SMP students and alumni gather for networking event
13 July 2016
Students and alumni from the MSc Strategic Management of Projects (SMP) programme gathered recently to meet and share their experiences at The School of Construction and Project Management (C&PM). Held at the prestigious Chancellor's Hall in Senate House, the event brought together past and present students, their tutors, and guest speakers from a range of academic and industrial backgrounds.
It was a chance for attendees to network and learn more from C&PM's staff. Dr Efrosyni Konstantinou, who organised the event, said, "It was a delight to meet again at the Annual SMP Alumni Event. Every year we have the opportunity to catch up with how alumni, current students and our collaborators from the industry are improving projects and developing their careers."
Maria Papadaki: “Having built a technical background, I wanted to broaden it and develop a holistic perspective in the field of managing infrastructure assets. Thus, I started my Master’s in Strategic Management of Projects.”
Speaking to students and alumni, the reputation of the course was highly valued. Matthew Harrison, a second year part time student, previously studied Theology and a Law Conversion course but chose to study SMP following this to establish himself in the industry. Similarly, Syed Hussain, a full time student and owner of two businesses, appreciates how the course is connecting him with relevant industries.
For Syed, SMP is widening his understanding of the industry. "The course has given us a broader vision," he commented. Maria Papadaki, a full time student due to start at Lend Lease in September agrees, stating, "Now, I am building upon my way of thinking about project management and enhancing it from an operational mind-set towards a more critical thinking approach at a strategic level."
Masum Choudhury: “In my day-to-day role when I am asked to innovate, improve or find efficiencies, I can go back and explain to the board or the senior management team what it is that I need to be able to facilitate that.”
In addition to these benefits, many attendees commented on how the course went beyond their expectations and had a strong practical dimension. Masum Choudhury, a 2013 graduate, commented, "Although it was an academically taught subject, it wasn't purely about that: it was about the application of theories to real life projects."
Moreover, since leaving C&PM, the MSc has helped develop Masum’s strategic oversight and start his own consultancy. For example, he is better able to solve various management and leadership challenges such as supply chain management and managing innovation. Christos Kokkinos, an alumnus from the same year, had a similar experience: "It was not a traditional course where you get into a classroom and you have a professor teaching you."
Christos Kokkinos: "It was a course where each week and session was so different. We had guest speakers and case studies. I barely remember if we ever had a standardised lecture with a professor. We had site visits, we had workshops: it was very professional.”
Meanwhile, Kimberly Cornfield, a part time student, has been able to apply what she is learning to her current role at UCL's European Research and Innovation Office. She said, "I wanted to specifically shift from operation to also focus on strategic matters.” Looking to the future, she continued, “I've been in the programme part time for three years and learning more about the strategic aspects, so I'd like to continue to apply that to what I'm doing."