The Pioneer Post

The Pioneer Post is a resource for online students that provides tips and information about distance education.


Monday, December 17, 2007

By Kevin Straka, Merchandising Analyst at The Guild, Inc.

Throughout my career in product development and design, I was many times faced with the fact that there were process deficiencies, resulting in many deadlines not met and certainly not within budget restrictions. I am one who thrives on change and the always-alluring "better way."

While working on my MBA program, this desire to bring a more a fluid process to my professional career, prompted the search for knowledge I could apply to bring about efficiencies I could see, but could not truly figure out how to obtain. I turned to a friend who works in Information Technology. This friend is a Project Manager, but has never had formal training. During our casual discussion, that internal light bulb popped on. As she explained what her responsibilities were, I realized what she was charged to do was very similar to what I was seeking knowledge for.

Project Management isn't new in the fields of Engineering, Architecture, or Information Technology, but it is in business fields. And, the need is ever present.

I decided to research graduate programs offering a specialization in project management. As I searched, I found the program at UW Platteville. Oddly enough, UW Platteville is my undergraduate alma mater.

What appealed to me most was the fact that the program was all online. My entire MBA program was based in a traditional classroom setting. Being a lover of change and new challenges, I was drawn to the online opportunity. And, as I researched programs and searched for professional recommendations, UW Platteville’s program continuously came highly recommended.

After completing the program, I could not agree more. I was offered the opportunity to learn with other students, some abroad. I had teammates in Italy and Yemen, proving global learning is possible and preferred on my part. I feared being placed on teams for every class and worried about limitations of time and location, but those fears were quickly diminished. I guess a great equalizer is that students who enter this program share these same worries or fears and are truly dedicated to their education so they make sure it works. And, sharing different team roles for each project allows team members the opportunity to lead projects or be the individual who ensures work is completed within plan.

I recently finished my final project. I am excited about the fact that I was able to introduce project management in a direct merchant catalogue/website setting and garner such enthusiasm and excitement around efficient process initiation, integration and reporting. Company executives see the value of project management tools and processes and look forward to great achievements with these tools and processes in the future. I truly feel that I have now found the right path to efficiency that I could see but could not quite reach.



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