Students who are interested in pursuing project management or business administration in school after completing their bachelor's degrees have two primary degree options. A Project Management Professional is a semester-long certificate program focused exclusively on project management. A Master of Business Administration degree is a broad business program that covers topics in management, administration, marketing and leadership, and gives students some experience with project management.
Project Management Professional
Project Management Professional programs are intended for students who are exclusively interested in project management and want to pass a certification exam in this field. In particular, these programs prepare students for the official industry-wide certification exam for project managers offered by the Project Management Institute. Most PMP programs are offered through a university’s continuing education departments and are available in both traditional classroom and online formats. Graduates of these programs are employed in project management positions in many different companies and organizations including start-ups, engineering firms, health-care facilities and financial management companies.
Requirements vary, but most PMP programs require students to take six or seven courses, of which four or five might be required courses toward the certificate. Examples of possible required courses are fundamentals of project management, managing project quality, risk analysis, leadership in human resources and project management, and project earned value and cost management. At the end of the program, students have the option of choosing electives in their area of interest with the project management field. Examples of possible electives are information technology project management, construction project management, program and portfolio management, managing outsource projects and project planning with Microsoft project.
Master of Business Administration
Master of Business Administration programs are two-year programs that require students to complete 45 to 60 credits of coursework. An MBA is an applied professional degree that introduces students to many different areas of business including accounting, marketing, finance and entrepreneurship, and it's intended for students who are interested in managerial careers in many sectors of the economy including real estate, health care, engineering and private industry. Universities offer MBA programs in many different formats including full-time, part-time and online.
Different MBA programs have different degree requirements, but most require students to take a number of foundational courses during the first year. Examples of possible foundational courses are microeconomics, principles of accounting, marketing 1 and 2 and financial economics. The second-year of the MBA program gives students the opportunity to pursue a particular area of business that is of interest to them and take electives in that area. Depending on availability, MBA students might specialize in real estate, entrepreneurship, finance, accounting, marketing or management. Project management is not a particular specialty offered by most MBA programs, but many programs do have courses that give students experience in leading and managing projects.
Kate Prudchenko has been a writer and editor for five years, publishing peer-reviewed articles, essays, and book chapters in a variety of publications including Immersive Environments: Future Trends in Education and Contemporary Literary Review India. She has a BA and MS in Mathematics, MA in English/Writing, and is completing a PhD in Education.