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What is the best degree pathway to be a PM? Bachelors or Masters
Hi, I am a high school graduate and would like to be a project manager in the construction industry in the future. I want to ask what the best pathway is for being so. Please recommend me which will give me the best advantage for a PM. Here are the choices.

1. Taking only Bachelor of Applied Science (Construction Management) - 4 years
2. Taking Bachelor of Business Management - 2.5 years + Masters of Project Management - 2 years

In the second option, you can see that I will already be getting a Masters Degree in only 4.5 years while I have to spend 4 years for only getting a bachelors. The concern is that I am wondering if I do not take engineering or construction related studies, can i still qualify to be a PM in the construction industry in the future. Please put down your opinions. Thank you very much.
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Mounir - I am glad I was able to put a smile on your face.

Those figures come from "Experience". When you are a project manager, even if you are highly educated, it won't make you a good project manager if you do not have the experience. It would help you to accomplisj around 25% of what you need to do as a PM and then rest comes from your experience. However, without education, you can always achieve 100% with the right experience.
Dec 22, 2016 3:16 AM
Replying to Melissa Nicole
...
Rami,

Thank you for your reply, but is it mandatory for me to have a construction related degree to be a PM in construction? Like you have a background in civil engineer. If I only have a business related degree, will i still be able to do so or not?
Melissa,

It is not mandatory at all to have a degree in the construction industry to be a PM in construction but it is mandatory to have enough experience to be able to do so because as I said, construction is a wild industry and what counts is your experience and education is an asset, not a must.

Ive met many PM's in Construction who have 20 years of experience without educational background but with very hands-on experience on site.

Hope this answers your concerns.
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1 reply by Mayte Mata-Sivera
Dec 22, 2016 11:25 AM
Mayte Mata-Sivera
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Rami, but I think that it will help, not only for the glossary, the estimations, safety at work... clearly when you review a contract with a 3rd party is not the same how they write it the price of a concrete foundation for a new building that one hundred computers and one server. :)

And I can assume that if she is asking for a BS, she will not like to put hands on concrete or wood. :)
Dec 22, 2016 11:10 AM
Replying to Rami Kaibni
...
Melissa,

It is not mandatory at all to have a degree in the construction industry to be a PM in construction but it is mandatory to have enough experience to be able to do so because as I said, construction is a wild industry and what counts is your experience and education is an asset, not a must.

Ive met many PM's in Construction who have 20 years of experience without educational background but with very hands-on experience on site.

Hope this answers your concerns.
Rami, but I think that it will help, not only for the glossary, the estimations, safety at work... clearly when you review a contract with a 3rd party is not the same how they write it the price of a concrete foundation for a new building that one hundred computers and one server. :)

And I can assume that if she is asking for a BS, she will not like to put hands on concrete or wood. :)
...
1 reply by Rami Kaibni
Dec 22, 2016 12:02 PM
Rami Kaibni
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I am sorry Maria but I am not sure I understood what you've written above - Can you ellaborate more please. Thanks.
Dec 22, 2016 11:25 AM
Replying to Mayte Mata-Sivera
...
Rami, but I think that it will help, not only for the glossary, the estimations, safety at work... clearly when you review a contract with a 3rd party is not the same how they write it the price of a concrete foundation for a new building that one hundred computers and one server. :)

And I can assume that if she is asking for a BS, she will not like to put hands on concrete or wood. :)
I am sorry Maria but I am not sure I understood what you've written above - Can you ellaborate more please. Thanks.
...
1 reply by Mayte Mata-Sivera
Dec 22, 2016 12:16 PM
Mayte Mata-Sivera
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ups, sorry, as I always write a lot, I've tried to write shortly but didn't work.

We all know a lot of project managers without college or BS degree, also, that the degree is a low percentage to be a project manager, but.. from my point of view, it will help.

Will help to understand the vocabulary or glossary (different words used in contracts, or during the meetings) I think that If I'll attend to one of your SterCo, I'll find myself completely lost, basically for the terminology.
Maybe will help to understand the process, the estimations, safety in the workplace...it's not the same construction than IT.

As Melissa is asking two different options of BS, I assumed that maybe she will prefer to start her path with some BS, instead of work directly with hands-on construction.

Better? Or I should edit the first one?
Dec 22, 2016 12:02 PM
Replying to Rami Kaibni
...
I am sorry Maria but I am not sure I understood what you've written above - Can you ellaborate more please. Thanks.
ups, sorry, as I always write a lot, I've tried to write shortly but didn't work.

We all know a lot of project managers without college or BS degree, also, that the degree is a low percentage to be a project manager, but.. from my point of view, it will help.

Will help to understand the vocabulary or glossary (different words used in contracts, or during the meetings) I think that If I'll attend to one of your SterCo, I'll find myself completely lost, basically for the terminology.
Maybe will help to understand the process, the estimations, safety in the workplace...it's not the same construction than IT.

As Melissa is asking two different options of BS, I assumed that maybe she will prefer to start her path with some BS, instead of work directly with hands-on construction.

Better? Or I should edit the first one?
...
1 reply by Rami Kaibni
Dec 22, 2016 12:24 PM
Rami Kaibni
...
Maria Maria Maria :D

I see your point and I got what you mean now and this is why Ive mentioned, education can be an asset but at the same time, you can gain all of this including terminology and terms through experience. Education might expedite this process a bit though.

For example, it is true that my background is in Civil Engineering amd Structures Design but most of my experience is in PM and Ive learned all terminologies including contractual ones from experience as my BA did not include all of this so when I applied for the PMP and was studying, I was very familiar with 99% of the subjects.
Dec 22, 2016 12:16 PM
Replying to Mayte Mata-Sivera
...
ups, sorry, as I always write a lot, I've tried to write shortly but didn't work.

We all know a lot of project managers without college or BS degree, also, that the degree is a low percentage to be a project manager, but.. from my point of view, it will help.

Will help to understand the vocabulary or glossary (different words used in contracts, or during the meetings) I think that If I'll attend to one of your SterCo, I'll find myself completely lost, basically for the terminology.
Maybe will help to understand the process, the estimations, safety in the workplace...it's not the same construction than IT.

As Melissa is asking two different options of BS, I assumed that maybe she will prefer to start her path with some BS, instead of work directly with hands-on construction.

Better? Or I should edit the first one?
Maria Maria Maria :D

I see your point and I got what you mean now and this is why Ive mentioned, education can be an asset but at the same time, you can gain all of this including terminology and terms through experience. Education might expedite this process a bit though.

For example, it is true that my background is in Civil Engineering amd Structures Design but most of my experience is in PM and Ive learned all terminologies including contractual ones from experience as my BA did not include all of this so when I applied for the PMP and was studying, I was very familiar with 99% of the subjects.
I also agree with option 2. It won't be enough to have construction knowledge, you'll need experience for that.
Melissa:
First of all; I love that you have a lofty goal: Construction PM
Lot of good comments here and I'll add some recommendations from my viewpoint.

1.Degree: You can't go wrong with a degree but thoroughly research your degree alternatives and your available career choices. Your path you choose will depend on budget,tests & graduation. Personally, I'd sit down with your college career counselor.
2. Internships: I'd highly recommend you visit youtern.com. You should have 1 internship per year of college to graduate and be able to walk into a job.
3. Career planning: It's great you have a lofy goal but part of your homework is to setup informal interviews with experts in the field. Find out if you can shadow a PM in Construction to see what a day in the field looks like.
4. Network and join college associations; get involved and gain experience by volunteering.
5. Easy way to get insight into current experience required is to look at job announcements, job boards, recruiters etc.
6. Mentors/advisors will be important in your career; begin to seek out those who can help you along the way to reaching your goals.


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Anonymous
Dec 22, 2016 8:57 AM
Replying to Melissa Nicole
...
Hi Mounir,

I understand that I would need work experience before becoming a PM. What did you take for your Bachelors? Can I take business for my bachelors and then continue my masters in Project Management to be a qualified PM in the construction industry? Or do I have to have an engineering or construction degree like you said? Do you recommend choice 1 or 2 in my above question. Thank you so much.
Hello Melissa

I have met people with a psychology degree and work in PM. So you can study anything you want - but an engineering degree gives you more opportunities to start right and rise into a PM role. Other degrees, like CM, might help you get a job on the construction team, which is also good but the path to PM might be longer. Of course there is no hard rule for this - it is a function of the org culture and your drive.

Just keep in mind - construction people are proud people and often believe in learning in the trenches- this is the key

For me, I started as a Civil Engineering - working while going to college for a Power Company but in an engineering capacity - then after my bachleor i worked for Geotech - Environmental consultants but mostly on contruction projects. Then I did MS in Engineering and Construction Management from a top univeristy which landed me a job in Exxon Chemical Project Management division - in estimating unit. Then started to move around with different roles and projects.

Which remind me - working for a "client company" is quite different than a "contracting company"
Hi everyone,

Thank you very much for sparring time to comment for me. You have no idea how much this helped me confidently choose the pathway i should take in such a short time i posted this question. I will be pursuing option 2 btw. Furthermore, I learned so much and gained a new insight after reading all of your profound comments. I appreciate each and every comment. Thank you again :)
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