Certified Associate in Project Management – Barger Leadership Institute Student Voices

Certified Associate in Project Management

By Bailey Redler

Thanks to the BLI’s support, I’ve been an active member of the Project Management Institute (PMI) for the past year. PMI is the world’s largest project manager community and an organization that’s home to countless resources for building project management skills. Through the PMI’s education and certification program, I recently completed the CAPM (Certified Associate in Project Management) online course, and I’m now preparing to take the exam to earn the certification over the summer. Project management had been high on my list as a potential career path throughout my undergraduate career exploration journey, and when I accepted a post-graduation job offer at Epic Systems as a project manager this past fall, it only cemented my desire to earn my entry-level certification before I started.

While completing the course, I was also working for the BLI as a project manager under the Applied Leadership Fellowship program. My partner and I took ownership of the annual Detroit Retreat, during which a selected group of U-M students spend a weekend in the spring learning about Detroit’s history and current impact while participating in service-learning activities in the city. We handled every part of the retreat from conception, budgeting, and vendor communication to application processes, real-time event and meeting facilitation, and post-retreat success analysis. During those times when initial plans inevitably went awry, I was able to practice the strategies taught in the PMI’s guidebook to mitigate risk and pivot efficiently. I also honed practical skills in time and task management, project scoping and planning, and team coordination, among others. I’m grateful for the unique opportunity I had to learn from PMI’s educational resources and immediately apply new knowledge to a meaningful job with real impact.

Because the project management profession affords exposure to diverse teams and projects, I’ll continue to leverage the knowledge and experience I’ve gained through the CAPM course and BLI leadership to develop my interpersonal skills, focusing on fostering communication and support within project teams to identify and meet their needs and offer effective organization regardless of project topic. This training has contributed to my sustained development of an authentic leadership style that emphasizes integrity, adaptability, and a people-first focus. Once I’ve earned my certification, further PMI educational and networking resources will allow me to connect more thoroughly with the project management community and support local volunteer projects. I look forward to continuing my project management education and expanding my positive community impact in my full-time role and new hometown after graduation.

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