Mark Mussell’s MBA in Project Management has already paid off.
The degree played a key role in attaining a promotion with his current company.
In addition to that tangible result, there are the less tangible, but just as important, knowledge and skills he gained from the program that will help him as he continues his professional journey.
“My Florida Tech degree will broaden my capabilities in corporate management, business and strategy, competencies that are well-needed in a progression path.”
A project manager with decades of experience, we spoke with Mussell about why he chose Florida Tech, his experience with the online program and the advice he has for future MBA students.
Q. Tell us about your background.
Calgary, Alberta is my home base for all intents and purposes (although my roots go back to the Near East); however, I really make my home with my wife and kids wherever we are living and working.
Having a B.Eng in Civil Engineering, my first real assignment was with a very small firm in Calgary as a Junior Design Engineer in the early ‘90s. I later decided to make my way into the world, taking up my first position as a site engineer in 1993 working for a construction company in Qatar. I progressed to Project Engineer and then Project Manager in five years.
Later, I joined ABB Alstom Power as a Contracts Manager. This role led me into a different but fascinating field – building power plants – in Qatar, Morocco and Saudi Arabia, and working out of the head office in Milan for the last two of my five years with the company.
Fate would see me return to Qatar after that, where I joined one of the leading local construction companies managing Infrastructure Projects (roads, bridges, utilities, etc.) for around 13 years. I then grabbed an opportunity to join KBR as an Operations and Area Delivery Manager on the Doha Expressway Program, which is where I still work.
I had been considering earning an MBA during my years as a contractor, but 6-day work weeks weren’t very conducive to the prospect; that left me with a major decision to make when I joined KBR – and I jumped on it.
Q. What were the most important factors in your decision to choose Florida Tech?
I really liked the way the program was set out, the course content, and of course, the different route options available. The capping factor was that the Florida Tech MBA in Project Management program was accredited by the Project Management Institute’s Global Accreditation Center (PMI® GAC).
Q. How will your Florida Tech degree make a difference in your career?
My Florida Tech degree will broaden my capabilities in corporate management, business and strategy, competencies that are well-needed in a progression path.
Q. Do you have any future plans with your degree?
My degree has already helped confirm a company decision to grant me a promotion, and I would like to use the knowledge obtained through the program to contribute further toward our company business decisions and strategies.
Q. What was your favorite class and why?
My favorite class was the last in the program: Strategic Management. The subject matter really is the capstone to top the pyramid of knowledge acquired during the previous 11 courses. We were able to put our knowledge to practical use in several ways, including our class discussions, developing realistic strategic management plans and the business strategy simulation game. I also really liked how the course instructor pushed everyone to search and think above and beyond the minimum required.
Q. What was your most valuable takeaway from the program?
Meaningful and practical knowledge and skills in understanding what is required to plan for, start up, operate, and further develop a business to perform at above-average levels.
Q. What advice would you give other students who are considering enrolling in the program?
In all honesty, I would recommend anyone considering an MBA program to do so only after acquiring sufficient work experience to truly benefit from the learning experience. Consistent and regular work is the only way to succeed in the courses.
Q. Who has been your support system?
My primary support system has been my wife and children. Their unwavering support and understanding made this possible. I can also say that I received much support and encouragement from a number of colleagues and friends.
Q. What was the most challenging part of your student journey?
Getting enough sleep! With a demanding role at work with relatively long hours and family commitments, finding enough study time was extremely challenging. Sacrifices were ultimately required; sports, socializing and, yes, shut-eye.
Q. What is one fun fact about you?
Put me on a mountain bike on the trails, and my serious, corporate, sensible side rapidly vanishes.
PMI is a registered mark of the Project Management Institute, Inc.
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