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Making the Case for Employer Support
Securing the support of your employer is an important step in undertaking any masters degree, and obtaining financial assistance can be a deciding factor for many students.
Since the knowledge gained and skills developed throughout the UL Online MSc in Project and Program Management directly benefits companies, many of our students gain financial support from their employers. Additionally, this Project and Program Management Masters programme includes an in-company project in first year, which requires employer participation but delivers tangible benefits for companies.
Asking your employer for financial support for your Project Management MSc doesn’t need to be a daunting task. The key is making a well thought-out, comprehensive case for both the programme and yourself.
Your proposal should:
- Be brief but complete
- Provide specific information
- Anticipate and answer questions
- Look and sound professional
- Demonstrate considered preparation
Follow these guidelines to create a polished written proposal that represents you as an ambitious, high-value employee and an excellent investment for your company.
Start by researching if your company has a policy for supporting continued education. It may also be helpful to solicit internal support: you may want to get reference letters from superiors and peers, or speak with colleagues who may have completed masters programmes with financial support from your company to learn from their experiences.
Gather the details and information you need to present, and take the time to get clear on your reasons for pursuing an Online Masters in Project Management.
Create Your Proposal
Write your proposal in a way that anticipates and addresses your employers’ questions and concerns by offering all relevant details and showing deep consideration on your part. The list of common questions below offers a clear and effective way of organising your written proposal.
Why do you want to get this Project Management Masters Degree?
Tell your employer why it’s important to you personally and professionally to pursue an Online Project Management MSc; to deepen your knowledge and expand your skill set.
Detail a professional goal
For example, your company is engaging in a change management programme, extending its production facility or entering into a new market, and you want to be considered to lead the project team.
Highlight a related personal goal
For example, you’re looking forward to gaining new perspectives and developing new relationships with a diverse cohort of like-minded, ambitious professionals.
How will our company benefit?
Be specific about how the Project Management Masters programme aligns with company goals, which skills will aid company growth and how the course will enable you to contribute in a meaningful way.
Better, faster, smarter processes
You’ll become skilled at identifying opportunities to improve process efficiency by streamlining requirements, costs and execution across multiple areas.
You’ll learn to look at projects in the context of greater business strategy and gain the ability and confidence to take on larger-scale and higher-profile programmes.
Greater leadership resources
As you broaden business knowledge in areas such as governance, stakeholder management and international relations, your organisation will benefit from greater leadership support and capability.
Access to new thinking
Throughout the Online Masters in Project Management, you’ll develop new perspectives and methods of evaluation, communication and management, and immediately put them into practice at work
“We have discussed a number of uses for the tools and learning from the first year in the Masters in Project & Programme Management programme and are already creating plans to integrate this into our daily operations and Program Management team activities.”
Mervyn Maguire, Global OEM Operations Director, Dell Inc.
Why choose the UL online MSc in Project & Programme Management?
Explain the unique value of this particular programme and why this Masters in Project Management offers a distinct advantage over other programmes.
Enables you to fulfil work, study and personal commitments on your schedule.
2 years, part-time
Lets you keep working while pursuing the programme.
Gives prestigious industry recognition and enough credits for PMP qualification.
Helps you immediately apply new insights, skills and techniques to your work.
Lets you demonstrate new capabilities in a way that directly benefits your company.
Offers a University, level-9 masters degree with best-practice learning for comparatively low tuition fees.
“The programme management learning has tied a lot of my experience together and has allowed me to put more structure and processes in place. I found I could apply what I learned immediately.”
Lloyd Harnett, Graduate, Director of Revenue and IT, Adare Manor
Why should we invest in you?
List the professional accomplishments and meaningful contributions you’ve made to your company to prove your value as a high-potential employee.
Highlight past contributions
Include your role in managing projects or teams or any statistics that demonstrate a positive outcome.
Identify immediate opportunities for application
For example, is your company considering a new programme or evaluating new market opportunities?
Highlight your capability for expanded leadership or greater management responsibility
When in the past have you successfully increased your responsibilities or management role, for this company or another?
What are the time and financial requirements?
Detail the tuition costs for an Online Masters in Project Management and explain the time required to complete coursework. Explain how you intend to manage work, study and personal commitments, demonstrating that you’ve given all requirements thorough consideration.
The UL Online MSc in Project & Programme Management is taught over two years, with three semesters each year. Semesters 1 has two modules, semester 2 has three taught modules, and semester 3 covers the in-company project (value study) in year 1 and a research paper in year 2. Each taught module is 5 weeks long, and you’ll have a one-week break between modules, giving you time to either break from studies or catch up on any time lost during the five-week module.
Programme fees for this Project Management Masters are €7,000 per annum (€14,000 in total). Annual fees can be paid in full at the start of the academic year, in two instalments prior to commencement of semesters 1 and 2, or by a nine-month payment plan at a rate of €778 per month over nine months.
How does the coursework on the Project Management MSc relate to our company and your role?
Highlight the topics you are specifically interested in and the skills you seek to develop, and explain how they relate to your role and company objectives. Identify specific modules on the Masters in Project Management programme that relate to your position and what you hope to gain from them.
Include case studies from other employers highlighting their positive experience with the program and the in-company project:
“Based on the learnings from this project, we plan to carry out further studies into ways of either reducing costs or increasing efficiencies… This project has proven that we need to have a holistic view to our business and not just focus on what happens within our four walls. An excellent project and tremendous outcome.”
David O’Gorman, Product Manager, Thermo King – Ingersoll Rand
What if you leave the company during or after finishing the course?
Communicate your commitment to the company and the future you hope to build with your current employer.
- Recount your time at the company, including goals you’ve achieved or new roles you’ve undertaken.
- Identify any new or emerging opportunities at the company to which you hope to apply your project and programme management learning.
- Explain how the company and your role suits your life and professional goals.
Prepare Your Pitch
Once you’ve developed your proposal, practice your pitch and get ready for multiple conversations. Your employer should take time to consider the information and options you’ve presented. It’s very likely they will have additional questions or offer a counter proposal, for example, that they pay half the tuition fees rather than cover the entire cost.
It’s also normal for employers who contribute financial support to include a clause to guarantee their investment, for example, that you must repay the costs if you don’t complete the course or leave the company within a certain length of time. Be prepared to negotiate, and be ready to accept that this may not be the right time for your employer.
Have questions about the UL MSc in Project & Programme Management or want to discuss your suitability for the programme? Contact course director, Dr. John Lannon, for more information. If your Training and Development or HR manager would like to speak to us about the programme and available supports, please feel free to put them in touch with Dr. John Lannon also using the contact details below.
Dr. John Lannon
Phone: 061 234 656
Our Masters in Project & Programme Management is one of few PMI GAC-accredited, online masters programmes worldwide. Students who complete this masters acquire an internationally recognised, PMI GAC-accredited, level 9 university degree.