The Brandeis GPS blog

Insights on online learning, tips for finding balance, and news and updates from Brandeis GPS

Tag: Brandeis Master’s Degrees

The value of a master’s degree in 2019

In today’s competitive job market, the demand for candidates with advanced degrees is continuously rising. Particularly in high-tech fields, employers are increasingly looking for highly skilled workers. Professional master’s degrees in applied fields give employees an opportunity to demonstrate desirable skillsets  and a commitment to advancing within a certain career path or industry.

Some of the many benefits to a master’s degree include:

1. Greater confidence & mastery in your field

A master’s degree from a top-tier university allows you to delve deeper into your specialized field and take courses that directly correlate to your career. By taking courses in both hard and soft skills, you’ll be able to grow as a professional and ensure you’re staying up-to-date with the best practices your current industry requires.

2. Increased job opportunities

A master’s degree provides you with additional training and qualifications to pursue your professional goals, leading to job opportunities that would otherwise not be there. Having an advanced degree can open doors, oftentimes including those with higher salary prospects.

3. Ability to shift careers 

If you are looking to change careers, getting a master’s degree can provide you with the knowledge, skills and tools needed to switch your career path and enter into another field.

4. An expanded professional network

By entering a master’s degree program, students are exposed to a greater community of faculty, students and other top leaders in their fields. At Brandeis GPS, where courses average around 12 students per class, that community extends even beyond the classrooms; offering students opportunities to expand their professional circles through on-campus and virtual networking events, webinars, shared job postings, LinkedIn, and by building meaningful connections with faculty, program chairs, and advisory board members.

To learn more about GPS courses or graduate programs, contact gps@brandeis.edu, call 781-736-8787 or visit www.brandeis.edu/gps.

Project Management Certification or a Master’s Degree: Which Should You Get?

By Leanne Bateman

Leanne Bateman HeadshotAs the program chair of the Project & Program Management program at Brandeis GPS, one of the most frequent questions I have gotten over my 11 years at Brandeis University is this: Which is more important and valuable, Project Management Certification (Project Management Professional, or PMP) or a Master’s Degree in Project Management?

Honestly, the answer depends on what you want to accomplish in your career. The options are: work as a full-time Project Manager for a company, work as a project management consultant or just gain project management knowledge and experience in your non-project management related role.

If you’re primarily interested in working as a project management consultant—which involves either working through an agency on assignment at a company, or contracting directly with a company—then the Project Management Institute’s PMP certification is the first credential agencies and companies will expect. Coupling the PMP with Master’s Degree in Project Management will add tremendous value and distinguish you from other consultants/contractors. If your interest is to work as a full-time Project Manager for a company, then both credentials will help you get the job, but the Master’s degree is far more valuable and says much more about your commitment to your project management career. Similarly, if you’re currently a manager or employee interested in learning more about project management and integrating that discipline into your daily work, then once again, the Master’s degree is the way to go. And, your company may be able to contribute to your tuition.

The difference between the two credentials is this: PMP certification is a short-term study of the hard skills and knowledge needed to be a professional project manager, and this knowledge is validated through a 200-question exam that takes about four hours to complete. While there are requirements that must be fulfilled prior to taking the exam, they can be interpreted differently and unless the exam candidate is audited by PMI, the requirements may or may not be equal from candidate to candidate. Also, according to PMI, the number of PMPs has increased by 40,000-80,000 each year since 2009; this increase further dilutes the value of PMP certification.

With a Master’s Degree in Project Management, the value is greater on several levels:

  • First, because of the longer-term period of study over 10 graduate-level college courses, the breadth and depth of academic and experiential knowledge is more extensive. This knowledge covers not only the hard skills of project management but more importantly, the soft skills so critical for a successful project manager: leadership, communication, conflict resolution, influence, negotiation and team building.
  • Also, a Master’s degree in Project Management is more discerning to potential employers since few project managers have this credential.
  • Finally—and importantly—a graduate program whose faculty possess real-world experience as professional project managers is invaluable as they demonstrate the applicability of the hard and soft skills in actual projects and programs.

If one thing is certain in project management, it is that despite any earned credentials, practical experience is the most valuable credential of all. So, a Master’s Degree in Project Management taught by experienced faculty and demonstrated through practical coursework exercises is the next best thing to actually working as a professional project manager.

Leanne Bateman, MA, PMP, CSM, Six Sigma Green Belt, CIP is the program chair of the Project and Program Management program at Brandeis University Graduate Professional Studies, and the Principal Consultant with Beacon Strategy Group, a Boston-based management firm specializing in project management services. Leanne has 20+ years of project management experience across the areas of health care, biotech/pharmaceuticals, information technology, high-tech manufacturing, human resources, construction, housing/real estate, government, and higher education. 

Faces of GPS is an occasional series that profiles Brandeis University Graduate Professional Studies students, faculty and staff. Find more Faces of GPS stories here.

Pre-enrollment Opportunities

Did you know that Brandeis GPS offers courses for professional development? Enroll in an online course for this spring and network with new colleagues in a 10-week online classroom capped at 20 students.

At Brandeis GPS, you can take up to two online courses without officially enrolling in a degree program. This is a great opportunity to get to know our programs if you’re interested in pursuing a master’s degree. You can also take courses if you’re interested in professional development. Regular tuition and course-related fees apply.

View our full course catalog here, and preview our spring 2017 courses here. You can also complete the form below to learn more about taking courses with GPS.

How it Works: 

If you like what you learn and want to continue your education, you can apply your credits from this fall toward a future degree. Questions? Contact our enrollment team at gps@brandeis.edu or 781-736-8787 or fill out our take a course form and we’ll be in touch.

Countdown to Commencement: Strategic Analytics #tbt

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GPS students from across the country are convening their family members, booking travel, and preparing to descend on Waltham on May 22 for our 2016 commencement ceremony.

We are especially excited to welcome our first class of Strategic Analytics graduates. Launched in 2013 and with 100 students currently enrolled, the Master of Science in Strategic Analytics is one of our most popular and fastest-growing programs.

Strategic Analytics harnesses the proliferation of data in all aspects of business, providing students with the skills and tools to reduce risk and improve performance. It’s important to note that this program doesn’t just meet the needs of a specific field — you will find that it can be applied to most. Our Strategic Analytics students work in IT, marketing, finance, biotechnology, healthcare, research and development, and many other industries.

Filling a critical workforce gap

This year’s crop of Strategic Analytics graduates will find themselves in high demand as more and more corporations, governments, and institutions across the globe begin to recognize the need to collect and analyze large data sets. With the world facing a shortage of analysts capable of designing and executing complex data analysis, experts like GPS’ graduates in data collection, management and analysis are becoming increasingly integral to organizational success.

A study conducted by NewVantage shows that the majority of employers have either been challenged or somewhat challenged in finding Strategic Analytics workers. (Source: NewVantage Partners: “Big Data Executive Survey Themes & Trends”)

A study conducted by NewVantage shows that the majority of employers have either been challenged or somewhat challenged in finding Strategic Analytics workers. (Source: NewVantage Partners: “Big Data Executive Survey Themes & Trends”)

Strategic Analytics at Brandeis

The Strategic Analytics program is led by Steve Gentile, who has more than 25 years of IT project management experience in the financial services industry. To complete the comprehensive 30-credit program, students must take seven core courses and three electives. Diverse in nature and subject matter, the courses focus on collecting, storing, securing, mining and analyzing data, and using that data to inform organizational decision-making.

We are proud of our 2016 Strategic Analytics students who understand the strategic potential of big data and are equipped to translate analysis into effective action. We know they are all are poised to lead today’s organizations to new standards of efficiency and competitiveness. Congratulations to all our graduates!

Mission Accomplished

Gary Smith is a recent graduate of the M.S. in Information Technology Management program at Brandeis GPS. He is currently a Manager Symm Software Customer Service at EMC Corporation.

“Having recently graduatedgary1 from Brandeis GPS with my Master’s in Information Technology Management, I can confidently say that GPS helped me to achieve the goals and objectives I had when beginning this program. I have always enjoyed managing and coaching, and coming into Brandeis GPS I had hoped that a Master of Science in Information Technology Management would help me to progress my IT management career at Egary2MC.

I have learned a great deal about leading and managing in the IT world. My courses at GPS taught me differing perspectives on IT management, operational and organizational strategies, project management methodologies, and managing in a virtual worldwide environment. Classes like “Negotiating and Conflict Resolution” have improved my ability to negotiate with customers, management, and employees, all of gary3which have been very useful to my profession.

The courses I have taken at Brandeis GPS have helped me to communicate technical issues through various mediums both internally at my office  and to our customers and partners. I now have a wider viewpoint of the IT industry outside of my current employer’s perspective. Through Brandeis GPS I have become a more effective, ethical leader and have added valuable skills to my repertoire.”

 

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