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Corvinus University and the Hungarian Chapter of Project Management Institute Budapest train professionals for the international

2023-09-20 13:05:00

What are the benefits of having project management taught by practitioners? We talked to László Kremmer, former president of the Project Management Institute Budapest, one of the founders and instructors of the International Project Manager specialist postgraduate programme, who has been a member of the Advisory Committee of the US PMI Board since January 2023.

How did you get involved with Corvinus University and how did you start teaching at the university? 

For many, many years, there has been a very active professional cooperation between the Project Management Institute Budapest (PMI) and the university. In 2018 I became the President of the Hungarian Chapter of PMI Budapest, , and in the same year I happened to be also the chairperson of the jury of the Project Management Thesis of the Year competition. I can still remember the joy of being one of the first to congratulate the winning colleague at the award ceremony. The thesis supervisor was Dr. Bálint Blaskovics, who has played an important role in the cooperation since then and is currently the study programme leader of the specialist postgraduate programme. At the same time, the idea was raised that we would like to strengthen the relationship between Corvinus University and PMI Budapest in some way. At the invitation of lecturers Dr. Péter Fehér and Dr. Viktória Horváth, I started teaching project management in the Fudan-Corvinus MBA programme in English. Based on the results, I received another request to teach Erasmus students.  

When I was teaching, we started talking with the then Vice-Rector for Education, Dr. Lajos Szabó and Dr. Péter Fehér about launching a joint specialist postgraduate programme. During the negotiation process, I became the project sponsor on behalf of PMI Budapest, Hungarian Chapter. I invited all the instructors from the organisation and I was present throughout the development of the programme. And my colleague Zoltán Török was responsible for ensuring that the curriculum was in line with the PMI international guidelines. We launched the programme in September 2021 and it has been very popular ever since.  

Who would you recommend the programme to and how does the admission process work? 

It is essential that the future student has an interest in the project management profession. You don’t necessarily have to be a project manager, we’ve had students in economics, engineering and law. The important thing is that you have at least a bachelor degree and a conversational level of English, as all classes are taught in English. Some of the applicants work as junior project assistants or junior project managers and have mastered the profession through a “learning by doing” process, i.e. they have no formal theoretical or practical training. For them, the programme actually systematises and summarises the areas of knowledge of the profession, and they gain a much greater depth and confidence after completing this programme. Our aim is to give students a comprehensive understanding of the project management profession. We start from the basics and go through practically all the areas of knowledge. You can apply for the programme on the website of the university or of PMI Budapest by uploading the relevant documents. Afterwards, we invite students to an admission interview, which is usually attended by several teachers. 

What does the programme offer, why is it worth undertaking? 

As a practitioner, I have been involved in project and programme management for more than 20 years. I’ve been working in a US financial institution for 11 years and I see that there is a huge demand for well-trained, foreign language-speaking professionals who can effectively manage various IT, investment and software development projects. We train professionals in English for the international arena, which is currently unique in Hungary. We specifically aim to have as an outcome project managers equipped with the appropriate professional language not only in large companies, but also in small and medium-sized enterprises.  

When we designed the training programme, we also made sure that there was a good match between theoretical knowledge and practical skills. It is very important for the practitioners studying in the programme to acquire knowledge that can be applied in practice. I therefore invited as lecturers colleagues who are practising project managers with decades of experience in project management. Their task is to pass on tried and tested methods and knowledge to the students during lectures and practice sessions. Of course, there are also academics among the teaching staff with several decades of teaching experience and considerable academic and theoretical knowledge to help integrate topics. 

You are involved in the programme as a practitioner, aren’t you?  How do you bring lessons learned into your classes? 

The area of project communication belongs to me in the programme. We always tell students that the job of a project manager consists of communication 90-95% of the time. I think that both written and oral communication are crucial for future project managers. My lessons are aligned to the PMI project management guide, the PMBOK Guide, and thus adapted to international standards. I share a lot of my own experiences and cases in the form of storytelling. This is important because we are training practitioners, and they will retain more of the knowledge that I can give them through a personal experience and example. I believe that practitioners can be credible to students by being able to communicate the knowledge they have acquired through their own professional experience. We also include case studies in the programme, and often participants have to work on these exercises in groups, so that lessons learned are better retained in the long term. 

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