“He will load you with assignments, but trust me, after you take his class – you will never forget about Project Management.”
Project Management, especially if you are Graduate Student, is a skill that you are subconsciously using on a day-to-day basis. Whether it’s when you decide to prioritize different subjects, juggle schedules, analyze risks if you really need to organize your room, or even to decide what to prioritize between doing laundry or cooking dinner, or even doing them simultaneously. You are Project Managing these tasks.
When I took the course last semester (the course is part of the core curriculum of my Engineering Management degree), I didn’t expect to learn a significant amount. A course on Project Management always seemed so theoretical, especially being an Engineer, my natural bias towards non-technical courses crept in. When I had to make a choice between different professors, I took it under Professor Steve Klosterman upon a friend’s recommendation – and boy did the quote prove to be right.
EMGT 5220 under Professor Klosterman was the first course I attended as a hybrid class at Northeastern University where we had the option to take the course on-ground or online – pretty convenient eh? Class format is pretty simple:
- You do your assignments about the topics before it is taught in class – which initially I didn’t agree to, but makes sense as you understand the subject better when you discuss in class. It’s more like a mini-revision with dynamic examples.
- Discuss case studies about the topics.
- Discuss scenarios in past or current companies.
- Group activities.
- Term Project
What I took out of this course:
- Hard Skills: The sheer number of times we have discussed WBS, RACI, Gantt Chart, Pert Chart, and Network Diagrams – has been pretty much been ingrained into my soul. Wake me up at 3 am and ask me to solve a Network Diagram – I can do it.
- Soft Skills: I have always had a dilemma about certain aspects in negotiations or conflict management, and trust me, there is no right answer to this because it depends on the situation and varies from person to person but the discussions with Prof. K gave me the perspective on how to plan a course towards reaching an amicable decision.
- Time Management: The fact that deadlines were hard, constant assignments along with a term project with regular goals, I got my time management game up to speed (at least on most days).
- Term Project: This has to be one of the projects I enjoyed from start to end. We were allowed to choose any project, and being an ardent football fan, I chose to be a consultant for Manchester United. All the way from setting the project charter, WBS on MS Project, to Risk Assessment, Work Schedules, Resource Allocation and various other requirements for a good solid project. I believe I picked up some invaluable skills which will serve me well as I take up my corporate journey after my Masters.
- Prof K.: Just take it under him, don’t think otherwise. It’s absolutely brilliant and we are lucky to have him here at Northeastern University.
For the Term Project, I took up the challenge to tackle an issue prevalent currently in the field of sports – generating revenue by getting fans back into the stadium during COVID-19. I specifically worked on solving this problem for Manchester United Plc. and its stakeholders.