Brandeis GPS Blog

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

Tag: Project and Program Management (page 1 of 4)

Featured Graduate: Ruth Hackett

Ruth Hackett, Program Planner, University of Vermont

Program: Project and Program Management

Graduation: May 2023

After completing my undergraduate degree in business administration, I was initially confident my bachelor’s degree credentials were all I needed to get where I wanted to be professionally. When asked if I was considering a master’s degree, I said no without hesitation. However, my perspective quickly changed after entering the job market and realizing that continuing my education was essential to staying competitive and advancing professionally.

I chose the MS in Project and Program Management program at Brandeis GPS because the curriculum aligned perfectly with my interests. While I enjoyed the courses I took for my undergraduate degree, I struggled with courses like accounting, finance, and economics.  The MS in Project and Program Management curriculum offered courses that allowed me to elevate my strengths and pursue topics I enjoyed.  It was the ideal mix of applied and practical skills along with soft skills that are critical to being a successful team player, project manager, and leader. 

In the Project Scheduling and Cost Management course, I was assigned a project that required me to build a work breakdown structure for an upcoming event in Smartsheet, following specific budget, schedule, and scope parameters. Smartsheet was a new tool for me, but the assignment gave students the flexibility to approach the project differently and come to unique solutions. It also provided me with hands-on experience in a project management tool that is widely used throughout the industry. I connected with other students in the course online and regularly met with them to discuss our approaches and understanding of the tool, which helped deepen my understanding of project scheduling, Smartsheet, and my relationships with classmates which carried through other courses. 

When interviewing for my current role as a program planner with the University of Vermont, I was asked to present my approach to a project scenario that was relevant to the position. When reviewing the scenario, I knew exactly how I wanted to organize my presentation. I immediately drew on my skills from the project scheduling course, broke the tasks down in Smartsheet, and gave a formal presentation during my interview.  Since I had completed eight of the 10 courses in Brandeis’ Project and Program Management program, I had a strong foundation in project management. With the necessary skills and tools, the initial steps and organization were obvious to me. I was able to clearly articulate my project management approach, and I got the job!

Now that I have been working in my current position for over a year, I find myself using the skills I gained from my master’s education every day, whether it is from understanding team dynamics and motivating others to leaderships skills and scheduling projects within a realistic budget, scope, and schedule. I am confident in my decisions and the skills I bring to my team, which has been a huge asset for me in both my professional and personal life.

For more information on the MS in Project and Program Management or any other GPS programs, visit our website.

Alumni Spotlight: Han Ngo

Headshot of Han Ngo

Meet Han Ngo ’22

Boston, MA

Sr. Project Manager, Lab and Sample Management at Rhythm Pharmaceuticals

MS in Project and Program Management

In her free time, Han likes to eat at new restaurants and try different types of food, hike, and go on road trips.

Get to know Han! 

Why did you decide to pursue a master’s degree?

I decided to pursue a master’s degree to learn more about the business world and operations within an organization. In my work experience, we are continually collaborating and working cross functionally. 

What was your most valued experience at GPS?

My most valued experiences were the interactions and collaborative work I did with other students. I learned about my own leadership skills, which has helped me to identify my strengths and assist others with successfully completing projects.

How has your GPS degree prepared you for life after graduation?

The degree helped me unravel a multitude of layers in project and program management. I have gained an understanding of others’ perspectives, which has helped us successfully work together. I’ve learned how to build a structural foundation to maximize the prospect of successes, and how to reach milestones in the most effective way possible.

What strategies did you find helpful as you balanced responsibilities in work, school, and life?

Outside of my support system, scheduling was the most helpful approach for balancing work, school, and my personal life. Creating a strict schedule created boundaries with work and helped me to separate priorities between work and school.

What advice would you give to prospective students?

Make the best use of your interactions with your classmates. The courses are small enough that you will know the other students throughout your time in the program. The discussions and group projects help with expanding your approach to different methodologies in the workplace — take advantage of them!

To learn more about the MS in Project and Program Management or any other GPS programs, please visit our website.

Featured Graduate: Christin Clohosey

Christin ClohoseyChristin Clohosey, Manager, Practice Management at Commonwealth Financial

Program: Project and Program Management

Graduation: May 2023

For years, I had considered getting my Masters, but I wasn’t sure where I should study or what specifically I should focus on. After joining Commonwealth Financial in 2015, I was exposed to the Brandeis GPS offerings and found a program that spoke to me immediately – the Master of Science in Project and Program Management. It perfectly aligned with my new role and the area of expertise I wanted. After thinking it through for a couple of years, I dipped my toe in graduate school life by taking advantage of the opportunity to take courses at Brandeis without having to be fully enrolled in the program. After taking two Project Management courses, I was convinced that not only would this give me the knowledge I was seeking but would be adaptable to my work/life balance.

Four years later, I’ve completed the program and earned my Masters. The skill set and expertise I developed throughout my learnings not only helped me to excel in my original role as a program manager but allowed me to see other areas of opportunity for leadership within my team. This led me to craft a manager position that would give me the chance to make a bigger impact on my team, in the work we do with financial advisors, and hopefully the company.

I was fortunate to meet some amazing people through my courses and learned much from them, as well as some outstanding professors in the program. I enjoyed thoughtful conversations every week and those interactions provided an opportunity to expand my project and program knowledge beyond the financial world. While we would all challenge and push one another as we’d discuss many topics, it was always in a respectful and positive environment. 

I’m the first woman in my family to earn my Master’s degree and it’s a distinction I hold with immense pride. Getting the degree wasn’t easy by any means — I approached each course with careful planning of the time I would dedicate to reading, work, and study, but I truly believe the time I spent has led to where I am today: on a career path I’m excited about, recently named a co-chair of our internal Women’s Leadership Network, and being thankful for the value my graduate school education has brought to my life.

For more information on the Project and Program Management MS or other online master’s degrees available at GPS, please visit

Faculty Spotlight: Sean Milligan

Sean MilliganFaculty member Sean Milligan teaches in the Project and Program Management MS. Having worked in the project management realm for almost 30 years, Sean knows the ins and outs of the industry and the changes it has undergone. At GPS, Sean teaches the course “The Human Side of Project Leadership,” which dives into the people side of managing projects and programs. 

What led you to the project and program management field?

I love this question, because while Project Managers found the field in so many different ways, responses are pretty similar sometimes.  In essence, I started my professional career as a technical writer and got somewhat bored quickly.  Someone commented on my ability to organize and set goals with the writing I was doing and suggested that I look into Project Management.  I did, and the control freak in me really liked what I saw, so I pursued a position with the same company and off I went into the Project Management realm.  Almost 30 years later, that path has provided me with so many wonderful experiences.

What industry trend is currently exciting you?

What excites me about Project Management is the evolution the field has experienced.  Years ago, the Business Analysis and Project Management fields underwent a marriage of sorts and the two roles became quite similar.  Over the last few years, organizations have driven another evolution and Project Managers are viewed less as administrative roles and more as leaders who are driving strategic planning and objectives.  I find this trend exciting, and also get excited by the fact that we rarely hear about too many organizations that don’t have a Project Management function…and that function is now part of the strategic arms of companies.

What are your best hopes for students in your courses?

I created and now teach a course called “The Human Side of Project Leadership,” which dives into the people side of managing projects and programs. The course teaches students about the human factors that are evident in the teams they manage, and helps them to analyze strategies for effectively applying these factors to their leadership style.  My hope is that this course and others in the program provide students with the ability to find that delicate balance between the science of Project Management and the art of leadership.

Any advice for students or alumni who are job searching or preparing for a project and program management job search in the near future?

Prepare yourself to excel at leading without direct authority over the people and teams you will be managing.  There are so many resources available to students and alumni on leadership, leadership styles, team dynamics, etc., and not taking the time to hone in on your leadership skills is a big miss in today’s job market.  Project Managers who are simply acting as administrators are few and far between, as organizations are looking for candidates that can effectively lead their teams and meet strategic objectives.  I sound like a broken record, but today’s Project Managers have to balance the science with the art. 

For more information on the Project and Program Management MS or other online master’s degrees available at GPS, please visit

Brandeis GPS Student Spotlight

Student Spotlight

Madhumita Sen ‘23                                         

Westford, Massachusetts

Senior Manager & Scrum Master at CVS Health Inc.

Program: Project and Program Management

In her spare time, Madhumita likes to spend time with her family and pets.

Get to know Madhumita Sen! 

Why did you choose Brandeis GPS?

I chose Brandeis because of the University’s social justice foundation, strong culture of diversity and inclusion, and reputation as a place of learning.

What inspired you to choose your field of study?

As a senior Agile Project Manager working for a major healthcare organization, I found the need to expand my understanding of Program Management as it relates to agile software development. I wanted to gain perspective on how agile software development might scale at a Program and Portfolio level.

How have you enjoyed your experience at Brandeis thus far?

I am delighted to share that the last couple of years have been a rich learning experience. The professors are top notch, responsive, and reachable – always sensitive to student queries and concerns. Studying to ensure good grades while balancing a full time job and attending to teenager needs as a single parent has not been an easy journey by any means. I am just thankful to have been able to manage it all.

What are your hopes and aspirations for the rest of your time at Brandeis? 

I am looking forward to wrapping up the Project & Program Management degree with some great class discussions while gaining fresh perspectives from other fellow students.

What are your plans for after graduation?

I hope to be able to contribute further in the field of Agile Program Management and mentoring/growing Agile Project Managers. 

What advice would you give to incoming students?

Be willing and open to imbibing new perspectives that might be different from yours. I am always inspired by the following quote:

“Tell me and I forget, teach me and I may remember, involve me and I learn” –Benjamin Franklin

What has been your favorite class to-date? 

The class I am taking this semester – “Communication for Effective Leadership” – just might be my favorite one yet.

For more information on the Project and Program Management MS or any other GPS programs, visit our website.

Brandeis GPS Student Spotlight

Student Spotlight

Jeyanthi Ghatraju ‘23

Westford, Massachusetts

Principal QA Engineer, Raytheon Technologies

Program: MS in Project and Program Management

In her spare time, Jeyanthi enjoys volunteering in the community and teaching and performing Indian classical dance for the underprivileged.

Get to know Jeyanthi Ghatraju! 

Why did you choose Brandeis GPS?
This is a unique program that combines Project and Program Management, that is available so close to home from a reputed university.

What inspired you to choose your field of study?
Self-motivation and seeing the need for seasoned project and program managers in the industry.

How have you enjoyed your experience at Brandeis thus far?
The professors have done an excellent job, keeping up with current trends and providing insightful discussions as an important part of the curriculum. I have also had wonderful colleagues in the classes I have taken so far. They have brought much needed diversity in thoughts and experiences.

What are your hopes and aspirations for the rest of your time at Brandeis?
I hope to complete the courses with a good understanding of the subject matter and put them to practice in my profession, both in my current position and in future ones.

What are your plans for after graduation?
I plan to look for Program Management opportunities within my organization. I also intend to seek out part-time opportunities in a non-profit to use the skills I have gained.

What advice would you give to incoming students?
Stick to the course, come what may! Ups and downs are part of life; reach out to your instructor/peers if you are struggling with stuff; let us remember that most instructors want to see us succeed.

What has been your favorite class to-date?
Program Management – Theory and Practice; but then, I must say, whichever class I am currently taking becomes my favorite.

Studying with Brandeis for Not 1, Not 2… But 3 Degrees

Photo of Jamie.When I first started my journey with the Brandeis GPS program I took on a new role at Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts. I chased my curiosity to learn all things possible about Strategic Analytics and how I could apply my graduate learnings within my career. As I took on Graduate School head on, working full time and being part of a highly visible organization wide CRM Implementation project, Brandeis GPS helped me to be more confident in myself as a person, in my networking abilities, and as courses passed by each week I was able to develop my authentic self. Never did I think that a 100% online program could teach so much!

The Strategic Analytics program helped me to become a data master. While my GPS peers and I took on detecting trends and patterns in data through course assignments, I was running back to my coworkers to show them what new tips and tricks I had learned in Excel to make data manipulation even easier. As my professional career continued to evolve and the courses with the Strategic Analytics program progressed, the topics of Risk Management and Data Governance became a sweet spot to me. Conversations in both academic and professional settings became more meaningful with having the academic underpinnings to understand when risks and issues needed to be raised based on thoughtful analysis. With courageous ability, I became comfortable in suggesting action steps to provide to leadership of myriad levels as recommended project solutions to steer scope and budget in the right direction. 

As the Strategic Analytics program wrapped up, it became apparent to me that not only did I have a passion for learning, but I also had a newfound passion for teaching others based on best practices I had learned along my career journey. Brandeis GPS offers concurrent degree progression, meaning as my first GPS program wrapped up – I jumped right into the Learning Analytics program with the ability to transfer completed courses to whittle down the number of credits required for completion of a second degree. No better time to learn about Learning Analytics as many students took to the online learning platforms during the pandemic! I was excited to take my passion for data to a new level and apply it to the academic setting, dabble in the basics of instructional design, and investigate privacy and ethics in more detail as learnings within all levels took to the internet. While partaking in the Learning Analytics program I was able to provide insight to my coworkers who led Training classes to help improve their online course curriculums and shed light on the online learning experience based on data that was being collected and available to them. 

With two degrees completed, somewhere along my learning journey Brandeis GPS taught me to keep pushing on to learn more and to never stop chasing my thirst for knowledge! Studying with Brandeis and the GPS programs has felt like learning alongside with my family. Instructors and students are thoughtful, supportive, readily available, prompt questions to challenge thinking out of the box, offer firsthand industry knowledge, and most importantly are willing to go above and beyond to make coursework relatable to real-world scenarios. 

Earlier this year, I completed one project with my employer and successfully transitioned to another to chase my curiosity on how to best support my organization with another project implementation. Being part of the scope of work that involves projects, team collaboration, requirements, testing, negotiation, and difficult risk conversations – I knew I wanted to further develop my knowledge in Project Management, and I knew exactly where to turn to for academic support. Brandeis GPS is still my home, as I continue with my third degree offering, this time in Project and Program Management. Studying with Brandeis in multiple programs has allowed for the ability to network with individuals globally and learn about the evolving workforce head on through course posts, Zoom sessions, and candid conversations. 

While I continue to chase an academic enthusiasm burning in my heart to learn all things possible about how to tie my love for analytics, data, teaching others, and projects together, I owe a thank you to my friends and family with Brandeis GPS for the support, empowerment, and most up-to-date knowledge tool-kit that has set me up for success. When I am asked why I have multiple degrees and why are they all with Brandeis GPS – the answer is easy. There is no other place that I’d rather learn with – from the support of staff and faculty to the current students and prospective – the Brandeis family is like no other. While challenging yourself to grow personally and professionally – Brandeis GPS is always by your side!

Written by: Jamie Everard

Strategic Analytics, class of 2020

Learning Analytics, class of 2021

Project and Program Management, projected graduation 2025

Communication for Effective Leadership

It may go without saying, but communication is a prevalent and critical component of today’s workforce. The skillset is especially essential for professionals seeking to excel in a leadership role. Regardless of industry, professional communications is imperative for leading effective meetings, mitigating crises, and navigating negotiations and conflict resolution.

“Communications is a critical part of doing business, especially in today’s environment. News travels fast. A bad customer experience can become a social media sensation before the CEO is even informed of the problem,” said Mary Caraccioli, Chief Communications Officer for The Central Park Conservancy. “On the flip side, you can use the power of social media to engage directly (and more deeply) with customers, employees and other stakeholders. You can use the power of the communications revolution to your advantage by making communications part of your business strategy.”

Mary Caraccioli HeadshotCaraccioli is teaching a master’s-level course in Communication for Effective Leadership, a fully online, 10-week class that will help students build on their critical thinking skills and apply oral and written communication strategies to solve organizational problems and drive organizational change. Throughout the course, students will focus on topics such as negotiation and facilitation, crisis communications and public relations, virtual and global communications, and stakeholder management.

By the end of Communication for Effective Leadership, students should be able to:

  • Develop, execute and measure communication plans to manage stakeholders, solve organizational problems and drive organizational change.
  • Adapt communication strategies and use digital technologies to align with organizational, cultural, virtual, and global needs.
  • Build a portfolio of communication campaigns including crisis response, company positioning, and media statements.

This course is available for professional development or as part of several GPS graduate programs. To learn more, submit your information or contact the  GPS office for more information or to request a syllabus: 781-736-8787 or

Faculty Spotlight: Sean Milligan

Faculty: Sean Milligan

Program: Project and Program Management

Course: RPJM 119 The Human Side of Project Leadership

Awards: 2019 Outstanding Teacher Award, RABB School of Continuing Studies

Education: Brandeis University, M.S.

Bio: Sean J. Milligan, MS, has over twenty-five years of experience in managing enterprise projects and resources in a number of industries. He is a certified Project Management Professional (PMP) and a member of the South Florida chapter of the Project Management Institute (PMI) He is currently the Global Director of Professional Services for a company specializing in Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) solutions for for the food and beverage manufacturing industry, and resides in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. Sean received his M.S. in Project and Program Management from Brandeis in November of 2014, and is also a certified Myers-Briggs Practitioner.

Sean specializes in leadership throughout the personal, team, and organizational layers of Project Management and service delivery, as well as the human dynamics inherent in a collaborative approach to meeting demands of stakeholders and organizations. While Project Management has evolved from a scientifically driven approach to a people-focused mindset as a result of a shift in human factors, Sean’s focus on these factors brings a more holistic approach to leading teams and projects.

Why is this course important or valuable to a PPM student?

Project Management has evolved over the years and requires much more than the science of project plans, risks, issues, etc. Project Managers must now become people leaders and incorporate the art of leading without a direct line of authority.  The Human Side of Project Leadership course gives students valuable insight into the human and team dynamics that make for successful projects and happy stakeholders.  Adding this layer of insight enables Project Managers to achieve the valuable balance between project objectives and people objectives.

Why do you enjoy teaching this course?

I enjoy teaching the Human Side of Project Leadership course because of the fantastic “a-ha” moments that I get to witness throughout the course.  The course strikes a balance between individual introspection and observance of others in specific scenarios that create a valuable awareness of how individuals and teams operate, and because students are participating in team assignments, they get to see these real-life scenarios play out before them.  Students learn so much about themselves as leaders that it easily translates into how they view and lead others, which is fun to see.

Anything else you would like to share with a prospective student?

Get ready to interact with and learn a LOT about your fellow students in this course!

For more information on the Project and Program Management MS or other online master’s degrees available at GPS, please visit


Student Spotlight on Dylan Alinsky

Meet this week’s student spotlight – Dylan Alinsky!

Dylan is from Colchester, Vermont and is a candidate for a MS in Project and Program Management (PPM) program.

He currently works as a Casualty Claims Adjuster at USAA, and he looks forward to “leveraging the skills and credentials gained from a Brandeis MS to expand into project management and business process consulting fields”.

When discussing the content he has learned throughout his courses, Dylan explained how he utilizes these new PPM tools to help reach his personal goals and achieve professional success:

“Since starting the M.S. in project and program management, I’ve transitioned from a call center role to a leadership and training position at USAA. On a daily basis I’m better enabled to manage risk, as well as drive performance through planning, effective communication, and emotional intelligence concepts”.

Fun facts about Dylan

Movie theater or Netflix?

  • Netflix

Favorite ice cream flavor?

  • Cookie Dough

If there were 25 hours in a day, how would you use that extra hour?

  • I would learn another language


Dylan thrived at Brandeis GPS – and so will you! Learn more today about your area of interest, admissions and registration deadlines, and upcoming events.
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