Educational opportunities are limitless, invaluable and ever changing. What is one topic that you wish you had studied in college or elsewhere, or one current educational opportunity that you think is especially interesting?
MK Consulting Engineers
I wish my undergrad coursework had included a basic accounting class. We were required to take economics but we really could have benefited from learning the basics of accounting.
The business side of engineering is something I have learned on the job as I have progressed in my career. In my day-to-day life as a small business owner, I use accounting principles and forecasting tools to project the financial stability of my company. Having a part-time CFO, an in-house accountant and the help of a full-service CPA firm helps us monitor our monthly P/Ls and manage the impacts of new tax legislation.
As an aside, the greatest classes I took were in high school and included geometry and typing!
Sam Negahban, Ph.D.
As an instructor at the University of Maryland, I regularly see opportunities for construction professionals to deepen their understanding of project management tools. There are a lot of control measures in the construction industry estimates, budgets, schedules, earned-value-ratio analyses. PMs know these tools but they don’t take that skill to the next level. There are seminars and courses that can help them better interpret, manage, manipulate and testify against results.
For example, a PM sees that a project isn’t proceeding according to the estimate. Deeper knowledge helps that manager determine whether he has an issue with material costs, production, subcontractor performance or something else, and enables that PM to determine if the best solution is to increase crew size, renegotiate a contract, or switch production methods.
I tell students I want them to become a project management ninja.