Have you dreamed of leading a team in your company or organization and seeing a project through from conception to completion? Are you good at delegating, multi-tasking, and communicating? If so, a career as a project manager is a good choice for you. This field is growing and offers the opportunity to work with a variety of individuals in an organization including senior-level managers. It's a career that's anything but boring. One of the best ways to prepare yourself for a career in project management and set yourself up for success is to earn a Master of Business Administration (MBA) degree with a focus on project management.
Project Management Responsibilities
According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), there are nearly 1.5 million project managers working in the United States. Project managers work as leaders to get projects of all sizes accomplished. They set deadlines, put together a team (often across departmental lines), communicate progress and results to management and other stakeholders, delegate tasks, and keep the project on schedule. These projects can range from complex multi-year projects to relatively simple ones that can be accomplished in a few weeks or months.
Job Prospects for Project Managers
According to the BLS, the mean annual salary of a project manager is $84,290. However, this number can vary quite a bit depending on your industry, the region of the country where you work, and your education and experience. Project manager jobs tend to be located in larger metropolitan areas. Not surprisingly, the areas with the most project manager jobs include the greater New York City area, the greater Washington, DC area, the Los Angeles/Anaheim area, and the Dallas/Ft. Worth area. Project manager jobs are available in a wide array of industries, including communications, IT, construction, and the arts. Project managers are also widely sought by government entities and non-profit organizations.
The Project Management Institute (PMI) estimates that the demand for project managers will continue to exceed the average demand for jobs around the globe, with an estimated 22 million new project manager jobs to be added by 2027.
Potential Career Paths for Project Management
There are a variety of careers open to those with a degree in project management. Just a few of these project management specializations include:
Project analysts look for ways to improve a project's efficiency and cost-effectiveness. These workers can be consultants or work for a corporation or organization. They generally get involved with large-scale projects. According to the BLS, the average salary for a project analyst is $87,660 per year.
A project manager, as we mentioned above, works on a variety of small and large projects for a corporation, government office, or non-profit. He or she might even work as a consultant. Project managers see a project from conception to completion, setting deadlines, putting together a team, making sure that the project is progressing on schedule, and communicating with team members, management, and other interested parties. Many project managers are generalists and work on a variety of different types of projects.
Cost estimators collect and analyze data to provide the necessary information for bid proposals. They estimate labor, money, material and time necessary to complete a project. According to the BLS, the average annual salary of a cost estimator is $66,610.
Program managers coordinate activities among multiple projects without directly managing the projects. Program managers tend to handle developments on a larger scale, managing the overall company or organization objective, choosing project managers for individual projects within the large plan, and managing and communicating the results.
Project Portfolio Manager
Project portfolio managers (PPMs) work across departmental lines to analyze and collectively manage the processes, methods, and technologies that project managers use. For example, a PPM might map out the construction projects that a university or hospital might tackle within a five to ten-year time frame. They might also outline the human and physical resources that will be needed for a company's projects planned for the year. This is a growing field, as more and more companies and organizations are realizing they need a centralized manager for effective project management.
Directors are a type of project manager, usually found in smaller companies and non-profits, that oversee multiple projects and project managers. They may also have other duties not related to project management.
A COO, or Chief Operating Officer, is a part of senior management. They might also be referred to as a Vice President of Operations. This person is charged with making sure that all of the company's operations run efficiently and profitably. They make sure that the procedures and policies are in place for smooth project management, that the company or organization has access to the tools and materials it needs to complete projects, and communicate both up and down the corporate ladder.
In addition to these careers, there are additional specialized paths that you can pursue, depending on your industry specialization. Some of these careers include:
Construction Project Managers
This subset of project managers handles construction projects, as the name implies. These can be in-house projects, as with a university, hospital, large corporation, or for a construction company. According to the BLS, the average annual salary of a construction manager is $97,180. They also indicate that the number of jobs for this career are increasing by 11%, which exceeds the national average for all jobs.
IT Project Managers
IT project managers work exclusively on a company or organization's technology projects. Like their counterparts in other fields, IT project managers oversee a team, set deadlines, manage workflow, and communicate results and progress.
How Long Does It Take to Get an MBA?
An MBA generally takes two years to complete. However, Johnson &Wales University offers both a one-year and a two-year MBA degree program. We are one of just a few US universities to offer the shorter program. The one-year MBA program is a concentrated program, best suited for students with a strong academic and practical background in business and finance. Unlike the two-year degree program, there is no opportunity for a business internship in conjunction with the one-year MBA program. Both MBA degree programs are offered as an in-person or online program.
Getting an online degree is easier than you might imagine. The benefits of online learning are many and include not having to take the time to travel to a classroom, spend money on gas and parking, or adhere to the strict classroom schedule. With online learning, you can attend most classes on your own schedule and plan around your work hours, childcare responsibilities, and civic obligations. With online learning, you're not left to learn all alone. There are chat rooms where you can collaborate with other students and regular virtual office hours when you can ask your professors questions, just like with in-person learning.
Benefits of Earning an MBA in Project Management
Earning an MBA in project management gives you the tools and knowledge you need to excel as a senior project manager, director, or one of the many other career options we've discussed. In addition, it gives you a "leg up" on other job applicants, who may have the experience, but lack the degree.
Earning an MBA degree in project management also shows your employer or prospective employer that you are serious about project management as a career, that you're not just testing the waters to see if this career is right for you.
Project management training and skills travel well. There is demand for good, well-trained project managers all over the world, especially in India and China. If you've always wanted to live and work overseas, your MBA in project management could very well be your ticket.
About Johnson & Wales University
Johnson & Wales University, with campuses in Providence, RI and Charlotte, NC, is a private university accredited by the New England Commission of Higher Education. The university, founded in 1914, has more than 8,600 undergraduate, graduate and online students. Johnson & Wales offers a variety of undergraduate and graduate degree programs in its College of Business and five other colleges. Financial aid is available to qualified students who enroll in the one-year or two-year MBA programs.
Earn your MBA - Project Management online or in-person from JWU. For more information about completing your degree online or on-campus, complete the Request Info form, call 855-JWU-1881, or email [email protected].