Project managers up a notch

by Sophie Leung

Danny Ha (left), project director
Wideland Education Center
Kristie Craigen, head of corporate education and development
NSB Management Studies
Photo: Wallace Chan

Hong Kong education centre opens doors to internationally recognised project management certification

Effective management is indispensable for corporate success, and people who want to move up the ranks in their workplaces must concentrate on their leadership abilities.

"It is essential for aspiring managers to equip themselves with updated project management skills," says Danny Ha, project director, Wideland Education Center.

Project management centres on managing resources for achieving specific goals while project managers are expected to meet their objectives while keeping within time and budget constraints, he adds.

The construction and engineering sectors were the first to prioritise project management and develop the theoretical knowledge associated with the discipline, but this knowledge is now needed across all sectors, including finance and information technology.

The Project Management Professional (PMP) certification, obtained through the Project Management Institute, is an internationally recognised qualification. The Wideland Education Center offers a number of courses preparing students for the PMP certificate examination. The comprehensive training covers a wide range of management issues, from human resources to quality and risk management, team building, influencing and decision-making.

"Projects fail because of a lack of adequate planning and management skills," he says. "People with PMP certification are in high demand."

Solid skills base

Wideland also recently commenced collaboration with online educational service provider NSB Management Studies to provide practical management courses. Kristie Craigen, head of corporate education and development, NSB, agrees that there is a soaring demand for qualified PMPs, as companies look for people who can help them grow while balancing cost and efficiency.

The PMP certificate course includes modules on analysis, scope planning and scheduling techniques for effective project management, notes Mr Ha, one of wideland's course trainers. "I encourage my students to develop their soft skills, particularly interpersonal communication, in addition to the required hard skills."

He believes that the success of a project depends on team work and that it is crucial for project managers to facilitate effective team communication.

Once they have completed the course, students may join the NSB alumni network, which provides a platform for students to practice the interpersonal skills they need in the workplace. "We believe that career success is achieved through alliances and developing global networks," notes Ms Craigen. "We therefore invite students to join the elite circle of business people and managers who have registered with us in Asia."

Mr Ha, who has more than 20 years' of experience in project management, advises aspiring PMPs to take responsibility for all aspects of projects, even in the face of global economic challenges.

"Project managers should see their project goals as a personal mission, and use the skills they were taught in the certificate programme to complete them successfully." The PMP certification curriculum is adapted from time to time to keep up to date with market developments and the constantly evolving economy. A fourth version of the certification examination was launched only a few months ago.

Investing in the future

To cater for the needs of working students, classes are held every Saturday afternoon for eight consecutive weeks, making up 48 hours of instruction, including examinations review sessions. "This schedule enables our students to balance their work responsibilities while earning the PMP certification," Mr Ha points out.

The certificate programme accepts applicants with degrees as well as those without, as long as they have five years of project management experience.

"We focus strongly on practical work experience, so we require recommendation letters from students' current employers as part of the application process," Mr Ha states. He adds that the centre admits students from diverse professional backgrounds. This benefits all students, as they are able to learn first-hand how project management skills are applied in different business contexts.

In addition to helping students to acquire professional certification, the programme credits also count toward future degree programmes, for example, a master's degree in business management.

The programme is supported by the government's Continuing Education Fund (CEF) and students who require financial assistance may benefit from a non-means tested loan programme.

"Knowledge and skills in project management open the door to career success and aid the development of companies," Mr Ha concludes.

Follow the lead

  • Project management skills essential for effective management
  • Demand for internationally recognised PMPs increases constantly
  • Managers need interpersonal skills and ability to confront challenges

Taken from Career Times 13 March 2009, p. A6
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