A graduate of the MSc in Project and Programme Management from UL, Rob Wienand explains why he chose to pursue a Masters and how it has expanded his skill set, business knowledge and impacted his career.

Having worked in various project management roles over the last 20 years for international mining companies such as MATSA, Global Mining Services and Dundee Precious Metals in Chelopech, Bulgaria, I’ve led several large-scale mining projects including operations in both Europe and South America.

Throughout my career, I enjoyed great project success and acquired deep technical expertise in mining operations, but I was keen to diversify my project portfolio. I also felt I needed to deepen my project expertise and wider business skills to sustain success in a changing mining industry.

experienced project managers doing masters course

My path to pursuing higher education

To achieve these goals, I knew higher education would be essential and realised that only a Masters level programme would provide the advanced knowledge and learning required to complement my existing experience. Given my heavy workload and responsibilities, studying online was my only realistic option.

As online studies are potentially quite isolating, collaboration with classmates was also crucial. As someone with existing technical project management expertise, I felt there was much to learn from working with like-minded, experienced professionals, exploring their industry and project challenges, uncovering how they execute projects and deal with complexities and stakeholders.

The global, collaborative nature and 100% online, flexible, part-time delivery of the University of Limerick’s Online Masters in Project and Programme Management were key factors in my decision to undertake the course over other options I had researched.

Although studying for a Masters degree would prove challenging alongside a demanding full-time job, the structure of the UL Masters offered optimum flexibility and work/life balance, plus the opportunity to feel part of a class environment and working with peers from various industries worldwide.

experienced project manager working on masters degree

Extending my learning to build a stronger skillset

The online project and programme management Masters programme from UL delivered deep and structured learning far beyond my expectations.

Collaborative activities with classmates helped me to adopt a more systematic view of projects, and to appreciate some inherent tensions?between projects and the total organisation. As a result, I enhanced my ability to navigate and communicate through such tensions, enabling greater project success at work and solidifying my position as a critical employee within my company.

Another key outcome of the Masters programme was the deep appreciation I gained regarding the importance of governance in achieving project success. Systematic and focused management is essential, as well as communication with all stakeholders – very different from the traditional ‘iron triangle’ concept, which focuses solely on time, budget and cost.

Although I knew this intuitively, delving critically into the theoretical perspectives behind programmes and projects gave me the tools to better promote and substantiate such a stance in an industry where a more conservative view prevails.

Ultimately, I came away from the course with a more diverse skill set, greater confidence, a new network of contacts and a holistic view of project management practices from around the world, across various industries. This knowledge has given me the confidence to step outside my area of technical expertise to diversify my portfolio of projects.

If you would like to learn more about the MSc in Project and Programme Management from UL please download the course brochure or get in touch with the course co-ordinator Maria O’Connell.


About the Author:

Rob Wienand, is Project Manager for Chelopech Mining in Bulgaria and a graduate of UL’s PMI Accredited Online Masters in Project and Programme Management.


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