An MBA in project management prepares graduates for leadership roles by providing them with new skills and experiences. Project managers lead teams of professionals to accomplish key objectives for businesses and organizations. Master's graduates can serve as project managers across many industries, including engineering, marketing, information technology, and construction.
This guide discusses the value of an MBA in project management, potential career opportunities, and the types of courses you can expect to take in these programs. You can also find information about program length, costs, and specializations.
What Is an MBA in Project Management?
While earning an MBA in project management, students develop a comprehensive view of how businesses operate, while also building leadership and management skills. While a master's in project management focuses almost entirely on project management, an MBA program explores project management within the context of an organization's goals, culture, and existing processes.
What are the best project management programs of 2020? Here are our top 10:
|1||University of Mary||Bismarck, ND|
|2||University of Texas at Dallas||Richardson, TX|
|3||Stevens Institute of Technology||Hoboken, NJ|
|4||Lewis University||Romeoville, IL|
|5||Liberty University||Lynchburg, VA|
|6||Saint Mary's University of Minnesota||Winona, MN|
|7||Bellevue University||Bellevue, NE|
|8||Central Michigan University||Mount Pleasant, MI|
|9||Missouri University of Science and Technology||Rolla, MO|
|10||Florida Institute of Technology||Melbourne, FL|
Should I Get an MBA in Project Management?
Businesses and organizations across the country need competent project managers to lead initiatives that drive growth. Project managers must be able to initiate, plan, execute, monitor, and complete a project, often leading teams with diverse backgrounds and expertise.
Earning an MBA in project management indicates to employers that you are capable of taking a project from conception to completion and that you understand the context of specific projects within a company's overall goals.
MBA programs build skills in management, communication, conflict resolution, risk management, and problem-solving. Employers typically consider all of these skills important for project management positions.
What Will I Learn in a Project Management MBA Program?
While pursuing an MBA in project management, students develop skills that prepare them for leadership and management roles within diverse businesses and organizations. Students gain key knowledge in budgeting, leadership, communication, and strategy.
Below is a list of common courses within these programs, along with several available concentrations that allow you to focus your studies on specific areas of project management.
- Leadership in Organizations
Students learn about the fundamentals of business and how leaders drive productivity. This course also covers organizational behavior and its influence on project managers.
- Managerial Finance
This course covers how businesses make financial decisions, create financial projections, develop proformas, and manage budgets and working capital. Students also learn about capital structures and raising capital.
- Strategic Project Management
Participants learn about the role of project management in the business world. They also cover the importance of adhering to budget constraints, setting project goals, and ensuring all stakeholders receive regular updates.
- Project Tools and Strategies
This course examines the various tools, techniques, and software project managers use to plan, implement, and evaluate projects. Students learn how to identify the right tools for each project component.
- Agile Project Management
Students explore agile principles, tools, software, and best practices, learning how to apply them to various projects.
This concentration focuses on building sustainable practices and projects within businesses and organizations across industries. Students learn how to manage projects that reduce waste, conserve energy, and protect the environment.
Learners in this concentration study the role of managerial accounting and finance in managing projects. Courses focus on principles of accounting, budgeting, capital management, and raising capital in the business world.
This concentration builds students' leadership skills, allowing them to work with teams from diverse backgrounds and with different levels of expertise. Courses cover organizational behavior, communication, and interpersonal skills.
Students learn how to lead marketing projects, including how leaders can ensure that various facets of an organization operate under an overarching marketing strategy. Students also explore marketing strategies, tactics, and best practices.
- Information Technology
An IT project management concentration prepares students for serving in roles like chief technology officer. Courses emphasize working with technical professionals to protect sensitive data, maintain complex networks, and deliver IT support.
What Can I Do With an MBA in Project Management?
With an MBA in project management, professionals can explore career opportunities across virtually all industries. These positions involve overseeing one or more major initiatives at a time. Below are several examples of common careers for professionals with an MBA in project management.
- Project Manager
These professionals plan, execute, oversee, and monitor progress on projects within businesses and organizations. They create budgets, establish timelines, manage risks, and communicate with all parties involved in a project.
Median Annual Salary: $96,360*
- Computer and Information Systems Managers
These workers oversee all of the computer-related activities at an organization. Duties may include making personnel decisions, upgrading and installing hardware and software, and ensuring that an organization's virtual assets are protected against cyberattacks.
Median Annual Salary: $146,360*
- Construction Manager
These managers may oversee a variety of construction projects — including bridges, roads, and residential and commercial buildings — from start to finish. They are in charge of budgets and hiring. They also work with other professionals, including architects and engineers, to make sure that projects are up to code.
Median Annual Salary: $95,260*
- Project Management Consultant
Businesses and organizations may hire project management consultants to ensure critical initiatives operate as efficiently as possible. These consultants may also run their own businesses and serve as independent contractors.
Median Annual Salary: $84,000*
- Marketing Manager
Earning an MBA in project management can help professionals become marketing managers. They can use their skills and knowledge to direct major marketing efforts and ensure teams work toward the goals of individual marketing campaigns.
Median Annual Salary: $135,900*
Sources: Bureau of Labor Statistics and PayScale
How to Choose a Project Management MBA Program
You should consider several factors while looking for the right MBA in project management program, including completion times, whether you can take some or all required classes online, and delivery method. You should also consider whether a program's available concentrations or specializations align with your career goals.
Make a checklist of these factors to narrow your choices as you conduct your search.
How to Get Into a Project Management MBA Program
MBA in program management programs vary in terms of their admission requirements. However, common requirements include a bachelor's degree from a regionally accredited institution, letters of recommendation, and a statement of purpose.
Depending on the program, eligible students may need a minimum undergraduate GPA of 2.5-3.0, along with relevant professional experience. Some programs also require applicants to submit GRE or GMAT scores.Read Our Guide to Graduate Admissions
How Long Does It Take to Get an MBA in Project Management?
Most MBA in project management programs take about 2-3 years to complete. However, some accelerated programs allow students to complete their degrees in around 12 months. Many accelerated tracks are also available online.
In addition to a master's degree, you may wish to seek project management professional certification from the Project Management Institute. This certification requires at least 36 months of project management experience, and candidates must pass an exam. To maintain your credential, you must complete continuing education requirements every three years.
How Much Does It Cost to Get an MBA in Project Management?
You can typically expect to pay $20,000-$40,000 to secure an MBA in project management. However, the total cost varies depending on many factors, including the location of the school and whether you attend a public or private institution. Online programs are often less expensive than their on-campus counterparts.