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The Growing Importance of Project Management Skills

Although an MBA is regarded as a critical credential for business professionals, the vast majority of MBA programs have yet to recognize the growing importance of project management skills.

In recent years, employers have sought out MBA graduates who have some knowledge and experience in project management either through formal in-class or on the job training. At a recent Rutgers University conference on Innovations in Graduate Business Education, employers talked about the importance of hiring workers with good soft skills, with many noting that technical competency alone is not enough for success in today’s marketplace. In addition to having good communication and leadership skills, employers are looking for graduates who can take the complex and make it simple, adapt quickly to different cultures, and who posses good organizational, planning and problem solving skills.

It is not hard to imagine why soft skills are so popular today. As corporations increasingly favor a matrix organizational structure over the traditional hierarchical structure, teams collaborating across the globe are doing more and more of the work. But collaboration breaks down without an infrastructure and chain of command that holds everyone accountable for their respective contributions. That’s the genius behind project management and the reason why it is in such high demand.

Project management is one of those unique skills that can be seen across a wide spectrum of industries, from startups in Silicon Valley to world-renowned Fortune 500 firms. Once relegated to manufacturing projects, project management is just as likely to be deployed by technology, healthcare and financial services firms.

In fact, the Project Management Institute (PMI) forecasts that as many as 1.2 million project management jobs will be created every year until 2021.1 Yet, even with this growing evidence, very few graduate business programs offer project management as either a core component or even an elective within their curricula. And this includes many of the top ranked programs in the US and Europe. A 2015 research project published in the Financial Times showed that out of the world’s 100 highest-ranked MBA programs, “only two teach project management as a core course,” and neither of those is ranked among the top twenty-five.2

According to the study’s author, Antonio Nieto-Rodriguez, “Projects are the best way to create significant value to an organization.”2 In other words, a company’s value is directly impacted by the projects it selects for investment and how successfully it completes them. Indeed, projects allow firms to increase their efficiency levels, reduce the costs of operation, and grow revenues, or perhaps accomplish all three simultaneously. To an even greater extent than ever before, businesses throughout the world “demand that their high potential employees have basic project management and execution skills.”2 In short, project management is fast becoming one of the most critical determinants of business success.

Ramapo College has acknowledged the demand for competent project managers and now offers second-year MBA students the option of taking two project management electives. The program is designed in such a way that graduates completing the PM electives will be prepared to sit for either of the certification exams administered by PMI: Certified Association in Project Management (CAPM) or Project Management Professional (PMP). In addition to the MBA project management option, Ramapo College offers a separate program for professionals seeking a certificate in one of North America’s fastest-growing business disciplines.

Professionals interested in learning more about Ramapo’s MBA project management elective are encouraged to visit for more information.


1 Source: U.S. News and World Report. “MBA Programs Focus on Project Management” by Brian Burnsed. Retrieved from

2 Source: LinkedIn Pulse. “Why top Business Schools don’t teach Project Management to their MBAs?” by Antonio Nieto-Rodriguez. Retrieved from

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