The first step to getting your career started is to get involved! The Western Michigan Project Management Institute can equip you with tools vital to enhancing your professional career after graduation, and help you get a jumpstart on your career journey.  Learning the ins and outs of project management can help you be successful in any field. Getting involved in WMPMI will introduce you to skills including critical thinking, problem solving skills and key leadership skills. 

Career Path of Project Manager

Project Management can be a rewarding long-term career.   A typical project manager can progress from managing a single Project, to managing multiple projects in a Program, then managing multiple programs within a Portfolio.   Nonetheless, there are endless paths a career can take within the overall body of knowledge.  There are very exciting prospects within the project management profession.  Project Managers have a place in every industry prompting jobs and salary growth to rise.

Project > Program > Portfolio

Opportunities for students:

High School 9 - 12 Program

Program designed for High School students to learn fundamentals of project management that can be utilized as a life skill, a job skill, and a possible certified career option. Using the vocabulary, processes, and standards of A Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK® Guide) at the earliest stages of student learning promotes international commonality in business/industry project management. In addition, it assures that students do not have to re-learn vocabulary and processes that have been informally picked up during their education that will help them to pass CAPM exam at the end of their high school education.

College students can participate in THEProject

THEProject is an annual collegiate project management competition offered by WMPMI since 2011.  Although project management tends to favor business, computer science, and engineering curriculums, students of all academic disciplines are highly encouraged to participate.  THEProject engages college students in the practice of project management, develops their leadership skills, and provides them with a showcase to demonstrate their leadership abilities on stage and in person with business and community leaders from West Michigan. THEProject is also more than just a competition. It has also helped students win jobs and has inspired new curricula centered on project management.


Reflections by Iwona Gruszka – part of the winning team of THEProject 2012

 I can only speak for myself but I am convinced my team would share my opinion. Participating in TheProject2012 was one of the best experiences in my academic life. It exposed me to real-life experiences and opened my eyes to what Project Management was really about: the knowledge of the methodologies and standards but most importantly human interaction. It was not about getting things done in time, in scope and on budget but about getting things done in cooperation with others. Working on TheProject2012 was a great lesson on the leadership styles all of us presented and on sharing the leadership, which not always was easy as we all were strong individuals. Despite that and the fact that we all came from different backgrounds we managed to create a great team. We developed good communication streams, ability to discuss issues and we found ways to complement each other. As it happens in real-life projects we stumbled and we had misunderstandings, we could not agree on the scope or the same path to follow. That was when we learned what Conflict Management was in terms of Project Management methodologies- one of the many methodologies we learned and still use in life. For the contest submissions, we had to submit a binder with documentation that included among all a project charter with defined scope, project schedule, WBS, risk management and stakeholder management files. All the documents had to comply with the PMBOK Guide requirements. We had the chance to practice our presentation skills in business environment when we presented our ideas to the Irwin Seating executives and in front of many businesspeople that came to the final presentation.

TheProject 2012 gave us a lot of exposure. Firstly, we developed a relationship with a real company (Irwin Seating) and we had the honor to meet their Sustainability Steering Committee and the owner himself. Secondly, before our final presentation we had a chance to meet potential employers during reverse career fair organized by the WMPMI. For the event we were featured in a special leaflet that talked about the competition and about the teams. It gave the companies an idea of who we were. After winning the competition we appeared in several publications and had the opportunity to interview for two companies that secured internships for two interns from the winning team. We were also invited to present about the experience in Lansing at a Career Development Day organized by PMI Michigan Capital Area. I personally still stay in touch with a couple of the other presenters and organizers whom I meet during the event and I cherish those relationships. And lastly, we will always be the first team that won TheProject competition series!

Why do I think TheProject 2012 changed my life immensely? It’s because someone noticed me during our team’s final presentation. This someone was my future manager from Stryker, the company I have been working for.