Online MBA Programs in Project Management

    Project managers and professionals with high-level training in project management are in high demand. Government agencies and private businesses of all sizes require project managers to plan, direct, and oversee all aspects of major projects. Most employers seeking project managers place individuals with online MBAs in project management at the top of their candidate lists thanks to their high qualifications in project management and their abilities to effectively manage large teams.

    Those who are interested in a career in project management can ensure their eligibility for this type of job by obtaining an accredited online MBA1 in project management. Online MBA programs allow students to learn at their own pace and on their own time while obtaining an accredited MBA degree.

    What is an Online MBA in Project Management?

    MBA programs in project management prepare students to plan and direct all aspects of major projects on behalf of an organization. These programs combine project-specific courses with leadership and business management studies to help students face common project challenges such as budgetary issues, delays, and staffing problems.

    Online MBA programs differ from master’s degree programs in a couple of crucial ways. While both are masters-level degree programs, MBA programs’ business management courses help students take on leadership roles during their careers. Students who have some work experience in their field typically enter MBA programs. On the other hand, master’s degree programs are generally designed for those at the beginning of their careers and who want advanced education and credentials. These programs don’t include business management courses.

    Any prospective students who want to obtain their MBA with a concentration in project management online should consider the differences between online learning and classroom learning. Online MBA programs offer students an excellent way to obtain their degree on their own time. However, they don’t allow students to study with peers or ask questions during lectures. Students should consider their learning styles before committing to a method of study.

    Online MBA in Project Management Curriculum

    An online MBA in project management blends courses on project management topics with a variety of business administration and management courses. Subjects covered in the business component of online MBA programs include:

    • Operations management
    • Accounting and financial management
    • Human resources management
    • Business law
    • Business communications
    • Marketing
    • Information systems

    Students in an online MBA program in project management also take various classes to become successful project managers. The specifics of each course vary depending on the school. The following list is a sample of the courses students take in an MBA program in project management online.

    • Foundations of Project Management: This course teaches students the steps involved in successfully planning, directing, and overseeing major business projects and includes focused learning on the early stages of projects.
    • Scheduling and Cost Planning for Major Projects: Students learn how to set up a reasonable project schedule and create and maintain a budget that works with their schedule.
    • Project Quality Management: Students in this course learn to inspect and evaluate all aspects of major projects to ensure that safety and quality standards are met, and all work is completed according to laws and regulations.
    • Project Evaluation and Assessment: Students learn to quantify project success and evaluate and assess the work throughout the project and at its completion.

    Most online MBA program prerequisites ask applicants to have a bachelor’s degree in their field and at least one year of relevant work experience. Many schools also require students to have high GMAT scores. However, some schools have recently waived this requirement2 with the hope of attracting more students to their online MBA programs.

    What Unique Career Paths Can I Pursue With an MBA Specializing in Project Management?

    Many industries have a high need for project management professionals. The following list details some of the jobs graduates of accredited online MBA programs in project management may qualify for.

    Budget Analyst

    Budget analysts3 help government agencies and private organizations organize and manage their finances. At times, they may manage budgets for a specific project on behalf of their clients or organize all the organization’s finances. They work full-time during typical office hours. Most budget analysts spend a great deal of their day at a desk preparing reports and monitoring their clients’ spending.

    According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, which monitors salaries and demand for specific occupations throughout the United States, the average budget analyst earned $76,220 per year as of May 2018. Demand for this job is moderate and is expected to rise by 7% by the year 2026.

    Construction Manager

    Construction managers4 oversee major construction projects. They plan, coordinate, and oversee all aspects of major projects, including cost, staffing, scheduling, and safety. While many spend some time working in an office, most construction managers spend most of their day at construction sites. They often work overtime because they must meet hard deadlines and respond to site emergencies.

    As of May 2018, the average construction manager earned $93,370 per year. Demand for this job is increasing at an above-average rate, with an estimated 11% growth by 2026.

    Chief Executive Officer

    Chief executive officers5 oversee all operations within an organization. They sit at the head of a company and work with other executive officers, including chief financial officers and chief technology officers. They typically have an office but may be expected to travel to meet with clients and visit other company locations. Additionally, chief executive officers are known for working a large amount of overtime, including evenings and weekends.

    As of May 2018, chief executive officers earned an average of $189,600 per year. Outlook for this job is average, and opportunities are expected to rise 8% by the year 2026.

    Emergency Management Directors

    Emergency management directors6 prepare for natural disasters and emergencies, including hurricanes, tornadoes, and terrorist attacks. They write and practice emergency procedures and lead response when emergencies do occur. During an emergency, they coordinate with police, fire departments, and government agencies. Typically, emergency management directors require several years of work experience in emergency response or disaster planning in addition to their online MBA in project management.

    The average emergency management director earned $74,420 per year as of May 2018. The job outlook for this occupation is average. Opportunities are expected to increase by 8% by the year 2026.

    Administrative Service Manager

    Administrative managers7 are responsible for overseeing all support services within an organization. They usually plan and direct secretarial and bookkeeping activities. Most administrative services managers work an average of 40 hours per week, and some are required to work overtime to ensure the completion of projects.

    As of May 2018, administrative services managers earned an average of $98,180 per year. Demand for this job is increasing at a faster-than-average rate, with an expected 10% increase in job availability by 2026.

    Training and Development Manager

    Training and development managers8 plan and direct staffing and training within an organization. They may work in government or the private sector. Daily duties may include creating training programs, hiring speakers, and meeting with human resources managers to determine staffing needs. Most training and development managers work full-time during regular office hours.

    As of May 2018, the average training and development manager earned $111,340 per year. Job availability for this occupation is expected to increase by 10% by 2026, faster than average.

    Should I Get an Online MBA in Project Management?

    Students must conduct thorough research before applying for any online MBA program. Those looking into accredited MBA programs in project management online should consider the following points to ensure the program can help them achieve their career goals.

    MBA in Project Management vs. MBA in Change Management

    Project management is a field of study that includes all aspects of a project. It teaches students to implement and adapt to change in the workplace while overseeing all aspects of a project. On the other hand, change management focuses solely on directing change within the workplace and helping employees accept significant workplace operations shifts.

    Are you committed to working long hours and putting in overtime?

    Most jobs held by graduates of online MBA programs in project management are high-level management positions that require workers to take on evening and weekend work outside of their regular schedule. Workers must be flexible and work overtime to meet essential deadlines and handle emergencies when they occur.

    Are you comfortable working in a high-pressure environment?

    Project management is typically a high-stress job. Project managers are responsible for ensuring that all work is completed within the project’s schedule and budget parameters. They also supervise staff and verify the quality of all aspects of a project.

    Are you comfortable with managing other people?

    Project managers generally oversee large teams of workers and provide direction and guidance. It’s vital that any prospective student considering a career in project management be comfortable with leading a team and managing conflict.

    Do you have enough spare time in your schedule to study and complete assignments each week?

    Online MBA students can work at their own pace, but they absolutely must set aside time each week to focus on their studies, so they don’t fall behind.

    Frequently Asked Questions

    How long will it take for me to earn an MBA in project management online?

    Most online MBA programs allow students two years to complete their assignments and earn their degrees. Students who require more time to complete coursework should consider applying for a part-time online MBA program in project management, which may allow up to five years to complete. Students who are hoping to fast-track their online MBA can apply to an accelerated program; these typically take between six and eight weeks to finish.

    Is it better to attend a physical school instead of earning an MBA online?

    The curriculum for online MBA programs and in-class programs is usually the same. When deciding which is best, the most important consideration is the student’s learning style. Those who prefer to study with peers and ask many questions may do better in a classroom-based MBA program. However, for those who require more flexibility and possess good time-management skills, online study is a perfectly acceptable way to earn an MBA.

    Do online MBA programs have the right to issue degrees in the United States?

    It depends on the program. Many online MBA programs in project management are fully accredited. Unfortunately, some programs claim they offer students a way to earn an MBA online without accreditation. Before applying to any program, students should check the school’s accreditation status. They can do this online at the United States Department of Education’s database of accredited post-secondary programs9.

    Will I have to prepare a thesis if I complete an MBA program online?

    It depends on the program. While most online MBA programs in project management don’t require students to write a thesis, some do. Prospective students should check program requirements before applying to any online MBA program.

    How much time should I dedicate to my studies each week if I’m obtaining an MBA in project management online?

    It’s best for all students to make sure they’ve got a minimum of 10 to 12 hours of spare time each week for schoolwork. It’s also important to secure a quiet study space with few distractions.


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