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The Challenges of Project Management Students in FUTMinna – Interview with Victor Bello-Ochende

This is the third interview of my new interview series titled “The Challenges of Project Management Students in Nigeria.”
In this third interview, I will be sharing with you some of the challenges of project management students in the Federal University of Technology Minna (FUT Minna), and my interviewee is a graduating student of Project Management Technology at the institution.
                                                            JERRY: Tell us about yourself.
Victor Bello-ochendeVICTOR: Thank you very much for this opportunity. It is always a privilege to help spread the word about project management in Nigeria. I am Bello-Ochende Victor, a graduating student of Project Management Technology from the Federal University of Technology Minna. My interests are mostly in Entrepreneurial Technology, Information Technology Service management, Developmental Education and also an advocate of Disaster Risk Reduction.
JERRY: When did you decide that you want to pursue a bachelors degree programme in project management?
VICTOR: Well, it was kind of by accident. I First started out in Electrical and Electronics Engineering in FUT Minna, but due to some requirements set by the university, I could not continue with the course. So in my search for another course of study, I came across the department of Project management Technology (which I didn’t know much about). With some little research and advice from my enlightened siblings, I realised the potentials that the course holds and knew I had come to the right place and was on the right path. It was the best decision I could have ever made.

JERRY: What is project management technology as a course all about to you?
VICTOR: Project Management Technology as a course is particularly designed to develop individuals to effectively plan and manage technology-based projects by optimising the use of limited resources within a time frame. This is mostly achieved with the use of current software technologies to fast-track and ease planning and control and also for effective collaboration and communication. Some core and interesting courses involved in this learning path include Project Planning and Control, Operations Research, Risk Management and Forecasting and Planning Techniques.
JERRY: What were the major challenges you faced as a project management student in FUT Minna?
VICTOR: The major challenges I faced as a project management student in FUT Minna were during my 1st-two years in the department. I found it a little bit hard and confusing to follow the curriculum set by the department as compared to what project management was portrayed to be in the world out there. The department’s curriculum was mostly focused on subjects relating to the construction industry with little additions from other areas such as accounting, agricultural science and statistics. Another problem or difficulty I encountered was the changes made to the curriculum at different intervals since the department was still a new one. This changes in the course curriculum made some of my fellow project management students uneasy as it seemed like the department was lacking direction and focus. Lastly, the lecturers we have are purely academicians and have little or no industry experience in the field of project management, and this made it quite difficult for them to properly orientate and motivate young and aspiring students who want to be practising project managers in future.
JERRY: When you were in school, where and how did you source for additional materials to boost your project management knowledge?
VICTOR: The Internet! Many youths nowadays use the Internet only as a medium for social activities forgetting or not being aware that the Internet has “limitless” resources on any subject that we can make use of. I get to download e-books, articles and video tutorials on project management. The school library also helped in leading me on the right path of acquiring project management knowledge on specific areas such as construction project management. One other major useful source was my interaction with some prominent young industry professionals who practice project management in Nigeria. Eyitayo Ogunmola of PMHub and Steve Araba of iBreath, Lagos, have both been very helpful.
JERRY: What do you think is missing or needed to be done for our universities to produce more quality project management graduates?
VICTOR: One major ingredient that’s missing is the absence of industry-based professionals in the academia. Their presence would go a long way to help mentor, motivate and teach the young and aspiring project managers on how or what project management is like in the real world and how best to handle challenges in the field. This in turn would help them develop their project management and leadership skills. Also, the project management departments in our universities would be better of if they get affiliated with professional project management bodies. This would help the project management students to be more interested in the profession and also help them chart a learning and career path at an early stage. Lastly, it would be great if the project management departments can design their project management curriculum or course work to suit different industry domains such as ICT, construction, oil and gas and the public sector. This would enable young project managers to have a defined path while in school.
JERRY: What advice would you give to people now who wish to study project management and to those who are already pursuing a bachelors degree program in project management?
VICTOR: Here’s my advice to those of you who wish to study project management: The world today is moving towards ‘sustainability’ in every key area of development, and project management happens to be one of the few courses or professions that teaches and develops individuals on how to effectively handle sustainable projects that will boost the economy of any nation. I will also advise you to read wide and hard, and the Internet shouldn’t just be a means of social interactions but should also serve as a medium of learning and increasing your knowledge capacity on the subject. However, for our current project management students, I’d advise you to focus on your learning and research, get connected to project management professionals in the field through social media platforms like LinkedIn. Browse the Internet and subscribe to project management journals, magazines and educational videos. Then perform your SWOT analysis to know which specific industry best suit your project management career.
JERRY: Finally, as a recent project management graduate, how are you looking forward to practising and advancing your project management career?
VICTOR: Well, as a recent project management graduate, I’m looking forward to becoming a project management professional and also contributing to humanitarian activities as much as possible from a project management perspective. And thanks a lot, Jerry, for your valuable contributions to the development of project management in Nigeria.
Thank you Victor.
My next interview will focus on the challenges of project Management students in Bells University of Technology (Bellstech).
When I have concluded with this series, I will start a new series titled “The Challenges of Project Management Lecturers in Nigeria.” I will interview project management lecturers, professors and the heads of project management departments in various universities in Nigeria. They would offer us answers and suggestions to some of the challenges the students of each institution have shared with us. Don’t forget to subscribe to my blog as it’s going to be entertaining and educating.
If you are a project management student in Nigeria, what personal and academic challenges are you facing in your own institution? Share your thoughts and complaints in the comment section below.

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