Graduate business students in Kevin Grant’s Essentials of Project and Program Management class recently completed experiential final projects that benefited fellow students in the UTSA College of Business.
“I wanted to give students the opportunity to learn and apply project management tools and techniques to a real-life project,” said Grant, associate dean of undergraduate studies and associate professor of technology management.
The M.S. Business students were divided into eight teams and were tasked with organizing a College of Business event that utilized their newfound project management skills.
“Throughout this program, we’ve had more hands-on experiences in our classes,” said Amanda Avalos, who led the team that wrote thank you notes to unseen heroes at UTSA. “We learned so much more than if we were planning an imaginary scenario.”
Project leaders were chosen by their peers, and they were given a budget for the project. The events included such activities as hosting a community service day on campus, planning a trivia night for business students, organizing professional development and networking events for graduate students and coordinating events for students in the college’s Business Honors and Business Scholars programs.
“It was a valuable experience,” said Johnathan Perez, who led the team that hosted a networking event for M.S. Data Analytics students featuring employers from Harland Clarke, H-E-B, SWBC and Valero. “There is only so much you can learn in a traditional classroom.”
Through their project management class students learned about work breakdown structure, scheduling, risk assessment and budgeting, then applied it to their assigned project.
“This class taught me how to be a leader and take control,” said Avalos. “I learned how to work with my team’s strengths for a successful outcome.”T
Besides gaining applied experience, one student even discovered a passion for project management and a new career as a result of this experience.
“This program gave me the tools, the confidence and the insights to land a position in project management,” said Madison McDonald, who has accepted a position as a business operations associate at Accenture. “The M.S. Business program shapes, molds and refines your talents.”
“The students not only gained confidence in their skills, but they contributed back to the UTSA community,” said Grant. “It was not only a valuable educational experience, but it was life changing for some students.”