Business Degrees a MUST for Project Managers

It was just a short time ago we talked about project management and even did an in class activity, “The Sky’s the Limit,” to give us the general ideas regarding project management. After researching project management a bit more online I read an article by Jennifer Mateyaschuk from Information Newsweek. As we all know, it is very important for a business project manager to have relative experience in managing a project due to the in depth processes needed to complete projects. Ron Schevlin, who is a analyst for a research company said it best, “The project manager doesn’t necessarily direct the picture, but he or she makes sure the funding is there, the right skills are used in the right places at the right times, and the projects are completed on time and within budget.”

These key ideas, “right skills, right places, right times and staying within budget,” are the key parts of a project manager’s responsibility. His/her job is to use the resources given to them most efficiently and at the lowest cost. This is why people with excellent time management and budgeting skills are some of the best candidate for this position. However, relative business skills are needed in order to effectively be in this position. This may be why a number of project managers are attending business conferences or going back to school to specialize in a particular department.

This is important when it comes to understanding the needs of customers but also listening to employees, co-workers, and other managers. Personally speaking, I would not want to be a project manager in the start of my career in a new industry because my lack of experience will negatively impact the company. I noticed when looking for jobs, any job title that has the words “project manager” will have required qualifications of at least 5 years of relative industry experience and preferred qualifications will have MBA in some business related category, listed. A lot of credit goes out to project managers as they have the weight of the company on their shoulders at all times. They are directly responsible for making sure the company remains profitable and maximizes profits. Projects that are over budget and/or completed late means lost profit for the company. Loss of profit could mean loss of jobs for employees/workers and even ultimately mean firing of the project manager. For these reasons, projects managers are usually compensated pretty well.

How many of you would like to be a project manager? I know I would, but only after having experience to manage large projects!

Mateyaschuk, Jennfier. “Project Managers Learn Value Of Business Skills.”Informationweek. N.p., 7 Dec. 1998. Web. 25 June 2012. <>.

9 thoughts on “Business Degrees a MUST for Project Managers

  1. Great write up. I would love to be a project manager for a brief period during my career. I think it would be very fun and a great experience.

  2. It would be nice but I dont thnk experience will just due. I feel it is the dedication of one to get things done. Just going to college and look at the course we take we have to broaden our selfs since we are kid that is enough experience to help get projects done. I have done numerous projects at DePaul and feel I would be ready to do project management and would love it becuase I would just take everything I learned and do it, Experience is a plus however it should not be the key becuase with experience you have to pay more. Companies should try to mold people mor ebut with this economy its all about the money now a days.

  3. I would agree that education is helpful to a project manager. MBA programs teach students concepts and skills that can be very valuable when working on projects. That being said, I think that having proper education is more important in concentrated areas such as accounting or HR versus project management. The reason for this is that project management is such an umbrella statement, encompassing all kinds of projects. Each individual project takes on a life of it’s own, and requires specialized skills to complete it that are not taught in business school. To this end, I think that real world experience is much more important to being a project manager than education. I know at my company we have project coordinators that report to the project managers. Most of these project coordinators don’t have business degrees. After being coordinators on multiple projects, the coordinators that excel at their position are often promoted to the manager position.

    Additionally, having the right personal skills is also extremely important to being successful as a project manager. These are inherintent traits in a person that cannot be learned in business school.

  4. Project management is definitely a job that needs experience, but along with that it needs a person who has motivation, dedication, and creativity. I think that it would be cool to be a project manager but I think that I need more experience in life before I can take on that task. I think that I have the ability and skills and knowledge to be a project manager though. I like to take lead in projects and I am personable as well.

  5. Nothing beats real world experience when it comes to performing a job. As some of us know and as some of you will learn, when you start your first job out of school or you transition into a new job you realize how little you know. You learn the most when you start to perform the job. This is true with project management. A business degree can give you some basic building blocks but you will learn the most when you actually manage a project or work on a project and you are major player in the project.

  6. Being a project manager, at it’s base is quite simple, really no skills are required. Everyone knows how to balance a checkbook and determine which member of the family completes which chore. Those are the skills required of a project manager, at a very high level. If only it was that easy. Project management is a field that requires experience at the least and an advanced degree at the most. While the field itself is pretty self-explanatory, the profession is far from that. Anyone that has even a little experience in progect management knows that a lot goes into it. The large number of applicants in MBA programs are a testament to the skills required to be successful in the task. Experience is by far an away the greatest indicator of a good versus great project manager. The skills obtained through acquiring an MBA fast track the applicants in lieu of work experience, as they gain those skills through group work and case studies. Overall, gaining an MBA is paramount to obtaining a position that is focused in project management.

  7. I agree with the others above in that experience is the greatest requirement. In many of the other articles in this blog site, it is pointed out that skillful human resource management is a large indicator of project success. You can take all of the classes offered in HR and at the end of the day, you still won’t know how to handle some situtions in the workplace until you actually experience them. I believe it will get harder and harder to move up the ladder in a company without a business degree or advanced business degree, but all else equal, a person with 10 years experience will likely get a job before someone with 2 years experience with an MBA.

  8. I agree with author’s opinion that learnning the konowledge is important. In the reality, the acutal experience is also based on the learning skill we have been trained during college life. The understanding of responsibility, well communication, and basic knowledge are the factors which helping new employees not going into a wrong track. With no doubting that people who don’t have a business degree can also done a nice job through practising in the real world, however, those poeple still need time to learn what business majors have learned in the classes in order to acknowledge how to done the job appropriately.

  9. My goal in my professional life is to become an IT Project Manager at a major corporation and from the research I have done, WOW I have a long road ahead of me. Realistically speaking a project manager has to have a solid understanding of the project to guide his resources throughout the given task. In my case that means having a good understanding of IT systems. On top of that a good project manager must have great project management skills that come with on the job experience.

    Fortunately, there are organizations such as the Project Management Institute (PMI) that offer certification to ensure an individual is up to the task. They are certainly not easy to get. The standard Project Management Professional (PMP) certification has some strict requirements:

    PMP Requirements
    To apply for the PMP, you need to have either:
    A four-year degree (bachelor’s or the global equivalent) and at least three years of project management experience, with 4,500 hours leading and directing projects and 35 hours of project management education.


    A secondary diploma (high school or the global equivalent) with at least five years of project management experience, with 7,500 hours leading and directing projects and 35 hours of project management education.


    With such requirements an individual with a PMP certification surely assures the corporation they are hiring a qualified project manager.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *