Project Management & Leadership

As graduate students you already have extensive experience in project management, that is, your master’s thesis or dissertation is a multi-year project that you manage with the help of your faculty advisors. Think of your own research project. You developed an idea or a problem. Then you built the necessary expertise to expand your idea or solve your problem. You likely negotiated funding and travel arrangements to pursue your research. You did all this within a scheduled timetable that concluded with the production of a thesis or dissertation as your deliverable.

That is project management, taking an idea and moving it through the necessary processes to create something tangible.

You have experience as a project manager in academia as well as in your own personal life (each meal you cook is a small exercise in project management), but experience alone does not confer ability. Like all things, project management is a skill that you can improve through training and practice. Managing a dissertation is largely an individual pursuit. Of course you work with faculty advisors, archivists and librarians, funding and research organizations, but the project and the final product is yours alone. It is likely that in your future career you will be working on someone else’s project with other stakeholders. Here your experience is limited, but by utilizing Yale’s career resources you can prepare yourself to excel in numerous different project management scenarios.

A crucial aspect of managing any project is managing people. Leadership is a critical attribute of effective project managers. Building a competent team that can work together to achieve its goals is vital to successful project management.

 

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