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Student Profile: Swati Swaminathan, Project Management Graduate Certificate
Seattle, known for its tech-obsessed, coffee-drinking, rain-tolerant residents, is a prime destination for international students who want to immerse themselves in a culture of innovation that gave way to companies like Microsoft, Amazon, Starbucks and Boeing.
City University of Seattle makes that experience possible for many students from all over the world. CityU’s International Student Office has decades of experience in helping with unique admissions requirements of international students who want to study in the U.S.
“I would definitely recommend City University to everybody because it’s very versatile, the degree programs are great and the faculty is very understanding,” said Swati Swaminathan, a student from India who came to study the U.S. “And I would especially recommend CityU to international students. If you are an international student, you’ll understand how CityU makes life so much easier while getting a degree in the United States.”
As someone who already has her master’s degree plus professional experience, Swati was looking for education that would help elevate her career to the management level. She found it in CityU’s Project Management Graduate Certificate. Through the certificate program, Swati is able to analyze projects she’s worked on in the past and build on skills she developed as a working professional in the biomedical industry.
“This degree is almost like an add-on – it helps me become a better manager,” she said. “The certificate program allows me to finish up quick and get back into the professional world with a business degree.”
The Project Management Graduate Certificate is 15 credits (plus a three-credit introduction course) and is designed to give students advanced knowledge to organize and lead projects in a variety of different settings and disciplines.
Swati, now in her final quarter of the program, said she’s learned more about managing people and teams, as well as inter-personal skills. Here’s our full conversation.
City University of Seattle (CU): Why did you decide to get a graduate certificate in project management?
Swati Swaminathan (SS): My background is in healthcare with a focus on clinical research. The projects in my industry are highly specific and multi-faceted, which requires me to have exposure to cutting edge practices in management. Since I already have a master’s degree, I felt a certificate in project management would help me to grow in my industry and progress my career.
CU: How do you define project management?
SS: Project management is the art of planning, organizing and controlling the resources required to achieve an objective in the most effective and efficient way.
CU: What’s something you appreciate about the project management graduate certificate program?
SS: I really appreciate the flexibility of this program. This graduate certificate is designed to deliver the necessary education and tools over the course of one year. The classes are scheduled on the weekends to provide enough time for students to complete assignments without having to rush through them. It is neither too much for working professionals, nor too little for full-time students.
CU: What have you learned so far in the program?
SS: I am currently mid-way through the first quarter of the program. So far, we have covered the basics of project management, including core concepts, project planning and scheduling. We have explored areas in depth including time, resources and scope management. There are seven additional areas that I look forward to learning.
CU: Has anything about the program surprised you?
SS: Yes, I have been pleasantly surprised by the course structure and assignments. In this program I’m allowed to pick scenarios from my own field to analyze as part of my weekly assignments. The team assignments greatly enhance people management and interpersonal skills. Needless to say, the individual attention provided to every student by the faculty is a tremendous asset to our personal growth.
CU: What have CityU faculty taught you that you’ll use in your career?
SS: The one thing they constantly teach is that project management is general enough to apply to any field irrespective of the nature, complexity and scale of the project.
CU: Why did you choose to pursue a certificate over a bachelor’s or master’s degree in project management?
SS: Because I already have my masters, and a few years of project management work experience, the certificate program better suited my needs. The coursework for the certificate program is highly focused on project management and allows me to get back to my life as a working professional sooner.
CU: Once you graduate, how do you plan to use your certificate?
SS: The certificate program will provide me with the necessary tools to manage projects in real time and more effectively. I am confident that this program will enhance my management skills.
CU: You’re active in CityU’s Enactus student organization; what have you learned from that experience?
SS: I am the project manager for one of Enactus’ projects and also serve as treasurer/secretary for the team. In the capacity of project manager, I lead a team of five and work with the National Federation of the Blind in marketing a mobile phone application that reads text aloud. I also had a chance to meet with the first and only blind state senator, Washington State Senator Cyrus Habib, to solicit his support in the project. This sort of exposure to top management officials is very rare and I want to specially mention that I am grateful to CityU for that.
CU: Would you recommend CityU?
SS: Yes, I would definitely recommend CityU for its versatile nature of degree programs. The School of Management holds various competitions for students to challenge themselves and boost their confidence. I would specifically recommend CityU to international students as well. The university maintains excellent standards of education and embraces international students from all over the world. I feel privileged to be part of this institution.