For most college students, taking required classes to complete a specific degree, socializing and obtaining a full-time or part-time job, for four-or-five years is the most students can think about or do. Understanding what needs to be completed prior to graduation in order to get a job is often postponed until after college. Unfortunately, upon graduation many students are not prepared to get a job and are disappointed because student loans are amassed and the job search is taking longer than what was expected. So, why not do something different? Apply project management concepts while attending college in preparation for a job once graduated. Why? Because they work!
A project is defined as “a temporary endeavor undertaken to create a unique product, service, or result.” And, isn’t the “result” most college students want from a college education is to obtain a job once graduated? On the onset of the college experience, the college student, as the project manager of his/her career, must consider the goals upon graduation. And, student’s goals are subjected to project constraints impacted by all project managers on all projects: scope, time, and cost.
Scope: What does the college student expect upon graduation? How will the student verify that the four or five years in college resulted in a positive experience or have met the student’s goals? What work must be accomplished while in college to ensure success and meet those personal goals?
Time: How long will it take to complete college? What is the schedule? What would impact a change to the schedule?
Cost: What is the final cost of a college education? What is the annual budget? How will the costs be tracked? How will college be financed?
While project constraints interrelate and are important on all projects, quality is a key factor to consider while attending college. Effective networking, good grades, and specific work experience are several factors into the quality of a good college education. To begin the job search upon graduation, the college student must complete specific tasks while in college. The first step in managing a college education is to manage the four constraints: scope, time, cost, and quality.
Attending college is not a blind exercise in attending classes and socializing. It is about a proactive approach to manage specific activities during the four-or-five years while in college. And remember – if done effectively, the tassel is worth the hassle.