MBA is a degree (or a diploma) course that covers various aspects involved in the starting and running of any business while PMP is a specialised certification program for those professionals interested in Project Management.
Professionals aspiring for leadership role often get confused on which one to pick for. Let’s look at some of the key differences:
Admissions for an MBA program is usually based on GMAT or any similar exam such as IIM CAT (GMAT or CAT score is always a necessary, but not sufficient criterion), followed by interviews and/or Group discussions.
Since PMP is a professional certification exam, pre-requisites are professional in nature (Refer PMP requirements).
MBA degree, as the name indicates, intends to enable a person with the necessary knowledge and skills to manage any business. The common courses can be broadly classified as:
- Organisational Behaviour (HR)
The typical MBA course can be classified into the mandatory core courses (listed above) that teach the MBA candidate the basic concepts required, and elective courses that are usually a combination or specialisation of the above topics. Project Management is one such popular elective topic. However, the topics covered in the Project Management elective course in an MBA program are usually different from the ones covered in PMP, as the focus of both programs is different.
During my MBA at Sunstone we went through various aspects of project management.
PMP is a certification program instituted by the Project Management Institute, and is a specialised course intended to cover the specific asks of a Project Management job. The Project Management Institute has listed down best practices to tackle most commonly occurring project management challenges in the form of @PMBOK Guide & Standards, and this covers the topics below:
- Scope (What is to be done)
- Time (Schedule)
- Cost (Budget)
- Human Resources (Building and Managing an effective team)
- Stakeholders (Understanding/evaluating all the stakeholders, and their expectations)
- Communications (amongst all stakeholders)
- Procurement (acquire the necessary products/services for the smooth running of project)
- Integration (Tying all the above up, for achieving the project goal smoothly)
The active status of the PMP certification needs to be maintained through various PMI mandated activities. The status of any PMP certified professional can be verified through online PMI Registry.
An MBA degree (or a diploma) is awarded by a college or a university, just like any other degree. Once you are an MBA, you are always an MBA.
In my opinion, it is good to have both. MBA helps one in understanding the overall strategy of the organization and the purpose and functioning of various departments. PMP aids a lot in organizing the execution and implementation of the project at hand, in a more structured way.
During my MBA study at Sunstone, I received a lot of higher-level knowledge from many subject areas. Without a doubt, I learned more in graduate school than from the PMBOK. I was tasked with many strategies, adventure scenarios, and competition events that would often support theories and best practices. A lot of practical knowledge was applied. I even learned a couple new Excel tricks, such as the “Goal-Seek”.
While during PMP study, your project management prowess became fine-tuned. Students learn some practical applications, such as critical chain scheduling and the Monte Carlo.
What is in an MBA? That all depends– Where did you go to school? And even then, I did not go to your school, so how can I know you learned the criteria that I think is important? There is a lot of variation that comes with an MBA. I believe that that is the reason for its watered-down appeal. Some companies pay attention to whether you learnt relevant skills from experience professionals while others just go with brand names.
The PMP provides a standardized level of knowledge for the project management subject area. The test is a definite stepping-stone in accomplishment that qualifies an applicant for criteria knowledge. Everyone who takes the test is challenged over the same type of criteria that is relevant to the Project Management Body of Knowledge.
Last but not the least, I met a lot of good people in my MBA tenure and made lot of good friends. People you network with during MBA have diverse work experience ranging from founders to professionals working in Sales, marketing and other functions. Networking comes very handy while looking for a new job or when you plan to start your own venture.
As for PMP, people do network with others in PMI Chapter meetings. Although, folks who are in the chapter are pretty much working in similar job function.