By Amber Westereng, Marketing Intern

Clara Derby ’20 (project management and English) has always wanted to work in event management. When she was given the opportunity to do so with MSUM’s Project Management program, she took it.

“The program is very applicable. It’s one of those programs where you can see it’s preparing you for your career,” Derby said.

The encouragement, support and opportunities the Project Management program and faculty offer will not only help Derby in the real world but will help all MSUM Project Management students after graduation.

“All Project Management classes blend theory with application. The students have a chance to take an industry Dale Carnegie class that focuses on communication, presentation and leadership; a project management simulation; and a capstone class where the students apply their PM skills to a business, education or community project. In addition, they can participate in Dragon Consulting, internships, co-ops, and international exchange programs,” said Pam McGee, associate professor of Project Management.

“Every single one of the faculty has industry experience, so they bring in a lot of really applicable real-world examples as well as connections,” Derby said.

MSUM is just one of a few Midwest universities that offer a Project Management program completely online. This has helped Derby earn not one, but two degrees. Taking project management courses online and the majority of her English courses in the classroom, Derby has experienced the best of both worlds.

“Taking classes online gives you the time and flexibility to pursue educational and career opportunities while also going to school,” Derby said.

Throughout her courses in the Project Management program, Derby had the opportunity to gain hands-on experiences. She was the event manager for a 1 Million Cups event held on campus this past spring.

“It was really exciting. It was a lot of pressure because it was a high visibility event. I was really proud to be a part of it,” she said. Derby was also instrumental in planning a Virtual Reality Certification event at MSUM this past year.

The faculty in the Project Management program are more than professors for their students. “Everyone has been super welcoming and supportive and really treats everyone with respect and gives value to everyone’s ideas,” Derby said. Even without taking one of her classes, Derby built a close connection with McGee.

“Pam McGee invited me to work with her. I didn’t think I could do it but she did and she gave me the support and confidence to go out and prove her right. That has become really impactful on my life and I am really grateful for her,” Derby said.

“Clara is going to change the world because she is smart, kind, driven and innovative. I’m proud to say she is a Dragon and a PM Student,” McGee said.

The project management job market has been growing for years and continues to do so every day. The expansion gives project managers entering the job force the opportunity to follow their passion based on the industry they wish to be in.

“It’s one thing to do really well in school and have the qualifications on paper, but to get the opportunity to go out and apply them and prove to yourself and others that you really can do that is so powerful,” she said.

The project management program at MSUM received global accreditation from the Project Management Institute, making it a high-value program not only at MSUM, but around the world.

Learn more about MSUM’s nationally ranked Project Management program at mnstate.edu/project-management.