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Gabbard applies her Master of Science in Project Management program to her career

Allie Gabbard, BSETM ’20, knew she was passionate about project management from the moment she graduated from Ohio University.

She immediately entered the workforce as a project manager for Lockheed Martin Aeronautics in Fort Worth, Texas and quickly moved into her current position as a manufacturing engineer. While her new title did not formally include project management, Gabbard recognized that managing projects was critical to nearly every role that she would encounter in her career, which is why she decided to pursue a Master of Science in Project Management (MSPM). 

Gabbard knew about the program as an undergraduate student in Engineering Technology and Management, but what really attracted her to the program was its flexibility in customization and scheduling. 

“You have the flexibility to cater the program to your specific needs. The actual project management courses are relevant, up-to-date, and truly help you line up the skills to your career. We have people in all different industries, and they can pick classes that meet their needs,” said Gabbard. 

Beyond this flexibility, Gabbard was quick to point out that nearly every job has some element of project management. Even if she is not in a formal project management role, her managers expect her to meet deadlines and work collaboratively with her peers.

“I look at everything as a project. Everything has a project lifecycle. There are so many short, fast projects and this program helps you with this project management methodology. Whatever field you are in, your manager is going to expect a project is completed. It is not just completely about a deliverable — it’s about the process,” said Gabbard.

There are a variety of classes across the University that help each MSPM student tailor their coursework to their career, whether it is in healthcare, defense, business, engineering or something else entirely. One of the classes that most influenced Gabbard was Project Management II, which teaches students about agile project management and the importance of emotional intelligence as a leader. 

“Emotional intelligence is important as a project manager. The goal is to work in cross-functional teams. You are responsible for working with people with different personalities and helping them work together. Emotional Intelligence is the difference between a manager and a leader,” said Gabbard. 

As she continues to work full time for Lockheed Martin, Gabbard has been able to simultaneously balance her course load and actively apply her knowledge to her career. On a regular basis, she does root cause analysis, problem solving, affordability projects and overall improvement projects. The structure of the program has allowed her to learn from her peers across the country in various industries to improve her workflow in her own professional role. Upon completion of the program, she hopes to earn her PMP certification, a highly accredited certification for project managers. 

“Everything you do as a manager has a project lifecycle or a people factor. Even if you are not formally a project manager, you should look into this program,” said Gabbard. 

While the program is online, making it accessible for students across the country, each student is invited to participate in the Leadership Development Conference (LDC). The LDC takes place in Athens, Ohio and serves as a resource to bridge the gap between online and in-person learning for students in the program. 

“This is an intimate program. Class sizes are generally small, so I have had the chance to build connections with my classmates across the country. I am really looking forward to coming [to Athens] and meeting some of my peers when we do the LDC coming up,” finished Gabbard. 

June 15, 2022
Staff reports