As a Capability Delivery Manager for Tennessee Valley Authority, Satish Patel focuses on delivering project management solutions for various units in his company. By becoming a PMP-certified leader, Satish uses what he learned throughout the certification process to find more effective and efficient solutions than ever before!
Marah: Why did you pursue the PMP certification?
Satish: Years ago, I created an individual development plan where I decided that pursuing PMP certification was one of my career goals. I knew that what I learned through certification would help give me a greater understanding and perspective of project management. In my role, I manage groups that work on smaller projects for our organization, and then my team also partners with our project management office (PMO) to work on bigger projects. Certification has many personal benefits, but I was confident that it would also help me progress in my leadership role as well as be a better partner with our PMO.
M: What did you enjoy about UTC’s PMP Exam Prep course?
S: One thing I really enjoyed that I would not have received from only self-studying was meeting a variety of people in the class. We all had different project management backgrounds, from IT to civil building. The ability to network with my classmates and understand their motivations and experiences was a great aspect of the course. We were also able to work together during group exercises, which I found to be useful. Most importantly, the course played a huge role in preparing me for (and passing!) the exam.
M: What did you learn in the PMP course that has been particularly beneficial in your current role?
S: The project management framework has helped me become a more strategic project manager. I am more of an asset to my team members because I know the right questions to ask to guide them into successful project implementation. Now I think of project management more holistically as I ask questions to make sure that we understand what we are trying to accomplish, the scope, the risk, and all the other aspects the framework teaches you. I am also more aware of making sure that the implementors of a project and our business partners have a mutual understanding of the project so we are all on the same page.
M: What advice would you give to someone studying for the PMP? What are some study tips/takeaways you implemented?
S: My first tip is to take a boot camp like the one I did at UTC. A course helps you build your foundational knowledge not only on the exam material but also on how to prep for the exam itself. All exams are different, and you need to know what to be aware of and what the best study materials are.
Second, have dedicated study time for the exam. I know this can be challenging while working full-time, so I suggest setting a goal for yourself at the beginning of your study process to keep yourself accountable. I found it helpful to have a dedicated place for studying as well.
Last, I discovered that practice exams were extremely helpful in preparing for the actual exam. I would sit in my designated study space and simulate the test day experience (for example, timing the exam). The practice exams helped me find areas for improvement and built confidence in my test-taking abilities. This advice is applicable to everyone, but as someone who speaks English as a second language, I felt like the practice exams helped me get really comfortable with the exam vocabulary.
M: What was your work/study/life balance like while preparing for the exam?
S: While that time was busy, I made sure to communicate with my family what I was doing and why I was doing it. Once my family became aware that I had designated study time, my certification process became a family affair. My kids would ask, “Dad, did you pass your practice exam?” Their questions motivated me because I want to be a good role model for my kids and show them that hard work pays off. I found that sharing the experience with my family served as incredible motivation and accountability.
M: Do you have anything else you would like to share about your PMP experience?
S: I have a bachelor’s degree in computer science and my MBA, and I would still say that the PMP is one of the most challenging exams I have taken throughout my career. That being said, it’s also been one of the most rewarding experiences to accomplish earning PMP certification. Personally, I was fulfilled knowing I had met a goal I set for myself, and professionally, I knew that I was elevating my career. I would tell professionals to stay committed and go for their own PMP because the certification pays off!
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Marah Whitaker (think Laura with an M) serves as the marketing assistant for the UTC Center for Professional Education. During the workday, she spends time writing blog posts, creating content for social media, developing email campaigns, and building relationships with CPE’s customer base. During her free time, you can find her getting lost in a good book, having spontaneous dance parties, playing piano, and going to Buffalo Wild Wings on Wing Night. Professionally and personally, she aspires to live by Mr. Feeny’s advice, “Dream. Believe. Try. Do Good.” She strives to use her passions to serve others and contribute positively to the world around her.
Connect with Marah on LinkedIn.