Most project managers work in construction, information science or engineering. Their role is to conceptualize a project, then plan and implement it and, finally, complete it. They are the the head of project from the moment its goal is defined to the moment it is completed. Each stage of any project is studied by project managers and steered to ensure greater chance at proper completion. Because of this, having excellent communication skills is absolutely vital.
What We Do
Project managers with an MBA usually get to work on a full time basis in a variety of different industries. However, it is also possible that they already have a certain role and incorporate project management to improve their current capabilities. It is a very popular degree for those who are at mid-career level. However, as demand is growing, interest is growing with it, which means more degree programs and certificates are being made available as well.
Why It’s Hot
According to PayScale.com, the career of an MBA graduate with a project management specialization will lead to very interesting salaries, although there are big differences depending on their chosen industry. Indeed, the salaries can vary from $50,000 to $125,796, as of April 2015.
Employers are looking for people who are proficient in the field of project management. They are expected to demonstrate skills in time management, implementation of strategic change, cost management and more. The Economist Intelligence Unit report that was released in 2009 showed that 90% of executives believed project management to be critical to operations. Yet, only 37% felt that they had the right project management skills in place.
The Project Management Institute reports that some 6.2 million jobs will be created by 2020. This is also due to the fact that baby boomers are starting to retire, and because the economy is recovering.
Perhaps most important, however, is the fact that so few employers feel that they currently have the right project management skills. This has come forward in various pieces of research. While this does not mean existing project managers are not doing their job properly, it may mean that that they have not been adequately trained.
Project managers work in a number of different environments. Most commonly, they are found in IT, operations, programs, engineering, construction and senior operations. Most will have office-based jobs, although those in construction and engineering may also have some hands-on roles.
How to Do It
The MBA – Master of Business Administration – with a Project Management concentration emphasizes leadership and problem solving. To complete this, students must first finish a bachelor’s degree before seeking acceptance to a master’s program. Competition to gain entry into MBA schools is incredibly fierce, however, and it is recommended that students apply to numerous schools to have a chance. There are many MBA programs available around the country, but not all of those have a project management specialization, which means you will have to do some research.
In order to increase your chances of being accepted, you should study towards the GMAT examination, as this is required by most schools.
MBA in Project Management Online
The following list includes 30 of the best online options for pursuing a Master of Business Administration with a concentration in project management. Each listing details the name of the degree, the name of the university, and details unique to the program offered at that particular school.
- *Online MBA in Project Management – Southern New Hampshire University – (Editor’s Pick!) – This specialization has a broad appeal because it is such a universally needed skill set to bring to a company or organization. This no GMAT school includes an online format that can be tailored to each student’s individual time constraints. The total 39 credit hours can be completed in less than 18 months if taken on a full-time basis throughout the program.
- *Online Master of Business Administration in Project Management – Liberty University – There is no requirement for a GMAT test score for application to this program. The 45 total credit hours can be reduced by up to 12 hours that can be transferred in based on previously completed college courses or by previous work experience credits. Focus is spent on quality control and time management as essential functions of an effective project manager.
- *Capella online MBA in Project Management degree program – Capella University – can help put you in demand by equipping you with leadership and team-development skills. Master project procurement, solicitation, planning, management, and control. This specialization is accredited by the Project Management Institute (PMI®) Global Accreditation Center for Project Management (GAC)*.
*The FlexPath options for the project management specializations are not accredited by PMI-GAC.
- *Online Master of Business Administration in Project Management – Kaplan University – All of the concentrations under the Kaplan MBA invest a lot of time in studying the international impact of modern business. This provides skills that many employers are looking for. There is no GMAT test score required for admission. The total credits include 60 devoted to the MBA core classes, and 16 more just focused on the project management concentration, totaling 76 credits.
- *Online Master of Business Administration in Project Management – Northcentral University – This 30 total credit program is made up of half core classes and half specialization classes. There is no requirement for a GMAT test score for admission. For those interested in working intensively to finish the program quicker, there is an accelerated track available to complete the degree within one year. Both programs involve the same number of classes and credit hours, but the accelerated consists of twice as much work at a time, and probably could not be done at the same time as a full-time job.
- Master of Business Administration in Project Management – Post University – The procedural knowledge gained from this specialization will aid graduates in managing projects in their careers. The tools and techniques will drastically improve their ability to bring about substantial change. Nearly all students complete this degree within the scheduled two and one half year timeframe. There is no need to have a GMAT test score to be admitted to this program. Post University MBA program is featured as one of the best Online MBA programs in the nation report.
- Master of Business Administration in Project Management – South University – This school also only requires a GMAT test score for those with undergraduate GPAs under 2.70. The program includes a total of 12 courses, 4 of which are focused on the project management specialization. This curriculum is designed to support those pursuing certification as a Project Management Professional (PMP) but completing the program only prepares the graduate for the test, it does not guarantee they will pass the test.
- Master of Business Administration in Project Management – Florida Tech University – As so much of modern business involves “project” like tasks or teams setting out to study problems and implement solutions, this specialization seems to fit well with many positions within nearly every kind of organization. The 36 total credits includes 12 credits on the subject of project management. There is no GMAT test score required for admission to this program.
- Master of Business Administration in Project Management – Columbia Southern University – Designed to provide additional expertise to current working professionals interested in improving their ability to motivate people, manage complicated projects, while consistently providing successful results. 37 total semester hours include 25 for the core classes, and 12 for the project management specialization. It is estimated to take three years to complete this degree. This school does not require GMAT test scores for application.
- Master of Business Administration in Project Management – Herzing University – This school only requires a GMAT test score for those applicants with an undergraduate GPA below 2.70. The 39 credits include 30 for the MBA core and 9 for the project management focus. It is required that all applicants have an undergraduate degree in business or a related discipline.
- Master of Business Administration in Project Management – Grantham University – This is not a school that needs a GMAT test score for admission. The 36 total credit hours are available completely online, and the program can be started each week, so provides flexibility for those interested in getting started right away on their degree.
- Master of Business Administration in Project Management – Aspen University – This program does not require a GMAT test score for admission. The coursework uses advanced courses in addition to the core MBA classes by investigating organizational behavior and relevant project management techniques. The 36 total credits includes 12 classes, 3 of which are related to project management studies.
- Master of Business Administration in Project Management – Mississippi State University – This program designed for engineering and other technically-oriented students whose interests are moving into managerial positions within their organizations. The degree consists of 24 hours of MBA courses and 9 hours of industrial engineering courses for a total of 33 hours. This program does require a GMAT test score for admission.
- Master of Business Administration in Project Management – Colorado Technical University – This program does not require a GMAT test score for admission. Project courses include cost control, scheduling, planning, and procurement. The combination of project management skills and the core MBA courses will provide a more thorough understanding of the elements of the business environment and how they can better work together.
- Master of Business Administration in Project Management – DeSales University – This 12 course program includes 7 core classes, 4 project management classes, and one capstone class. The GMAT test is required, but there are situations where waivers can be granted to exclude the test from the application. This program takes three years to complete one class at a time, but can be accelerated by taking more than one course at a time.
- Master of Business Administration in Project Management – Ashford University – Adding specialized exposure to procurement, finance, and operations, students of this concentration will be well prepared to handle various responsibilities in their organization. Students must take 42 total credits and have a minimum 3.00 GPA in order to graduate. There is no GMAT requirement for this school.
- Master of Business Administration in Project Management – Florida Institute of Technology – This program includes 36 total credits and can be completed in less than two years. The case method is used in classes to provide opportunities for students to see real business dilemmas and allow them to practice putting their learned skills to work. There are certain situations that require the GMAT for admission, but it is not required for everyone.
- Master of Business Administration – University of Texas at Dallas – This school does require a GMAT score for admission. The total credit hours needed to graduate from this degree is 53, and consists of 29 core hours and 24 specialty hours. UT Dallas is featured in the top of our America’s Best Online MBA rankings program report for 2017.
- Master of Business Administration in Project Management – California Southern University – Designed to prepare students for the project-based nature of certain aspects of the business community, this degree program provides the specialized tools and classes to serve them best. The 15 credit of project management teachings deal with strategic design, organization, integration, and basic theories of project management. This program does not require a GMAT test score.
- Master of Business Administration in Project Management – Norwich University – For applicants that have undergraduate GPAs over 2.75, there is no GMAT test score required to apply. This specialization involves a independent research project that spans several courses in the program. This serves for students to interpret each lesson and theory through the view of the actual situation in their project. The total program has 36 credit hours.
- Master of Business Administration in Project Management – Golden Gate University – This school does require a GMAT test score upon application to this degree program, but there are some situations where the test requirement is waived. The project management portion of the curriculum consists of 12 units, or 4 courses. These courses include project management, planning and control, team leadership and dynamics, and the practice of project management.
- Master of Business Administration in Project Management – Brenau University – This program is made up of 13 courses, or 39 credit hours. That includes 8 courses in the MBA core curriculum and 5 courses in the project management specialization. This school does not require a GMAT test score for admission.
- Master of Business Administration in Project Management – Stevens Institute of Technology – This degree focuses on the real value creating components of business. This comfort with project management skills must be combines with a comfort with modern technological advances, which is a primary focus of this curriculum. In order to be an effective leader of change and process improvement, there must be a synergy between the development of the organization’s systems and modern, evolving technology.
Pros and Cons
- High job demand
- Variety of working positions
- Potential for high salaries
- Can be incredibly stressful
- Projects are, by definition, not permanent, which can lead to job insecurity.
- National Black MBA Association, which offers a $10,000 scholarship to certain students.
- Morgan Stanley, a financial firm that offers a scholarship program based on merit for outstanding minority MBA students.
- Hispanic Scholarship Fund General Scholarship, a fund that provides Hispanic students with $1,000 to $5,000.
- NABA National Scholarship Program, which gives students scholarships in amounts ranging from $1,000 to $10,000.
The seven most popular career paths for individuals with an MBA in project management are:
- IT Systems Analyst, where a business’ technical side is studied. Project managers implement new hardware and software, focus on networks, create cost benefit analyses and work directly with people. The field continues to boom, and it is one of the highest paid for all project managers. A great employer would be IBM, where skills in both technical elements and business administration are always required.
- Human Resources Manager, which is a surprising but no less interesting career path for an MBA graduate with project management. Demand in this area is rising very quickly, which means that someone with an MBA immediately has a better chance of getting hired. This field is particularly interesting for those who want to help get the most out of people through training and proper leadership and management. They focus on employee productivity and help companies to become successful. Those companies that take HR seriously, such as Amgen and Gamble, would be great employers.
- Health Care Professional, for which there is a huge demand due to an aging yet more active population. While demand for those with some sort of medical degree is the highest, various health care facilities also require business managers that can be charged with the administration. Hospital administrators, practice managers, pharmaceutical project manager and hospital CEO are all roles for those with an MBA in project management.
- Database Administrator, which is the result of the fact that MBA graduates have a great understanding of the importance of having a good database in place. In many cases, these jobs are lifelong jobs and there is a strong chance you will grow towards becoming a senior database manager, or even chief technology officer. Hence, opportunities for growth are numerous in these roles.
- Management Consultant, which is a highly popular field for project managements. Here, the focus tends to be on a certain industry such as manufacturing or technology. The goal is to resolve complex problems within management, helping to control costs. It is expected that this will be one of the highest growing areas of demand for MBA graduates.
- Finance Professional or Banker, although demand has reduced tremendously when the economic downturn happened. However, the economy is once again recovering, and a lot of money can still be made on Wall Street or other financial industries. Indeed, if you were to be able to become a hedge fund trader, for instance, you could earn as much as $1 million each year. Alternatively, you could choose hedge fund research, looking into various investment opportunities. Salaries for proprietary traders can also reach $1 million.
- Marketing Manager, which is a hugely important role in terms of helping companies grow and expand into various new markets and helping them to attract new customers. The goal here is to help a business become more profitable through increased sales. To achieve this, you will spend time researching different trends, finding various opportunities, estimating what demand is going to be and come up with new and highly effective marketing campaigns. This field is growing rapidly and those with an MBA degree are in high demand.
- Project Magazine, a UK based project management magazine, one of the most respected in the field.
- Project Manager Today, a highly respected online magazine focusing on project management across the world.
- Project Management Times, a website providing information for project managers, delivered by project managers.
- International Journal of Project Managers, delivered by Elsevier.
- Project Management Journal, delivered by the Project Management Institute.