In today's world of increased competition, the importance and urgency of standing out are necessary. A mere undergraduate or postgraduate degree may not be enough to excel in this highly competitive world. Experts have repeatedly stressed the importance of developing various skills and enrolling oneself in professional degrees. Project Management Professional (PMP) is a globally recognised professional designation offered by the Project Management Institute (PMI). Founded in 1969, PMI is a global body of project management professionals worldwide.
To get valuable insights about this qualification, Shaha Rakesh Nishan interviewed Md Rashed Mamun, a certified PMP. He has experience in project management in diversified areas like energy and power, education, ICT, social development, economic and financial management in five different countries. Rashed is currently leading the Project Management Unit in e.Gen Consultants Limited, an international management consulting firm.
Question (Q): Why and when did you choose to do PMP and how did you come to know about it?
Answer (A): I am currently leading a portfolio comprised of diversified projects that are not just limited to Bangladesh but also geographically dispersed. While leading these projects, I came across a common issue that many projects fail due to lack of proper understanding of project management standards, best practices, and up-to-date mechanism. Additionally, there is soaring demand from government entities and international development agencies to have experienced project management professionals who can lead the projects in an increasingly complex environment. Therefore, I started looking for a professional accreditation that would enrich existing knowledge base and equip me with the right set of skills. I also wanted to invest in something that would add value to my current organisation's business practices. Considering all these aspects, PMP was the perfect choice as it signifies that you speak and understand the global language of project management.
Q: What is PMP for you and how does it help you in your career?
A: The Project Management Professional (PMP) is one of the most important industry-recognised certifications for project managers. Earlier, there was a misconception that PMP is only suitable for the IT industry, and for other sectors, it is utterly irrelevant. After a thorough discussion with industry experts, I was more convinced than ever to opt for PMP. After getting PMP certified, it presented me new career prospects in the global arena, which always has been the most critical factor for me. Furthermore, PMP has helped me to deal with the project's uncertainty in an effective manner while achieving value for money. I was able to tailor my team's efforts appropriately by proactively assessing the project nature, step back and consider an approach that is entirely different from other projects in the portfolio.
Q: Can you elaborate what skills you acquired by completing PMP ?
A: Apart from the existing knowledge base, through PMP I acquired a wide range of essential skills, e.g. project assessment and planning, by identifying most appropriate processes and practices refleclting the uncertainty, monitoring and controlling - how to effectively utilise project budgeting and monitoring tools and techniques, implementation of continuous improvement processes, risk management etc. Among all these skills, the most valuable one is the Risk Analysis and Management because if project managers are asked about a nightmare, uncontrollable risks will undoubtedly top the list. PMP has enabled me to ensure we encounter the least number of surprises while the project is underway through structured Risk Management process to deflect many crises and incorporate learning from past mistakes.
Q: Please share your journey of obtaining this degree- challenge, support you had, resources that were accessible to you.
A: The biggest challenge in securing PMP was to strike a balance between demanding work schedules and regular study. I had to be connected 24/7 with the team members coming from different parts of the world making a sound preparation. This time-crunch is an innate nature of the sector I am in. After a few days of starting the preparation, I had to overhaul the entire plan due to issues in a number of our projects. Moreover, it was also challenging to get into the study habit. However, with the immense help of my colleagues, I was able to work around the constraints.
Additionally, the support I received from the management was beyond expectation, and it bolstered my confidence largely. I studied two books, one of which from the Project Management Institute itself, and went through a few online materials that were quite helpful in elaborating the concepts. However, the most crucial aspect of preparation is to connect the concepts with the real-life experience because the test is designed to assess how logically we can think and make decisions as a project manager in a given circumstance using all the project management tools and techniques.
Q: Project Management Professional (PMP) is a globally recognised professional designation offered by the Project Management Institute (PMI). How connected are Bangladesh PMP professionals?
A: PMP has always been one of the most demanding professional certifications worldwide, and in recent years, it has started to become widely recognised in a wide range of industries primarily due to its comprehensive content. The local PMP community, known as PMI Bangladesh Chapter, is an active group and it shares a similar set of standards and principles as that of the global entity.
Q: What was the total cost for completing education and is there any scholarship available for young professionals?
A: For members, the fees for PMP certification is US$ 405, and for non-members, it is US$ 555. Before applying for PMP, some pre-requisites need to be met, i.e. minimum three years unique non-overlapping professional project management experience during which at least 4,500 hours were spent leading and directing the project for people with four-year degree (bachelor's degree or global equivalent). In case of secondary degree (high school diploma, associate's degree or global equivalent), the experience requirement is minimum five years.
Q: Does PMP increase compensation, benefits, and opportunities in the Bangladesh job market? What are the unique opportunities that open up for PMP graduates?
A: I believe that having a PMP certification would help young professionals to stand out as being a potential hire as it provides a unique set of skills key to business growth. Locally, PMP is in high demand both to private and private sector project management as it renders skills relevant to sectors like telecom, finance, information technology, infrastructure etc. In addition, from a global perspective, the opportunity is enormous. In a recent report, it has been cited that 22 million new project-oriented jobs will be created between 2017 and 2027.
Q: How would you recommend others to prepare for this professional education?
A: Start well ahead of the exam. Do not squander time by memorising; instead, try to apply in the workplace. Consider it part of your professional development, not just a degree and this mindset will do the trick. Always keep in mind that PMP is a gateway to the global competitive market.
The interviewer is a final year student of the BBA Programme at the Institute of Business Administration (IBA), University of Dhaka.
He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
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