Project management student gains knowledge with the plan to give back
Seeing efforts culminate and a project come to fruition is something that City University of Seattle student Nathan Elisha enjoys. So it’s no surprise that he chose to pursue a career in project management.
“I enjoy project management because you can set a plan and achieve it,” Nathan said. “Things don’t always go according to plan, and that’s why you need to be very agile in your approach to managing projects. The best part of it is handing off the final deliverable that exceeds customer expectations. Seeing something grow and develop into the final product is interesting.”
He was drawn to project management when he saw the need for more qualified professionals in his home country, Nigeria.
“I come from a developing country,” Nathan said. “There is a huge demand for project management professionals. Here at CityU, they teach you methodologies you can apply to any discipline.”
While his bachelor’s degree focused specifically on information technology, he foresees opportunities to work with a variety of sectors including IT, development, real estate, entrepreneurship and more.
“I’m a privileged person to come and earn a foreign degree and I want to give back,” Nathan said. “I want to apply these skills and eventually go back and contribute [to my country].”
From Nigeria to Seattle to study project management
Nathan came to the U.S. to visit schools, and was drawn to CityU because of it offers the only master’s-level project management degree on the West Coast that is globally accredited by the Project Management Institute (PMI).
“Out of all the schools I looked at, there were few that had PMI accreditation and it was important to me because I wanted to get certified before or after I graduate,” Nathan said.
The program’s connection with PMI has continued to be advantageous.
“CityU is a member of the Puget Sound PMI and I got to attend a conference that CityU sponsored,” Nathan said. “We volunteered as a cohort and it was a good networking opportunity.”
In addition to networking with professionals, he has had the opportunity to build connections with peers in his program.
“I take fully in-person classes and enjoy it because I get to take classes with professionals from Boeing, Microsoft and more,” Nathan said. “We’re set up in a cohort and we’re all friends at this point and are able to help each other through the process. I’ve learned about projects in IT, aerospace and other diverse professions.”
The CityU faculty have been a source of support for him as well.
“[Project Management Academic Program Director] Linh Luong is someone I can go talk to for advice,” Nathan said. “[Associate Faculty Member] Jim O’Donnell has been very supportive also. He encourages us to think of life outside of school. He arranged for project managers in the industry to talk to us and give us advice and answer our questions.”
Transitioning from student to project manager
As he prepares to graduate in June 2017, Nathan is grateful for the experiences he’s had at CityU.
“Not only have I earned a degree, I’ve had the opportunity to work on campus and gain experience,” Nathan said. “I’ve also been involved in Enactus and have learned from people from different cultures. My education has been a total package. It’s worth every dime. If I had it to do all over again, I would.”
While he may be finishing his degree, it’s likely just the start of his bright future in project management.