Salary of an MBA Graduate in Project Management

Learn about the education and preparation needed to become a project manager. Get a quick view of the requirements as well as details about education, job duties and salary to find out if this is the career for you.

There are a number of industries that have need of project managers, including information science, construction and engineering. Exceptional communication and leadership skills are required for this position as the job description mainly entails overseeing the completion of a project. Since salary is fully dependent on location, experience and education, graduates are strongly encouraged to pursue a specialized master's degree to better their chances at furthering their career.

Essential Information

Project managers work primarily in information science, construction and engineering. They conceptualize, plan, implement and complete projects and complex endeavors in these fields and oversee projects from goal definition and development through completion. At each stage of a project, they gather input from and provide updates to upper management and clients. Project managers are a constant presence for team members, providing support, motivation and direction to complete projects under budget and on time. Communication skills are central to success in managing teams, as well as the ability to make accurate cost and risk assessments. Salaries of project management MBAs depend on several factors, including communication, leadership experience, education, and location.

Career Project Manager
Required Education Master of Business Administration (MBA)
Projected Job Growth (2014-2024) 5% (for all management occupations)*
Median Salary (2015) $69,765**

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics; **

Project Management Job Growth

Project management is a growing occupation with increased specialization, evidenced by the quadrupling of membership within recent years of the Project Management Institute (PMI), the nation's largest professional association for project managers. According to the organization, it certified more than 90,000 professionals and signed up nearly 150,000 new members from around the world in 2012.

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Salary Information for Project Managers

Salaries for project managers depend on geographic location, industry, experience and education. Yearly earnings are difficult to determine because many project managers earn bonuses at the completion of an assignment. As of January 2016, reported the median salary for project managers in the information technology industry was $84,797. In the construction industry, project managers made a median salary of $69,765.

The PMI publishes a full salary report that bridges industries as well as 19 countries and includes a breakdown of several demographic variables.

MBA in Project Management

Graduates from specialized MBA programs may become full-time project management professionals in a variety of industries, while other managers incorporate project management responsibilities in their job description. Earning a master's degree in project management is therefore a skillful career move for both people starting out in their business careers and for mid-career professionals. Formal training is becoming the preferred avenue for career entry as the profession develops; therefore, graduate certificate and degree programs are becoming more prevalent as interest in this career grows.

Core project management courses at the graduate level include team building, risk management, planning and ethics. Key skills emphasized in training programs are statistical analysis, math, cost-benefit analysis and decision science. The ability to make effective presentations and create clear project documentation is also honed. In addition to these fundamental project management courses, field-specific training - such as in engineering, construction science or information science - is often part of graduate work.

Since education and experience have a major impact on the salary that these professionals earn, students are encouraged to fine-tune their skills through additional project management courses and hands-on training. With a master's degree in a specialized field, these graduates have a better chance at increasing the job opportunities that are available to them.

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