agree. However, they are required to have had led or directed all five processes. If this is not happening and you are aware of candidates sitting the exam I have a problem with this as well. I would believe as a facilitator of the training course it would be your ethical duty to report this.

Josh October 7, 2012 at 10:46 pm

Correction, this is not correct:

“35 contact hours of formal education (= approx 12 classes)”

35 contact hours = 35 actual contact hours (not credit hours)


M.Sc.PM October 7, 2012 at 10:49 pm

Yes Josh, I do understand that the 35 contact hours are not credit hours and they can be earned other ways. However within the dialog we were discussing people taking courses that getting there PMP when they should not. So I related it to classes.

DrPDG October 7, 2012 at 11:09 pm

Hi Again, MScPM,
I have far more concerns regarding an overall lack of ethics on the part of PMI than them allowing people to sit for their PMP who are not qualified.

IMPO, PMI is making false and misleading claims in their website- Specifically- “Globally recognized and demanded, the PMP® demonstrates that you have the experience, education and competency to lead and direct projects.”

Where or how does PMI support the claim that taking a 4 hour exam measures COMPETENCY, when the hours claimed are not audited for “success” or “failure”?

Or how about PMI claiming that project management is a profession, when not one, but two credible, published pieces of research have shown otherwise?

Dr. PDG, Jakarta, Indonesia

DrPDG October 7, 2012 at 8:51 pm

PS: MScPM, I suspect my PhD research topic “Is project management a profession? And if not, what is it?” will probably upset you more than my advice to our colleague apparently has?

Basically, there is absolutely no legal, sociological, economic or semantic proof that supports project management (or for that matter, management of any type) qualifying as a profession.


Dr. PDG, Jakarta, Indonesia


M.Sc.PM October 15, 2012 at 9:16 pm

Apparently you did not read my last post. I was not able to reply to your last post so it is posted as a new post below this one.


M.Sc.PM October 7, 2012 at 11:29 pm

I have to agree there. I have seen and heard a lot of unethical stuff in the way of PMI. I cannot speak to the facts regarding PMI being globally excepted or demanded. I just know they say they are. My grandson is involved with AAPM. They make the same claim. However, it seems within the US they are currently at about the same place PMI was in 1985 just a year after they launched the PMP certification. AAPM is working on getting recognized by the International Organization for Standards. AAPM requires a minimum of a four year degree whereas PMI will certify you with a PMP without a degree. While I am in favor of hands on experience, I am also in favor of at least a four year degree to manage projects. I can see project management as a practice but not as a profession by itself as it is a broad term and depends on other trades.


DrPDG October 15, 2012 at 10:03 pm

Yes, I agree. I dropped out of PMI and didn’t bother to renew my PMP (#740) or our Global Chartered REP after 2003 as PMI no longer represented the values I subscribe to as a life long practitioner.

And I think AAPM is even worse…..

Frankly, I am no fan of ANY of the supposed “professional organizations” be it PMI, IPMA, Bar Association or the AMA (American Medical Association. Not to be too much of a skeptic (which I think comes with “old age”!!) but W. J. Haga, “Perils of professionalism”. Sept 1974 issue of Management Quarterly, pp. 3-10, wrote:
“The utility of distinguishing true professions from merely would be
professions can be appreciated when one looks at why so many occupations
pursue the elusive status of profession. Here are the chief things that
occupational groups seek when they undertake professionalization:
– Above all else, they want autonomy- the freedom to carry out their
jobs as they see fit and appropriate;
– They want recognition of themselves, not based upon the name of
their employer, but based upon their occupational identity;
– They want the power to determine who is ‘in’ their group and who
is ‘out’. They want to establish a monopoly over their work, freeing
it from outside influence. They do not want to share the occupations
work ideology;
– They want the power to discipline ‘wayward’ colleagues who do
not share the occupations work ideology;
– Autonomy is the key and the key to autonomy is intimidation – of
clients; of employees; of members; of anyone who stands to
threaten the occupation’s autonomy. (p. 7)

Another quote I like to use is Eliot Freidson (1970), who argues that the
“professions differ from trade unions only in their sanctimoniousness” (p. 360).

Bottom line- I don’t see a whole lot of value in most of these professional organizations or their credentials, other than for networking purposes.

Dr. PDG, Jakarta, Indonesia


Annette Suh November 21, 2012 at 12:24 am

How about this – loads of experience, zero degrees. Feel like it’ll hold me back from an exec level position in the future – will it really?

I dream of a Masters, or at the very least an Advanced PM cert from Stanford, but fear they’ll require a degree regardless of my years and years of experience.

Just trying to figure out where my time and money are best spent.


DrPDG November 21, 2012 at 1:28 am

Actually Annette, there are several credible universities, especially those in Europe, willing to award masters degrees based on no undergrad degree but plenty of experience. I suspect there may be some in the USA as well, but I am not sure of their credibility or accreditation.

Here is a strategy I have used before for some of my students. Sign up for evening graduate level courses from Stanford or where ever else you want to go. Do NOT sign up for the full program, but only for a single course. After you have taken 3 or 4 courses and provided you have done well, THEN you can go to one of your professors, explain your situation (lots of experience but no undergrad degree) and they may very well be willing to help you out.

Another option is to sign up for a Masters CERTIFICATE, such as those offered by IIL, ESI or Universities such as BU:

And if that doesn’t work for you, here are some links to ACCREDITED universities offering life experience in lieu of degrees:

NOW, having provided these to you, understand I am NOT endorsing any of them. Caveat Emptor!!! But at least you have someplace to start…..

Dr. PDG, Jakarta, Indonesia


Chet Frame November 21, 2012 at 9:42 am

That is an interesting question, Annette. Depending on your skills, personality, and intelligence, you could go quite far without a degree. However, you could also find yourself playing second chair on your projects to people who have degrees. There is a bias in management toward requiring degrees for management positions. I know anecdotally that people without degrees have gone quite far in areas like computers, robotics, mining, manufacturing, etc. I know that statistically more people with degrees make it further than people without degrees. You could be another anecdote or another statistic.


Josh November 21, 2012 at 10:21 am

I think you’re going to want a 4-year degree.

I’ve written about this before, but I was in the same situation having dropped out of college the first time around. It was difficult to land management and professional roles without the 4-year degree. I think that’s a foundational requirement. It could be in Computer Science, Management, Project Management, etc. – really anything you are interested in and preferably applicable of course to the career you are planning for yourself.

More – and you can search from the homepage on too to find other articles and videos on this topic.


Ashenafi Kebede November 21, 2012 at 6:09 am

Hi, It is my second time to writing to you. I am well confused where to find my Project management BA or MA?


Josh November 21, 2012 at 10:24 am

Dr. PDG responded to you earlier. What, specifically, is your question?


Ashenafi Kebede November 21, 2012 at 11:29 am

I am really interested to study MA Project Management, so that, I am looking for of potential list of universities, and potential sponsorship. I need more related information if any

Thank you


Josh November 21, 2012 at 12:16 pm

If you do a search on the homepage here at for scholarships you’ll find some sources there.

I don’t specialize in rating schools or scholarships, but there are many websites out there you can find with a google search that will be helpful for you.


Prasanna Dinesh November 25, 2012 at 2:21 am


My education qualification is bachelors in engineering. I am working as a planning engineer in India for past 4.5 years (since May, 2008). Presently i have applied for 2 years masters in engineering management (subjects mostly covering project management) degree in Australia.
Is the decision correct and will it fetch me positive outcomes for my job after the degree ?
Your feedback means a lot to me..



DrPDG November 25, 2012 at 2:34 am

You provide three short sentences and you expect people to tell you if your direction is correct? You’ve got a degree in engineering (what specialty?) and you have been working as a planning engineer.

So what do you want to do with the rest of your life? Do you like engineering? Planning? Management?

Basically you need to follow a path that makes sense to YOU, not whether Josh or I or anyone else try to guess what might be right for you based on not knowing you.

IF you want to move into technical management, then a Master of Science is in order. If you want to move beyond technical management, then probably an MBA would be a better investment in the long term future. But the only one who can make that decision is you and it needs to be based on what your career path objectives are.

Do you have a Career Path Development Plan? If not, that might be a good place to start. Try this or here….

Once you’ve completed this, THEN you can ask for meaningful guidance, but I strongly suspect the process of doing this will help you answer your OWN questions.

Make sense?
Dr. PDG, Doha, Qatar


Prasanna Dinesh November 25, 2012 at 5:12 am

Dear Sir,

I did my bachelors in Mechanical engineering and started my career in planning and scheduling in the construction related companies like Larsen and Toubro and Alstom. I am more interested towards management or project management field to work in my future. I got an offer from Swinburne uni, Melbourne for doing masters in engineering management. I am also planning to complete pmp certification during the graduation time. Hope now you can understood my query. Please suggest me whether i can proceed for doing engineering management and if u suggest yes, what kind of jobs will be available after graduation ?



wasan waham December 2, 2012 at 9:02 am

I have question that I already had B.S.water resources engineering from IRAQ. but, now I study
master of project management
Can you help me . which positions can be fit to work


DrPDG December 2, 2012 at 7:36 pm

Wasan, given you have a background in water resources and given Iraq is in dire need of clean, fresh potable water, I would think there are nearly endless opportunities for someone with a technical undergrad degree and a Masters in Project Management?

I just did a quick Google search on “Jobs+Water resources+Irag and got over 5 million hits!!! .

Or, if you want to get OUT of Iraq, then the UN Projects Office, AUSAID, USAID, World Bank always are looking for third country nationals (TCN’s) to staff their projects. Best bet for International Development projects is to sign up with Development Ex-

Bottom line- you have a really DESIRABLE (and important!!) undergrad degree and with a Masters in Project Management you should be golden…… Are you also on Linked In? If not, you need to be……

Dr. PDG, Jakarta, Indonesia


ohenry December 4, 2012 at 6:26 am

Having a msc degree in pm will at least get you to a junior pm. It will prove that you have a pm and business knowledge which will benefit the org or the project


DrPDG December 4, 2012 at 6:33 am

OH Henry……

We are a construction and property development company and we hire project managers for projects where our own money is on the line if they should fail and we would NEVER hire a MSC alone without relevant experience even for Junior or Assistant PM…..

Even with a Masters degree, they would be put in a field position facing the customer for at least a year or two until they REALLY knew the business (not book learning or theory, but the hard reality of getting your boots dirty) only after 2 – 3 years of working with the customers in a sales or support role would we start to move them into actually managing projects where they had decision making authority.

Dr. PDG, Jakarta, Indonesia


ohenry December 4, 2012 at 9:25 am

Doctor Paul,

What if you have an applicant coming from the same background and both were having the same number of pm experience except that the other applicant was an undergrad and the other one was MSc PM.- I believe you would definitely hire the one with MSc. – I know the fact that experience matters but MSc in PM will give an edge.- What do you think?

and by the way, ive heard so much about your good reputation in asia and middle east of effective trainings. I must say that I must be one of your trainee in PM someday. looking forward to it….

Many thanks-


DrPDG December 4, 2012 at 5:59 pm

Why yes, of course a masters or even a certification would give two equally qualified people a competitive advantage, but the underlying fact remains- at least in project management, “hands on” experience will (or SHOULD) trump both certifications and degrees, but all else being equal, I would look for degrees then lastly certifications. (Although I am seeing early signs that specialized credentialing may be on the rise, as the job market remains flooded)

And glad to learn that you have heard good things about my teaching. I am a tough teacher, but when you graduate from our courses, you know what you are doing and can prove you know how to use the tools & techniques of project management. BTW, we also teach in Africa and Europe, not just Asia Pacific and the Middle East.

Dr. PDG, Jakarta, Indonesia


Ebb Mber December 7, 2012 at 6:08 am

I am grateful to come across this forum,and found everyones comments insightful, at this moment I am trying to make a decision weather its worth going back to school, and read a degree in project management.
I have 10years experience in managing projects, also Prince 2 practitioner qualified.

I have been on martenity leave for the past 15months and thought getting a degree in PM would be the right move,while I work part time in a projects role.
I am thinking this would be a good opportunity to obtain my first undergrad, while I am raising my son.

I was advised to specialise in construction PM degree, and then do a masters in management.

A bit puzzled with what area one can go into with project management degree on its own without specialisingmin it.

My background is IT and telecommunications,and have worked as a project manager in that aspect.

I welcome some insights.

Thank you


Josh December 10, 2012 at 5:47 pm

Do you have a 4-year degree?

With 10 years experience I don’t think you need to get a graduate degree in PM. You could if you want, but personally I’d work full time managing projects – unless you would be going because you don’t have a 4-year degree, in which case I’d advise getting the undergraduate degree (in PM or in your domain area).

Why move fields to construction? Do you not enjoy the industries you’ve worked in previously? I’ve heard many times from Dr. Paul that you’re not going to get hired as a construction PM without lots of experience in construction first, period. Scheduling or project controls could be an option there.

But in general just ask what you really want to do. I asked myself what I really loved to do, and it led me to see very clearly that I am happiest leading projects in a technology environment.


DrPDG December 10, 2012 at 7:17 pm

Hi Ebb,
I reiterate Josh’s recommendations. First and foremost is to do what you love to do.

Given your background is IT and Telecom’s I think switching to construction after 10 years would probably not make a whole lot of sense, UNLESS you were going to focus on outside plant. (Towers, BTS, Fiber Installations etc) IF that is your passion, then I think getting an undergrad degree in CM would be a competitive advantage. (Tough to find and keep jobs in Telekom without a 4 year degree)

For background information, we do tower inspections (construction phase and post construction phase) for Telecoms and other applications and it makes a GREAT “part time” opportunity. So this fits with your desire to work part time….

Bottom line- IF you are passionate about working in the field (as opposed to sitting in an office), then getting your CM undergrad degree cannot be a BAD move. And there are plenty of CM undergrad degrees out there.

Dr. PDG, Jakarta, Indonesia


Ebb Mber December 14, 2012 at 6:13 pm

Josh and Dr.PDG
Thank you, I dont have an undergrad, hence my desire to obtain one,I am in the process of enrolling into a BA hons in project management,with long term goals of achieving an MBA in a few years down the line.

Going construction was advised by all the university course advisors, because of my technical background, and I also have level 3 techical qualification,but managing people and rojects is what I have passion for.


Wing December 12, 2012 at 8:52 pm

Thanks for writing this article. It is really useful! I have been thinking about getting a masters in PM. But now I wonder… why is it mostly people who are working construction, engineering or IT that study for this degree? I am currently a project coordinator working on community projects for over 2 years and I have been thinking of ways to advance in my career through education. I didn’t have any background in PM before I started this job.

Now that I am thinking, is PM education only for people in construction, engineering and IT?

Plus I was wondering if anyone has any comments on Stanford Advanced PM cert. Is it a good investment?

Thanks :)


DrPDG December 12, 2012 at 9:13 pm

Hi Wing,
The processes associated with “Project Management” permeates nearly everything we do, regardless of sector or application. The difference in recognition lies in the relative maturity of the application. Construction Project Management is probably the oldest and arguably the most mature incarnation, having been around since the late 1940′s. Aerospace is also a fairly mature user, followed by Telecommunications and IT…..

BUT, in your world, there is also a growing awareness of project management applied to the “social services” type projects. Generally speaking they fall under the heading of “International Development Projects” but the fundamental processes apply both locally or globally.

Here are some URL’s to help you get started-

I hope this helps you at least to get started and opens the door for you to really use project management to accomplish worthwhile results in the public sector.

Dr. PDG Jakarta, Indonesia


Wing January 4, 2013 at 5:56 pm

Hi Dr. PDG, thanks very much for the information. and Happy New Year! This is really interesting regarding what you talk about international development projects. I definitely will check it out.

I have another question. I was researching on graduate programs in PM. I came across PMI GAC accredited program s (there are not many, but for example Western Caroline U), and then there are programs that are not GAC accredited but the school is R.E.P (e.g. Penn State U). In your opinion, if I really want to choose a graduate school, which direction will be wiser? GAC accredited or as long as it is provided by R.E.P?

I am also considering the Master Certificate in PM offered by U of Victoria in Canada (in partnership with York U). I have difficulties in choosing between a cert and grad program, but this weekend I will the method you suggest in this article and see what will happen.

Thank you very much again for your input!


DrPDG January 4, 2013 at 6:46 pm

Wing, having participated in the GAC process while I was teaching and in my PhD program at ESC-Lille (now SKEMA) I think the GAC program is one of the better products that PMI offers.

And having been a Global Chartered REP, I believe that program is a farce…… We dropped our Global Chartered REP back around 2003 or so and the impact has been negligible. Just another profit center for PMI, IMPO……

Lastly, there is a BIG difference between a Master Certificate and a Masters DEGREE…… If project management is your career path objective, then you probably won’t go wrong with a Masters degree in project management.

Dr. PDG, Jakarta, Indonesia


Wing January 4, 2013 at 8:23 pm

Oh I see. I know PM is in my career path objective. My current projects are getting more challenging and I really enjoy it. But I have some problems identifying a good school. I looked through the school list on GAC. The list is not very long.

Because of my family situation, I can only look for a distance program, which further limits my options. I am from Canada. Apart from Boston University Metropolitan College, most of the schools I haven’t even heard of their name. And most schools’ world ranking seem to be quite low. I know sometimes world ranking doesn’t tell much, but I wonder if future employers will ignore my education if I choose a not-so-well known (or unheard) school.

According to your experience, are there some more well-known schools in the industry that are accredited and are distance program?

Thanks again and really appreciate your insight!


jessica rhein December 15, 2012 at 11:58 am

Hi there,

I have a few questions. But first Id like to explain my reasons and experience.

I started a small painting company almost three years ago (commercial and residential). It has been a terrific learning experience for me. However, after these past years of back ach and not progressing in way that my talents are truly taken seriously, i have decided it is time to step it up a notch. The first time I seen what a project coordinator was doing on one of my jobsites I new thats the direction I wanted to go in. However, being me I looked further into the same thing.. being a project manager.

so my question for you is this. Due to barely having a high school diploma and needing much upgrading for a degree in project management. NAIT offers a “furthering education” program. No upgrading, no government funding. Just expensive courses that will get me a project management certificate.

Is it worth the time and money? Are the jobs available the same with a certificate instead of a degree?

I Know that this is what I am doing. But fear the time and money spent will be waisted if the jobs available are not to the standards I expect.

any advice is appreciated.



DrPDG January 4, 2013 at 7:00 pm

Jessica, as I too am coming from a trade background, with over 25 years as a general contractor, I can relate to your question rather nicely.

To go where you want to go- as a construction project manager, will almost surely require that you get a degree in that field. The market is saturated with graduates holding CM undergrad degrees and those will be who you are competing against.

Another option would be to consider getting a Construction Management Certification?

NAIT looks to me like a trade school, and given your back is already hurting after only 3 years, the question is, do you want to stay in the trades or do you want to get into management? If you want to get into management, then you probably will end up having to get a degree…….

Hope this has helped you some?

Dr. PDG, Jakarta Indonesia


Sundari January 17, 2013 at 7:50 am

hello, I am very much confused between two fields basically i completed BBAIT and now i cleared two entry tests and also got admission in both fields.One is MBA and other is MPM(masters in project management).Please guide me which field will be better for me but in my opinion i am more interested in MPM as compare to MBA but still I need some suggestions whether its good for me or not?


Josh January 20, 2013 at 1:37 am

The short version is “it’s up to you!”

I always advise getting experience in the field prior to pursuing a graduate degree. I think it gives you much needed experience and then you can make a more informed decision about higher education later if you wish.


Zarin Gul Rahimi January 29, 2013 at 11:17 pm

I would like to have online master degree in construction project management.
so I need complete information


DrPDG January 29, 2013 at 11:49 pm

OK Zarin, I think you have made a wise choice……

But where are you located?

Probably the “best” or “most respected” programs in construction project management are coming from Australia, the UK or USA…….

Several of the top ranked ones based on my limited experience with recent grads are Purdue,; Del E Webb and Stanford’s CM degree or the CM program at the University of Florida is the oldest in the USA-

Australia has the University of Melbourne (which I believe is one of the oldest CM programs in the world) or Deakin

The UK also has a lot of highly regarded, reputable programs….

Bottom line- Best suggestion would be to Google on “Construction Project Management Master Degrees” and the country/countries where you want to attend you will come up with literally millions of hits…..

Dr. PDG, Jakarta, Indonesia


David Stainback February 1, 2013 at 11:12 am

I have both an under-graduate degree in Business Administration and a Certification from PMI in Project Management. I’ve been a project manager for over 15 years but want to go deeper into the methodology and study of project management to improve the discipline. Would you recommend a higher degree? I’m not attempting to improve my current job position just be better at it. Any guidance would be appreciated.


DrPDG February 1, 2013 at 5:52 pm

Hi David,
My best advice to you would be to throw away your PMBOK Guide and pick up Gary Humphrey’s “Project Management Using Earned Value”

By far that is, IMPO, the best single book ever written on APPLIED project management. It not only offers a true step by step methodology, but also provides case studies and examples of what should be done.

And I am NOT an just an academic, but also a practitioner- we do real estate development and we provide project management support services under firm fixed price contracts, where our own money is on the line if the project “succeeds” or “fails”. And Humphrey’s book is one of a handful that sits on my desk.

Another suggestion- look into either AACE or INCOSE as offering much more technically robust bodies of knowledge and certifications. After PMI, you will find AACE especially to be a refreshing change, as we make our “Total Cost Management” Methodology and our “Recommended Practices” available to both members and non-members alike at NO COST.

Then there are several Universities which offer “Certificate” programs in project management. (BU is one and there are several in Canada) These are something less than a full masters degree but do offer a way to help you build your skills and knowledge.

And lastly, many universities offer graduate level courses in project management as it applies to a specific sector- i.e. Embry Riddle offers courses in Aeronautical Engineering Project Management; Purdue offers courses in Construction Project Management; Stevens Institute of Technology offers advanced courses in IT and Telecommunications Project Management…… et al ad infinitum…..

Bottom line- there are a LOT of options if you are willing to look beyond PMI.

Hope this has helped you more than confused you?

Dr. PDG, Jakarta, Indonesia


Jolly February 3, 2013 at 9:10 am

Hi Dr. PDG, The blog is very informative. I have completed my Engineering in Electronics and Telecom (4 year program). I have close to 3 years of Work experience with a reputed MNC (Telecom). I want to enroll for the Master’s in Project Management program (degree) or Masters in Engineering Management program in Canada. I have not been able to find any university that offers a full time course in PM. Please suggest as the way forward!!!!


DrPDG February 3, 2013 at 8:01 pm

???? Wow Jolly, unless I am mistaken there are MANY in Canada……..

And if those don’t work for you, then the USA has hundreds……. Including some very good distance learning…..

I got my MScPM from George Washington University-

And I believe Stevens Institute offers a flexible Master of PM that allows you to focus on Telcom Project Management?

Bottom line- Google around and you will find no shortage of full time/part time/resident/distance Masters in Project Management in North America and Europe and Asia Pacific….. TONNES of them!!

Dr. PDG, Jakarta, Indonesia


Carl Cameron February 12, 2013 at 4:35 am

I have been a software development project manager (production manager) for 6 years and have run 2 software development teams in 2 companies on my current carreer path. I have held a prince 2 practioners qualification for the last 6 years. but now I am pondering whether to look to a degree in project management to enhance my qualification.
my only concern would be the degree would more be generally IT based and not in the cycle of work i am in day to day.
would any one be able to advise if it would be a suitable progression for me?


DrPDG February 12, 2013 at 4:41 am

Carl, based on the very limited information you provided, it is hard to advise you…….

Given you have already established a “reputation” or “brand image” in the world of IT, are you looking to branch out or do you want to stay with IT? The answer to that question would largely determine whether you opted for a general MBA with a concentration in Project Management (like that offered by BU) or chose a MSc degree, with a focus on IT project management (like those offered by Stevens Institute.

Getting a non-specific MBA will probably open the most doors for you in terms of expanding your world beyond that of IT.

Hope this helps you some?

Dr. PDG, Jakarta, Indonesia


Igor February 22, 2013 at 3:59 am

I would rather go to some Medical Doctor with a degree, than certified medical-specialist. The same principle applies to other disciplines.


DrPDG February 22, 2013 at 4:05 am

AMEN, Igor!!!! I am with you all the way on this………

But even more importantly, in order to BECOME a “doctor” in medicine you have to serve an INTERNSHIP where you have to prove you are competent under the watchful eyes of senior practitioners………..

You cannot even touch a “real person” until you have demonstrated you are competent working on cadavers and simulations…… Same thing with commercial pilots…… You never even get to sit right seat (copilot) in an Airbus 380 until you have logged several hundred hours in a flight simulator…….

Before I die, I surely hope project management progresses to that level of competency based credentialing……

Dr. PDG, Jakarta, Indonesia


charles March 7, 2013 at 5:21 am

i am in Botswana, currently doing Bsc Construction engineering and Management and only left with 1 year of studying. I need advice, would you recommend i should do Masters degree in Project Management immediately i graduate or is it best to wait after i have gained experience from the field. i really need advice…..


DrPDG March 7, 2013 at 5:58 am

Hi Charles,
My recommendation would be to get a couple of years experience first, before you go for your masters.

My rationale is with experience, it will give you context to go with the advanced knowledge you are gaining.

On the down side, it means you will be working full time and attending school part time. But on the plus side, most decent companies will pay all or part of you course fees.

Dr. PDG, AIQS Conference, Perth, Australia


UMD_PMstudent March 11, 2013 at 9:33 pm

Hello Dr,

Great thread you have going here, lots of great info.

I just wanted to post my current situation and get your thoughts.

Working at a Civil firm in the Washingon, DC area as a Traffic Design Engineer for the past 6 years. We put together construction plans, cost estimates and specs for State DOTs to advertise. Got my Professional Engineering license 2 years ago. Just starting to delve into a bit of project management at work…will probably only get the true PM-type experience in the next year or so whenever I get promoted to Project Engineer. I’ve been enrolled in University of Maryland’s Project Management Master’s of Engineering program for the past 3 semesters. It’s PMI accredited, so I think i get 1200 hours or so of PM credit towards the PMP. Liking it so far, but part time school is definitely painful. Luckily at least my office is paying for it. I’ll probably complete the degree in the next 2 years…then sit for the PMP when I have the requite experience.

I had been debating about doing the M.Eng PM vs an MBA for a while. A couple of things dissuaded me from the MBA:
1) Cost vs. Benefit
2) I was told by several people the financial industry, in the US, it’s top 5 full time or forget it
3) Not sure what the market is for MBAs right now, especially without another cert like CFA or something.
4) Not sure if I wanted to take the plunge and switch careers completely.

I’m thinking that the combination of M.Eng, PE, and PMP will help me be more marketable if I want to jump companies. Eventually I’d like to start my own small engineering firm, so I figure the PM education will help.
But I can’t say that I have a concrete goal right now with this PM path I’m taking.

Thoughts/comments? Should I have gone the MBA route?


admin March 14, 2013 at 6:22 pm

I never recommend a degree just for the sake of a degree. Yes a degree can be helpful in most of our career paths. But if you select a degree with the assumption that it and it alone will land you a job and a promotion and then it does not – you will of course be disappointed. But if you select a degree program because you have an interest in that area (and you still may want it to propel your career), then you are less likely to regret your investment of time and money. So go with what you enjoy with an eye for also how it can support your career goals.

You can also consider contacting people who are in the position you would like to have in 2 years, in 5 years and in 10 years and ask them about their path.


Ryan Isidoro May 11, 2013 at 5:40 am

Very good insights!

I finished my BS in Electrical Engg last 2006, had a 3yrs exp in construction/project management and then shifted to utility/distribution company mainly doing operation and maintenance. I tried to do some research regarding MS CM /PM but most curriculum are civil inclined. Is there any MS CM degree suited for my present experience.

hoping for your comment! Thanks.


Noe June 4, 2013 at 6:53 am

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I will make sure to bookmark your blog and definitely
will come back sometime soon. I want to encourage you
to continue your great job, have a nice day!


Mushrif M June 26, 2013 at 2:04 pm

Hi josh, Dr and every one
I have been managing civil construction projects for more than one year doing more than 4 projects worth of 2 million usd.
I have bachelors in science and 4 year diploma in civil engineering and have 5 years of experience.

I have an idea to follow msc or mba in project management. Both are expensive and consume 2years
Infact I have the intension to increase my qualifications. can any please help me out to select the right path.
If any one knows any recognised online msc in project management please let me know. Looking forward your comments


DrPDG June 27, 2013 at 11:20 pm

Mushrif, given your 5 years of experience and diploma, why not get your MSC in Construction Management? Not sure where you are from but I believe most Uni’s in the Middle East, UK, SE Asia and Australia as well as the USA all offer undergrad and graduate degrees in Construction Project Management.

Another option is to get the highly regarded Certified Construction Manager (CCM) credential from CMAA?

For construction, I don’t recommend the PMP as it is not highly respected in that domain. However, the AACE credentials are well known and highly respected as is the CIOB (UK and Commonwealth Nations.

Bottom line-there are no shortages of options open to you, And this should at least get you started and provide you with some options to consider.

Dr. PDG, Jakarta, Indonesia


Neo June 30, 2013 at 1:26 pm

I am one of those “I have a BA in an unrelated discipline and I want to go back to school to pursue an advanced degree in PM”. On top of that I have no experience managing projects. So, in a nutshell, what you are saying is that I am about to make a bad career move??


Aleem Khan July 7, 2013 at 4:19 pm

Talking ROI, project management degree is no different from any other degree. I consent on your experience rule.


Amos July 9, 2013 at 9:38 am


It is difficult to manage what u don’t know, it could be a possibility, but hard to acomplish. Studying the masters also involves case studies that are of a very complex nature to a novice in to the actual industry. My advice, gain experience and then go for it.


Jas B August 31, 2013 at 3:38 am

Hi Josh,

When I completed my MSc PM back in 2010 I was expecting my career to hit sky high, but unfortunately with the recession taking place that was never the case. I am a freelance / contractor and have been since 2006 I specialise in delivering IT projects. I worked full time and studied by night it was hard back then financially but it has got easier in terms of ROI and I still have the ambition and passion for delivering projects today as I had 10 years ago but opportunities are often hard to come by, and sometimes I’ve been out of work for over 3 months. So when it comes to planning my own career path it’s been difficult because I can never be sure of where I can be in terms of location amongst other things. There are many positives about gaining a MSc etc with experience you are mostly likely to be in the top 20% of being hired.


DrPDG August 31, 2013 at 5:29 am

Hi Jas, not sure if you realize it or not, but Josh sold this site some time back as his career has moved on. (I think he may have moved to California, but not sure)

Anyway, I still contribute so if you don’t mind me responding, then let me share some hard realities.

First, you are not alone. PMI recently published an article that by 2018, 50% of the workforce will be “contingent workers”. This paper was based on credible research by the Abderdeen Group.

If you want to see a more detailed debate on this question, then you can go to the Global Project Management Linked In Group and follow what was a very dynamic and at times heated discussion.

Having said that, I have been a “contractor” for 45+ years. I have NEVER held a “real job” and about the best advice I can offer you is IF you want to survive as a contractor and actually make money doing so, then you need to be absolutely at the very top of your game and you need to develop multiple income streams….. For instance, I develop and deliver 2-3 day short courses as well as develop and deliver 3 and 6 month long, graduate level blended learning courses designed to build competency around PMI’s PMBOK Guide, AACE’s TCM Framework. and the INCOSE Body of Knowledge. I also am in the process of expanding our competency development courses to the IIBA certifications.

In addition, I also develop and deliver courses as an adjunct professor…….

Lastly, as my background is Construction Project Management, we buy, remodel and “flip” houses and some commercial property as well has owning our own commercial and residential rental properties……

Bottom line- Given your chances of getting a “real job” are not looking promising, you need to follow the wisdom of Darwin- that the species which survive are those who are most adaptable and that means you need to develop as broad an income stream as possible based around your experience plus your MS in Project Management.

Sorry not to have better news to share with you, but I honestly believe what I have explained is about as real as it gets.

Dr. PDG, Jakarta, Indonesia


ABHISHEK Tripathi October 8, 2013 at 6:10 am

I am a civil engineering graduate looking to pursue a masters in project management .
Can you please give an insight about the career opportunities of a civil engineer with a masters degree in project management and what kind of jobs are available with specific reference to Sydney ,Australia .


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