Here are some reasons why you shouldn’t get a master’s degree in project management. My Project Management Career Newsletter is full of questions about degrees.

  • Do I need an MBA or Master’s in Project Management?
  • I have a BS/BA in a different discipline. Should I return to school for an advanced PM or business degree?
  • I was just laid off. Should I return to school to earn a Master’s Degree?

All great questions. Education is never wasted if you put your mind to learning and then apply what you have learned while working. Let me clarify. I’m not against higher learning. ?Not at all. Here’s the deal. It is easy to see that every person who completes an advanced degree will reap some benefits. The nuance is found in the ROI of a degree in your chosen industry or discipline, and if it aligns with your career goals. Many people seek a degree to improve their lives. The Wrong Reasons Too often I see people who rush to follow a path without first deciding their goals and purpose. It’s like embarking on a project without knowing why or what you want to achieve. It’s about jumping to the “how” without understanding the “why” or “what” in concrete terms. Write it down. I recommend that you write down some of your ideas and make them explicit in my Project Management Career Coaching course. It’s worth the time and effort to plan your career. It can be uncomfortable. Long-range planning is always difficult. I created worksheets specifically to make the process easier. These worksheets are part of a process for assessing your starting place, what you want to achieve, and formulating an attack plan. No matter if you start with a blank sheet of paper, or one of my worksheets, it is important to write it down. Make it clear for yourself. This is your responsibility.

  • Take a deep breath, and take some time to think about a 10-year goal. I mean crystal. Write a few paragraphs about yourself, your job, your team, your office, salary, benefits and how many hours per week you work.
  • Start working backwards from the 10-year goal and completing 5, 3, 2, and 1 year goals. It is crystal clear.
  • Now, think about the “how” and what specific activities you will need in order to achieve those goals.
  • Execute
  • Rinse and Repeat annually (your goals may change as you learn more and progress).
  • Is Higher Education a Good Fit? Perhaps yes, or maybe not. A 4-year undergraduate degree in something is the prerequisite for most organizations as a project manager or line manger. In most cases, even if you are a junior project manager, I believe that hard work will pay more dividends for your career than a Master’s in Project Management or an MBA. If your goal is to become a project manager, then this is the right path. You can also avoid student loan debt. A Master’s degree may be required if your 10-year goal is to hold a higher-level executive position. Do you need to return to school immediately, even if this is the case? If your plans for the next 3-5 years don’t require an advanced degree, you might be better off opening a savings account to pay for it at a later date. Avoid debt, or at the very least, reduce it. ?In the meantime, you should focus on learning experience. ?And more experience. ?And more. Experience Rules I also speak to many of those who have an advanced degree, even one in Project Management, but little or no experience managing projects. If everything else is equal, I would rather hire someone with 2 years experience managing projects and no advanced degree.

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