After completing his bachelor’s degree, Hsu C. secured an internship in the UK – where he gained experience in project management.
During his job hunt, Hsu saw the reality of this industry: a Project Management Professional (PMP®) certification was vital for him to secure better roles. That lead him to pursue an MS in Project Management (MSPM) at Lewis University.
“I am from Taiwan and obtained my bachelor’s degree in the UK,” Hsu shares. “I had an internship in London that gave me experience in Project Management, but all the jobs I applied to required the PMP certificate.”
The MSPM’s courses and seminars are approved as Professional Development Units for the PMP certification – which is accredited by the Project Management Institute (PMI®). It produces professionals with the know-how to get things done amidst global changes, unite diverse talents and organise various teams to collectively turn ideas into reality.
That was enough to convince Hsu to pursue an MSPM at Lewis University. “I am taking the MSPM because it has the recognition from PMI. This will make my MSPM degree stand out from other project managers and indicates that I have studied one of the best project management programmes in the world,” Hsu says.
Arvind Reddy, another student pursuing the MSPM, agrees. “The PMP certificate will allow me to advance my career as a project manager. Without the PMP certificate, you can only find jobs as an assistant or intern, but after I obtain my PMP I will be able to find jobs as a full project manager,” he says.
Its non-industry-specific nature is an added bonus. Students like Reddy graduated with a bachelor’s degree in computer science. The MSPM cohort is diverse too, allowing students to support and learn from one another.
“There is a guy from Hong Kong who has worked as a senior project manager for years in Toronto and is taking courses with us,” Reddy explains. “What’s great is that many of the other international students have Curricular Practical Training (CPT) and Optional Practical Training (OPT) jobs, and they share opportunities that open up at their companies.”
In the classroom, professors are always ready to lead discussions and answer any questions. “Dr. Harris is by far the best professor at Lewis,” says Reddy. “He brings energy and excitement to difficult course topics that make them easier to comprehend and apply.”
Similarly, these experienced faculty members share their industry experience – offering students invaluable insight. “One of my professors was a full-time project manager at an international company in Chicago,” Reddy shares. “During his class, he always provided examples of what we were learning and how they applied to his profession. It was helpful to hear actual examples of the concepts that we were learning.”
Crossing disciplines is also encouraged. “One of my favourite courses was in Organisational Behaviour,” says Hsu. “It was like a course in the psychology of a business and the creative process. I found it fascinating to learn about topics in trust and the effectiveness of motivation on individuals in a group project.”
It all contributes to Lewis University’s goal of developing an engaged community with professional associations that utilise faculty and student experiences. This extends to helping students find research, internship or career opportunities.
Reddy, for example, met with professors who connected him with jobs in computer science and project management throughout his studies. His first job was working as a project management assistant for an automotive company. Currently, he is a junior project manager at a software company as part of the CPT scheme.
The same applies to Hsu. Within his second semester, he secured a job at a local company in Chicago. He started as a project intern at a big construction company, where he assisted in managing every phase of a development project, including safety compliance and regulations. He still works at the company – and hopes to remain in this industry due to the demand for construction project managers.
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