Transcript for the video: Postgraduate Project Management

Catherine Killen (00:02):

Okay. Welcome again, everyone. We’ll get this webinar started. It’s the postgraduate project management webinar, and we’ll go for it now. So you are here to hear about, I hope, the master project management, the graduate certificate in project management, or the master of property development and project management. So I’m Professor Catherine Killen, I am the Course Director of the Postgraduate Project Management Program. So I’m a good person to contact if you have questions outside of this webinar.

So we’ve got the webinar scheduled for the next half hour. But we will be able to take questions beyond that time, up until close to 6:00 PM if necessary. But the main webinar will be until 5:30. At 6:00 PM, there is another webinar, which is about the property development program. If you’re interested in the master of property development and project management, we will talk about that dual degree course here.

But if you want to hear more about the property development side, you may want to register for that 6:00 PM webinar, which is tonight just after this one. The chat will have a link to register if you haven’t already registered. So just keep that in mind, if you want to learn more about property development after this webinar, you can register and do that.

But moving on to the topics of today, before we get started, I’d just like to acknowledge the Gadigal people of the Eora Nation upon whose ancestral lands our City campus now stands. I would also like to pay respect to the Elders both past and present, acknowledging them as the traditional custodians of knowledge for this land.

We are recording this session. So, we’re only recording the audio and the screen share. So it’s not any video input or audio input from you. And it’s going to be used for the purposes of teaching, to share questions, to catalog and work with the data that we have. So I want to just mention that as part of taking part of this session, that information will be used for that purpose, and it may be published online as well as a webinar for other people to access.

So if you do not want to be involved, if you’re concerned about anything, you can contact UTS at the email address, However, for this webinar, your videos are not shared and we’re taking questions from the text chat. So it should be okay. But please use that email address if you have any concerns,

One more logistic is that, during this webinar and afterwards, we’ll try to answer some questions. We have a couple of questions that have come in already that I’ll try to address as well as we go along. But to ask questions, you should see a Q and A button as shown on this screen, and use that box to post your question onto the system, and we’ll do our best to answer it during the time. If we don’t get to it before f5:30, as I said, we’ll try to continue answering questions after that time, and we can follow up later if needed.

So back to the topic at hand. For anybody who’s coming late, I know that they attendee are still rolling in. This is the webinar for the master project management, the graduate certificate in project management, and the master of property development and project management at UTS. These courses are industry accredited. Industry accreditation is important to us and reflects our strong links with industry.

So we want to ensure that your education is of high standard, it’s up-to-date, and it’s industry-relevant. The Project Management Institute and the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors are the accrediting bodies. The graduate certificate is not an accredited program, it’s the master’s program. It’s also worth noting that we also have sponsored prizes and scholarships, internship opportunities, and our industry is one that offers good salaries and rewarding careers in a variety of industries.

And that’s important to note that our project management program, it prepares people for practice in all types of industries. But we’ll talk more about that a bit later. We have many different people from industry that contribute to our courses in a number of ways. We have four full-time academic staff who are dedicated to the program and research actively, keeping at the front of the knowledge in this area.

Professor Shankar Sankaran is particularly strong in system thinking in governance and portfolio management. He has a lot of experience which involves a telecommunication and health industries, from an engineering and operations point of view. So myself, Professor Catherine Killen, I am teaching in the communication innovation and entrepreneurship areas, and that comes from some of my background in manufacturing new product development and computer industries. Dr. Yongjian Ke is teaching risk and quality type subjects.

And he works a lot with public-private partnerships contracting, relational contracting, and that deals with mega projects and the construction industry primarily. And then finally, Dr. Leila Naeni is focusing on the teaching of time and cost, and scheduling, and earned value. And she has a lot of experience in modeling and analysis, big data and working as in portfolio and systems analysis.

So between us, we have quite a few industries that we represent. And we liaise with the number of industries to support the courses that you’re here to learn about. And these courses, as we said before, is the project management options, or the master project management, the graduate certificate. And the dual discipline option is the master property development and project management. I’ll go through each of these courses a little bit more in a moment. But I’d like to just open up that discussion about the fact that we do draw from many industries. That, although these courses are taught from the school or built environment, sometimes there’s an idea that we’re focused on the construction or built environment type industries.

But actually we are the post-graduate offering for UTS. So it is the place that people from engineering, or business, or health. We get a lot of alumni from UTS that come to our programs for post-graduate work in project management. So we have a quick poll to see from you, what your background is. So if you should see the poll popping up here just with a few different industries, and it’ll be interesting to see what sort of industries we have represented. Many people worked in multiple industries. So just pick the main one or the one you’re interested in continuing with, it’s really up to you. I’ll just give you a second or two to give a bit of a vote.

I hope you’re all seeing that poll there, and you can enter your work experience or the discipline that you’re in at the moment. So most people have voted now. As I’ve flagged before, we have people from a variety of industry, we have one or two from most of these areas here. Did we get anyone that says other? We didn’t get any others, so I’ll try someway to find out about. But creative industries, nonprofit, architecture, construction, engineering, that’s a typical mix.

We often have people from health, but I don’t think there’s anybody from health at the moment. But that’s interesting. And it would be nice to actually meet you if we were here in-person. If we were doing this in person, I would try to get a little bit more information from each of you. But since it’s such a rainy day, if we’re doing in-person, maybe we wouldn’t have so many people able to actually get here. So good to see you in the virtual way.

Just talking more about people that join the courses. We have the different disciplines, and we also have students with a lot of experience. And I didn’t ask you about your experience. We often share that as well. Our programs do require that you have one year of work experience that doesn’t have to be as a project manager, but you should have perspective to help you understand project management environments, and we asked for personal statement.

I’ll talk about that a bit more later. But I do want you to know that we have probably a quarter of our students that have more than eight or 10 years of experience, and about a half of them would be in the one to four or five years experience. So we have more fairly… I think I calculated a couple of times, the average was maybe four years of experience, with some people its quite a lot. And it’s quite a rich environment then to share the backgrounds as we are learning. So more about the programs now, if there’s any questions coming up that need to be answered now.

Jess Shelley (00:02):

No questions as of yet.

Catherine Killen (11:43):

No questions at the moment. Good. Thank you. The graduate certificate and masters, I’ll talk about the project management focused courses first. Now, you probably have looked on the online handbook or if you haven’t, I recommend that you do. But in short, the graduate certificate is our short sharp version of getting started on postgraduate project management. It’s a degree in its own right, and it launches people into a project management career often. It can be done in half a year full time, or one year part-time. It’s quite common for people to be doing it part-time while they’re working. And involves four foundation core subjects. I’ve got those on the next slide.

The masters of project management is three times as long and starts with the same first foundational core. So those first four subjects are common to both, but the master’s they’re built upon that with the [inaudible 00:12:50] subjects, one more core subject and the option to do sub-majors. So we’re looking at three years if it’s part-time, or one and a half years full-time study.

People often ask about that part-time, full-time mix. It’s very common for students to switch. Some of you who starts full-time may decide to go part-time for part of the course while they’re too busy, or you’re working on a contract say, or vice versa. And it’s possible to switch back and forth pretty much at any time. You do have to nominate what your intentions are when you’re hiring full-time or part-time, but it’s quite flexible that way.

The timeline of the course varies quite a bit as well. Because if you’re mixing full and part-time, you might be somewhere in between. And then some people get really busy and just take one subject at a term and stretch it out a little bit more. And you can also accelerate slightly by selecting subjects in the winter or summer sessions.

Right now we have one of our events subjects running into summer session. We may have another one, we have had another one at times. But we have at least one that regularly runs in the summer, which allows people to accelerate. And there’s also the option to take some major electives from other disciplines that are run in winter or summer.

So to apply, our requirements for the graduate certificate is a bachelor’s degree that’s from a recognized institution. We ask for one year of industry experience, and that experience should be after the bachelor’s degree. It shouldn’t be internships that are done during the bachelor’s degree. And by having that experience, as I’ve mentioned before, we have a lot more richness in the classroom too. The students need that experience to really absorb and contextualize the learning, and also to share experiences and build the learning as a class.

We have an option for the graduate certificate. If someone has not got a bachelor’s degree, but has progressed in their career and can demonstrate that, we can consider people who have at least five years of industry experience, and can demonstrate more completely about their level of achievements and their goals for the course. And the people that come in that way are often very experienced and really great contributors to the course. Anyone who does the graduate certificate can then apply or can articulate to the masters as long as they get a credit average in the graduate certificate, the option is automatic.

With the master of project management, we have basically the same requirement. It’s bachelor’s degree and one year of industry experience, or articulating from the graduate certificate. But we don’t have the five-year alternative to having a bachelor’s degree. For either one, a personal statement and a CV are required. So the CV is your list of your achievements, and the personal statement is a more explanatory short statement, that helps us understand what you interpret project management is, what your exposure and what your interests are, what’s your motivation for wanting to study? That helps us understand the types of people that we get to the class.

And just going back, we talked about the fact that you can come from any discipline and that we cater to all types of disciplines. We did a quick poll and got some profile of the diversity in the group that’s here now attending this webinar. I have on the next slide… This is just an example. This is from a term just before COVID in one of the cohorts just giving an example of the type of backgrounds that we have often in the classroom.

So the people from health and creative industries, non-profits, as well as what you might say are the more standard things, engineering, construction, architecture. Are not standard, but assumed. And traditionally, project management has had strong basis in those industries, but increasingly it’s used in almost every discipline. And that’s one of the exciting things about studying project management. And research and project management is the wide applicability and the growth in interest in project management across those ever expanding industries.

You have to be aware of, if you’re applying, local students for the master of project management are eligible to apply for or to be considered for our Commonwealth Supported Place. The Commonwealth Supported Places will be allocated closer to the beginning of term. So if you apply, you may get an offer to enroll. And then later find out whether or not, the CSP place is being offered.

So to explain the subjects in those courses, there’re, as I said, core subjects. On the left side here, those core subjects for the graduate certificate and masters in the blue. And those four subjects, which cover the main knowledge areas of the very multidisciplinary discipline that is project management, where we look at things from the human side of managing stakeholders, and people, and communicating, to risk, procurement, contracting, and quality. Time, and cost, and scheduling, is obviously very important, and integration management as well.

And actually, I just realized that scope and integration is now called integration management, because scope has been absorbed in another subject. These four subjects finish on the graduate certificate and the beginning of the masters. If you are doing the masters, you have another core subject that really brings you into perspective with the advances in project management, through research and how research is translated to practice, and how you can study and improve project management.

And then a bunch of electives which I won’t read all of these out. But they cover a bunch of areas that are relevant to project management practice, and really help boost people’s careers to more senior levels. Such as things like leading projects, negotiation, governments, consulting. There’s ways to really lift the project management types of roles, that you can move into with these electives.

Another option is sub-majors. So with those subjects, you either take seven of those electives, or you take three of those electives and four others from one of the sub-major areas. And the sub major areas is giving you an opportunity to get a taste of another discipline, perhaps you’re moving into, or wanting to get more information on a certain discipline to apply your project management.

So those seven different sub-major discipline areas are business, information technology, health, engineering, construction, property development, and local government management. So each of those offers a selection of subjects that you choose four of. And all of that is detailed in our online handbook. You don’t have to decide early on, whether you want to do a sub-major, but it may be something you’re thinking about when you apply. It’s one of the special features that we offer that gives people a lot of options and flexibility.

So if you are a student at UTS, what does it look like to be a student? The last couple of years, things have looked very different than they have in the past. Because of COVID, we have done a lot online and we mixed up our schedules quite a bit, and we’ve learned a lot. However, we will be moving back to primarily face-to-face courses, and mostly running in the mode that we typically run. And I’ll explain that in a moment here.

But we are doing a few things slightly differently way, having learned about different ways to engage and the benefits of some of the online technologies. But because project management is very much about working with teams and people, and getting the buy in and the group interactions, the class experience is a big part of our teaching, and it’s very interactive and draws upon everyone’s experience and everyone’s input to create that environment.

What we normally do, is have a four full days of face-to-face. And those are either four days in a row, which is usually Monday through Thursday, or in some cases we’ve got the four days spread out a little bit more. So our normal class work for each subject that you do, you have some time to prepare. And for the month before the actual face-to-face time, you do pre-class work and an assignment, and then you have the four full days of actually face-to-face, and then you have time afterwards to complete your final work.

So that is a typical post-graduate subject. That’s one thing that sometimes surprises people, because they’re thinking that they’re going to possibly have a class every week, on Tuesday nights, they come into UTS. We don’t have subjects like that in our program. We do have a couple of subjects that have five or six evenings, instead of the block, but not every single week. And we can share timetables to explain that.

Now I want to introduce the master of property development and project management as well, and look for questions in a second. As I said before, that if you’re interested in the property development side or this dual discipline degree, and particularly want to learn more about property development, there is a webinar at 6:00 PM tonight. So you can register for that. There should be information on the chat to do that registering and join in at 6:00 PM.

To anybody who arrived late, we are scheduled till 5:30, which is in three minutes, I’m aware. So I’ll get through this main material, but our questions will extend beyond the 5:30, to get through questions. So master of property development and project management, allows you to do two master level disciplines in two years full time, or four years part-time. So it’s a longer course, but it includes half and half of property development and project management. And these two disciplines work well together, that there’s a lot of need for people with both sides of those disciplinary skills.

So we have a list of eight subjects that are required from the property development side. And those will be discussed more in the property development webinar. And we also have four foundational core project management subjects as the same as the graduate certificate, and then four advanced project management electives. So students can choose which four they would like to take.

So that’s the structure of the master of property development and project management. The entry requirements are similar to the master project management. But we require that the bachelor’s degree is in one of these disciplines, architecture, building, engineering, management, and commerce, law, economics, econometrics. Or that you’ve done a graduate certificate first in either the property project management or property development, and achieve a credit level. Again, we need the work experience of one year, and a personal statement, and CV with the application.

Now, that’s a bit of a rush through a lot of information. We have ways for you to get more information by email, and also we have time for you to ask questions now that I can address directly. Let me see if there are some more questions that I haven’t answered that has already been posted. So are there any questions yet on our chat, Q and A.

Jess Shelley (27:19):

Got a couple of questions coming through in the Q and A. Can you see them there?

Catherine Killen (27:23):

I can see them now. There they are. How much advance warning do you get for the timetable allocation? The timetable is announced in October, the year before for the full following year. However, in the last couple terms, we’ve had to adjust things because of the unknown situation with COVID. We have locked in our spring time table in the last few weeks. It hasn’t changed a lot from original. But normally, October is when you find out about the time available for the whole of the next year. And I do hope we’re entering into a period of more stability.

So there’s another question here. Does a construction management degree from a different university count? Construction management undergraduate degree, I’m guessing. And this says Western Sydney, it’s definitely recognized. And that would be a good foundation for entry into our courses. So, our typical cohort size.

Yes, that was one of the questions that I think came in earlier as well. Normally we have about 30 to 40 students per term, entering this program of courses. So that means that our foundational subjects, the number of students are normally about 30 to 40 students in a class. We keep our classes relatively small. So around 30… Lately we’ve been having 25 to 35 students or so because we’ve had the fewer people due to international students not getting here in the same numbers. But it keeps it quite interactive, and that’s important.

We do not have very large classes. Another question about timetable, we have some right now. But the spring term that’s coming up, we have one subject that we’ll be running on weekends. So we’ll have a Saturday, Sunday block, twice. And then the rest of them are running through the Monday through Friday, normal daytime hours. We have two subjects that are elective that will take some evening slots.

So the question was really about, can we do all of the study during the Monday through Friday, 9:00 to 5:00 timetable? And that’s not quite happening. The other thing to keep in mind is that evenings are very busy if you’re doing the Monday through Thursday blocks. So our typical Monday through Thursday intensive block, requires that students are doing work with their groups after the 9:00 to 5:00 main teaching time.

And the main teaching time may extend till 6:00 or so. Each class will let you know very clearly when that time is, but you still need to keep those evenings so that you can be working. Now, a lot of people do that from their home, because we’ve got all the technology where you can interact with your group. But that’s just something to keep in mind as well.

So let me know if you have more questions about any of this stuff. Are there companies involved in the projects that you work on? We have a couple of different options. Some of our subjects bring in what we might call clients that present a problem that could be a current problem, or a typical problem, that students work on and find out about the situation and the industry, and then present back to that industry.

So that’s done at a class level. For a couple of different subjects, we do it that way. We also have one particular subject where each group works with a specific client’s problem. So companies do come in and help us with education and with creating scenarios for your project work in the classes. And that’s actually really important, is that, the intensive nature of the classes and the types of work that you’ll be doing, is designed to give you experience as a project manager, to be meeting deadlines, to be applying project management skills in a number of ways, and producing reports and outcomes that project managers produce.

And there’s another question about establishing a project management framework. So there’s a question about doing a project for a major project at work. And is that something that I can incorporate as part of the course, my capstone or other? That’s a good question. And I know this one came in earlier too. So I’m sorry I didn’t get through it in the main presentation.

This is something that is really good to talk about individually. So maybe we can email and discuss that. But the types of options could be, to arrange a special subject with a teaching plan, or to consider what is the nature of that, and is that something that you might use as part of a group assignment, or part of one of the subjects where you choose something in someone’s workplace? So I’d like to learn more about that. We do like to try to figure out ways to engage with real industry work and study. There’re other questions coming in here.

Jess Shelley (33:36):

There’s a couple in chat, Catherine, from Tom. The first one is, does the course start in March of 2022?

Catherine Killen (33:48):

We have an intake twice a year, so we have the core starting in March 2022, and it’s also… Jess can confirm what the deadline is, but it’s still possible to start in spring, this year.

Jess Shelley (34:04):

Yes, the deadline for that is the 27th of June.

Catherine Killen (34:07):

27th of June. So you need to apply by the 27th of June, to be considered for this year and spring. And that’s pretty much the same every year, that we’d have two options to apply and start the course.

Jess Shelley (34:24):

The second question from Tom is, are scholarships available?

Catherine Killen (34:28):

Are scholarships available? We’re just discussing, renewing a scholarship that we’ve had on offer, and I do need to follow up and find out what the status of that is. That’s specifically for our programs. Otherwise, there’re some scholarships offered in other areas that I don’t know if Jess had more information about that, but we can follow up. Mostly, the CSP places is the other thing that could be awarded. They’re limited number, but we pen select students for a Commonwealth Supported Place.

So I can see more questions of coming to the other Q and A as well. Kate’s asked if there’s preparation needed if you haven’t studied in a university environment for over 15 years. We have quite a few students who haven’t studied in a number of years because they’ve been working. And there isn’t any formal preparation required.

It’s an acknowledgement of the fact that it will a bit of a change. The people that we’ve had, I’ve had quite a few students who have said, “This is a bit daunting because I haven’t been a student for so long.” They’ve been fine. If there’s particular topics that you want to brush up on, we can give you some ideas. But it should be fine, and it’s quite common.

Percentage of theory versus practical project management. That’s a really good question, because theory and practice… Something that differentiates post-graduate project management from a safe practitioner certification, is bringing into theory. And I’ve never thought of it as a percentage thing. But what would I say? The theories are used to explain the practice and to understand and extend the practice, and to learn how to adjust the ways you might practice.

For example, there could be a framework that you learn about that people would use in industry, but if we learn a bit more about some of the theories and the concepts behind it, we can also help the students appreciate how they may adjust or choose parts of that framework, or fit the framework to the situation tailoring concepts. So it might be around 50/50. It’s not that we spend a lot of time on theory in isolation, but we do really look at developing that theoretical understanding that the explanatory understanding of why things are the way they are.

Whether that is from a systems analysis point of view, whether that’s from understanding some financial modeling point of view, or, and this is probably particularly strong, is understanding human behavior, human motivation, the ways people react when they’re negotiating and how to get what you want from a negotiation. Those are all underpinned by theories that help make that learning stronger.

More questions. Do you learn and use any particular project management software as part of the course? We have avoided making a particular project management all encompassing system. All encompassing system being a part of the course. Because we found that those systems change so often that it’s not worth the students investing a lot of time becoming proficient on a certain software. But we do have introduction to, and some work with very specialist software in a number of subjects. So that students are exposed to the ways that different software may assist with certain types of analysis.

The other thing about using particular project management software as a major framework for the courses, is access to the actual software then can be difficult for some students. So we don’t have a particular program that people will come out and say, “Right, that’s what I know.” What we’re finding from industry feedback is that, people can learn that, pick it up, use it on the job that they’re looking for people that can think and understand why things are done a certain way.

And also, really query what is the right software, what is the right tool for the context and output that we want? So I see the questions might be fading away at the moment, but if you have any more questions, please feel free to put them in. It’d be nice to meet people and have a chat, but do feel free to contact me. My email addresses is on the screen at the moment. I think Jess has put it in the chat as well.

Jess Shelley (40:02):

I’ve also mentioned about the one-to-one video consultations in the chat, Catherine.

Catherine Killen (40:06):

Okay. Good. So we have a one-to-one video consultation with myself or with Leila. Because it’s actually quite a good chance for you to get questions answered or just have a bit of a hello. So feel free to sign up for one of those as well. Any further questions? I don’t see anything happening here. I thank you for your time and attendance, and I hope to hear from you or maybe meet you one of these days.

Remember that there is the 6:00 PM webinar for property development, starting now 17 minutes. If you’re interested in learning more about that program and particularly the property development side of our dual degree offering. Okay. Have a good rest of evening everyone, and stay warm and dry. Bye-bye.